Global Leaders Focused on Children's Character Development Join Efforts to Benefit Teens 

Ashoka,, Start Empathy & the Jefferson Awards Foundation Announce Corporative Empowering Teens Interested in Leading Character Development & Education Initiatives
WASHINGTON - July 6, 2016 - PRLog -- Ashoka--Start Empathy,, and the Jefferson Awards Foundation are joining together to create a leadership training and service opportunity for teens. The efforts will come together in conjunction with's national conference, the National Forum on Character Education October 14th and 15th in Washington, DC.

Students interested can apply or be nominated. Information is available at

"Every day we discuss the importance of student voice and expect to see shared leadership with youth in our Schools of Character, so we decided to include a strong track for youth in our upcoming Forum," said Becky Sipos, president and CEO of "However we didn't just want a 'one and done'; we wanted the youth to be involved in the planning and to have something that would continue after the conference."

Ashoka, known for its Changemaker Schools, came up with the idea of creating a Leadership Council of approximately 20 young people to get involved with planning before the conference. The goal for the Leadership Team is to:

● Design an empowering experience for youth attending the National Forum on Character Education;

● Activate students across the nation to raise their voices, self-identify as changemakers, and take action as empathetic, caring citizens;

● Inspire all citizens, especially those who have the power to vote, to ask of themselves and our leaders what they will do, starting today, to put empathy into action in order to lead change locally, nationally, and globally.

"We want to change the conversation on what it means to be a citizen, and empower the voices of ALL - from the youngest to the oldest in our nation - to speak up about their vision for the future and their role to play," said Valentina Raman, education strategist at Ashoka.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation will provide leadership and service training sessions for the youth attending the conference. "The Jefferson Awards is excited to partner with Ashoka and who both share our mission to develop young leaders to promote and activate public service," said Hillary Schafer, Executive Director of the Jefferson Awards Foundation. "By combining the unique strengths of these three organizations, we hope to make a significant impact in student leaders interested in public service, and give them the tools to change the world."

The Youth Leadership Council and other students who register for the conference youth track will present a culminating activity at the closing Forum plenary session, and participate in an ongoing project after the conference. is currently seeking sponsors to support this important initiative.'s Forum annually brings together more than 800 leaders in education, government, and other parts of society. This year's theme is "Educate, Inspire, Empower: Building Productive and Caring Citizens." The conference will feature more than 60 breakout sessions including such topics as digital citizenship, global citizenship, and students as drivers of change in their communities.

"We believe making a better world starts with bettering ourselves," Ms. Raman said. "We hope a lot of students will seek out this opportunity."

About Ashoka: Ashoka advances a world where everyone contributes to change for the good of all. Start Empathy, an initiative of Ashoka, is a global community of individuals and institutions dedicated to building a future where every child masters empathy to become a changemaker and make our world better for all. For press related inquiries, please contact Meera Vijayann at

About works with schools and districts to inspire, educate and empower young people to be ethical and engaged citizens. It is dedicated to helping young people be both smart and good through the advancement of quality character development in all schools. For press related inquiries, please contact Josh Steinfeld at

About the Jefferson Awards Foundation: JAF powers others to have maximum impact on the things they care about most. Through celebration, they inspire action. With programs and partnerships, they drive Americans to change their communities and the world. To learn more about the Jefferson Awards Foundation, visit: or engage with their community on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. For press related inquiries, please contact Kat Krieger at

Josh Steinfeld
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Tags:Character Education, Ashoka, Jefferson Awards Foundation
Location:Washington - District of Columbia - United States
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