Sydney Guerrette, founder of Be The Change Youth Initiative, has always celebrated her birthdays by asking friends and family for donations to various community organizations. For her 15th birthday, she decided on a BIG ask: granting a child’s wish through the Make-A-Wish Maine. However, she quickly realized raising $7,000, the average cost of a wish, would be a huge undertaking. Encouraged by her parents, Sydney reached out to other teens in her community for help. Thinking of ways to use their gifts and talents to make this wish a reality, they designed and sold t-shirts, wrote a song to sell on BandCamp, ran 5Ks while writing fundraising letters, and did odd jobs around their homes. Together, Sydney and her friends raised almost $8,000.
During that same period of time, Sydney and her family went on a mission trip to Camp Bahamas on the island of Eleuthera. On that trip, she befriended a young man whose life was a stark contrast from her own. Sydney began to realize how many things she takes for granted in her everyday life. She returned home wrestling through a tough reality: She now had friends living without running water, while she lived with far more than she needed. Sydney began asking some world changing questions: What if she could replicate her birthday wish on a larger scale? What if kids all over the United States used their gifts and talents to help? What if it was actually possible to forever change the lives of kids around the world?
From those questions, Be the Change Youth Initiative came to life. We desire to encourage the next generation of leaders to world changing action today. By fostering a sense of compassion for the world while they are young, today’s youth can grow into adults who understand the possibilities of change, because they have already been a part of it!
Our global mission is to help provide life-changing opportunities to children around the world through the development of intentional partnerships with organizations already on the ground serving impoverished communities. Our Fundraising Initiatives allow us to provide financial support and advocacy to hundreds of children in Haiti (Hands & Feet Project) and Rwanda (Africa New Life).
Our local mission is to educate, equip, and empower children to create positive change through their gifts and talents. We believe every child has something to offer and can make a difference in the world. Whether they love sports or have a creative flare, we provide the tools needed to help them leave a lasting impact on the lives of countless children around the world.