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America’s Next Leaders 2013

Special Series: Young Man Holds Vigil for Immigrants

Ricardo Zamudio looks like lots of other young men in America – big, brawny, and with a ready smile. The eldest of three children born to immigrant parents, he arrived in this country as a baby, worked hard in school and landed a football scholarship to the University of Southern California, a dream of thousands […]

Special Series: Chicago Dad Gives Support to Other Dads

By the time he was 17, Sheldon Smith had already served time in jail and was about to become a father. He appeared to be on his way toward becoming another dismal statistic despite having been an eloquent youth organizer as a young teen. But, instead of letting those significant challenges daunt him, Sheldon used […]

Special Series: Youth’s Voice Helps Protect Environment

Christina Saeteurn grew up in public housing, one of nine children raised by a single mother. That challenging start, however, seems only to have made Christina more determined to improve life for others in similar circumstances. Like many of her fellow Shriver honorees, Christina never set out to become a community organizer. She’d joined a […]

Special Series: Undocumented Youth Builds Community

Special Series: Undocumented Youth Builds Community

Undocumented at a time when others with similar status were fleeing Arizona, Sergio Rodriguez chose to stay and fight, channeling his fear and frustration into voter-engagement efforts that registered thousands of other Latinos so that they could exercise their right to vote. In 2010, during the days after the anti-immigration bill SB 1070 became law […]

Special Series: Phoenix Youth Registers New Voters

Maura Rodriguez began volunteering at age 15, accompanying her mother in a door-to-door effort to organize fellow laundry workers in Phoenix. She watched, listened and quickly grasped the essentials. “I would say to people that César Chávez wouldn’t have fought so hard for a union if it wasn’t going to help the people,” Maura says. […]

Special Series: Young Chicagoan Uses Anger Over Mother’s Death to Fight for Change

After losing his mother to street violence in Chicago when he was a high school sophomore, Laureano Rivera struggled with paralyzing confusion and anger. But in the four years since, Laureano has channeled those emotions into a passion for addressing what he now sees as the root cause of his mother’s death: poverty. “I always […]

Special Series: Youth Uses Knowledge to End Poverty

Lester Meza knows the impact of education inequities firsthand. Raised by a single mother who emigrated from Guatemala to the United States, Lester, as he grew up, envisioned himself going to college and having a successful career. But when he entered high school, Lester found crowded classrooms, low expectations and little encouragement to attend college. […]

Special Series: Human Rights Inspire Ariz. Officeholder

Though he was born in California, Pedro Lopez spent most of his life in Colima, Mexico. In 2006, he returned to the U.S. – to Arizona – with his parents and entered high school as a freshman. In school, he worked hard, joined the Young Business Leaders of America program and thought he was headed […]

Special Series: Detroit Native Realizes ‘Power of Mentoring’

After Jason Fuller graduated from high school in Detroit, Mich., his family moved to New Mexico. For Jason, it might as well have been to another planet. “There was a long period of adjustment,” he recalls. But a community college professor, recognizing Jason’s burgeoning interest in African-American history, believed he had much to offer others […]

Special Series: Youth Works to Change ‘Unjust’ Policies

Like many young people, Lorren Dangerfield has a finely-honed sense of injustice. By the time she won the Shriver Award at age 17, Lorren had already spent four years working to stop industrial pollution in poor neighborhoods and promoting fairer discipline policies in public schools. In many school districts, suspensions and expulsions for Black and […]