I blog each week about a student from Generation iY who isn’t waiting until they reach “adulthood” to transform the world. It’s why we do what we do at Growing Leaders.
Zach Hunter is a vivid example of what we’re trying to build. I’ve known Zach for four years now. He’s a relatively quiet, unassuming teenager, but what’s happened with his life is quite remarkable.
As a young teen, Zach became aware of the phenomenon of modern-day slavery. Every year, he learned, millions of children and adults around the world are bought and sold by traffickers who trade them like commodities. Zach was amazed to learn this happens even in the United States. Zach’s parents encouraged him to do something more than just write a paper about the slave trade. So, he began to study the issue, researched web sites, lined up interviews, and eventually studied the historical roots of the slave trade. He learned about William Wilberforce, an abolitionist who fought against the slave trade in England back in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Wilberforce became a hero to Zach, a role model. In fact, if you ask Zach Hunter to introduce himself, he’ll say, “My name’s Zach. I am an abolitionist.”
Zach launched a little movement called, “Loose Change to Loosen Chains.” He speaks at high schools all over the country, raising money to buy slaves and set them free. He has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America and other national broadcasts, raising awareness and challenging people to step out of their own comfort zones and help. His ultimate goal is to stop slavery entirely. And the movement he started is no longer a small endeavor. Tens of thousands have jumped on board and are involved now.
When I last spoke to Zach, I observed, “You are quite a leader.” He looked down and shook his head. Zach Hunter doesn’t see himself as a leader, but he is one, and he’s effective because he’s leading the way in an arena where his passion and strengths lie.
Zach is a young man of stellar character. But he wasn’t compelled to be a “good boy” by some word-of-the-month program. He was challenged to solve a problem, to lead the way and make a difference. He said yes to a call and he’s changing the world.
Pass this along… and send any stories you know of a kid who’s changing their world.