About the Program

Over the past 20 years, Youth Venture has worked with over 350,000 young people in 32 countries to take on the journey of becoming a changemaker.  We have closely studied and mapped the journeys of Ashoka Fellows to influence our methodology.  Our ultimate goal is for the young people we engage with to harness their power to create change by launching and leading their own social change project.  Along the way we make sure they are supported by their peers, gain an appreciation for failure, a love for ideas, a passion for action, and a new outlook to solve problems they face.   


What is the Dream.it.Do.it. Challenge (DDC)?

THE DREAM.IT.DO.IT. CHALLENGE (DDC) is a series of facilitated engagements that guide a cohort of young people towards launching their own social ventures. The individuals are provided with 13 1-hour modules, anchored by a set of core activities, that support participants in each distinct phase of venture implementation: the genesis of the original idea, execution, initial financing, and implementation.

Throughout, participants examine local, societal and global issues; share ideas and personal experiences; and engage in team work, public speaking, and peer support. With each workshop, participants move towards a greater level of innovative and creative thinking; goal orientation; and refined problem-solving skills. Each team selects an Adult Ally, who provides mentoring and support to the team as needed. 

The DDC culminates into a community panel where each youth team shares their venture plan with a panel of community leaders. When the venture launches, the venturers join YV’s global community of changemakers.

What will participants be doing? 
Within all of the tools and activities that DDC uses, there lies an essential clarity of purpose- to support and guide young people as they prepare and then launch a Venture. With this intentionality, we developed activities that are sequenced to complement and build on each other, eliciting increasingly complex and nuanced modes of thinking and analysis. As participants engage in this process they will be encouraged to think about and react on who they are and their relationships with others; to “listen” to the perspectives of their peers, to understand the value of engaging with individuals who may hold different or competing opinions; to think creatively; to problem-solve; and to work together to construct and then answer their own questions. In doing so they will be able to: 

  • Understand what is- balancing positive and negative attributes of the world in which they live; 

  • Imagine what could be- understanding and identifying with the change they plan to initiate; 

  • Create what will be- translating what they want to see into what they will do. 


What is the DDC process?

Throughout the DDC, participants will undertake, sometimes in discrete phases and in others as interwoven and layered activities, a dialogue that strives to catalyze:

Personal Exploration:  Each participant will be challenged to engage in reflections concerning personal power, passions, self-awareness, and an understanding of the consequences of actions, self-esteem, and exploration (and challenging) of preconceptions.

Cohort & Community Exploration:  As a large group, the cohort will navigate interpersonal dynamics and the connection to the larger community through group conversations, active listening, and peer mediation.

Issue Exploration:  Each participant, with the help and support of the cohort, will engage in an intensive study to deeply understand the community issue that they seek to solve through root cause analysis, systems thinking, identification of patterns, discussions on community impact, and experiential studies of interconnectedness.

Idea Development:  Ideas for social innovation will be challenged and developed through problem-solving techniques, collaborative brainstorming, intensive peer sharing, and collective troubleshooting.

Venture Creation:  Once ideas for social change are solidified, each participant will engage in a process of designing an implementation plan through the lens of logic models. This will feature intense discussion of inputs, outputs, activities, outcomes, goals, and more in a non- linear model that allows young people to start at whichever point makes the most sense.

Expression:  Each participant will practice both expressing themselves and understanding the needs expressed by those around them through an emphasis on storytelling, public presentations, elevator pitches, narratives, and the opportunity to showcase their idea at a Community Panel.


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