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T-Mobile Changemakers
(Changemakers.com Photo)

Young people mobilizing for change have attracted the attention of a mobile carrier. T-Mobile and CEO John Legere announced Wednesday that the Bellevue, Wash.-based company is launching the Changemaker Challenge, to empower young people with big ideas.

Along with partner Ashoka, T-Mobile wants to help kickstart 25 revolutionary ideas, conceived by Americans between the ages of 13 to 23 who want to improve their neighborhoods and communities.

“Making change happen is what we do,” Legere said in a news release. “Five years ago, we saw a broken, arrogant industry and committed ourselves to changing wireless for good. Today, we’re blown away by the grit and determination of young people who see problems in their schools and communities that need fixing and how they’re leading the way to change. Now more than ever, it’s clear that America’s youth are here to make a difference … with the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, we want to help bring their best ideas to life.”

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T-Mobile said it wants to hear what inspires young people to take action, adding that today’s most urgent social and environmental issues — safety, education, poverty, inequality, food and water security and more — are already inspiring America’s youth to step up.

Teams will have until the end of May to submit ideas for consideration, and 25 team with winning ideas will be announced in June. Those teams will get an all-expenses-paid trip to Seattle later in the summer to take part in a Changemaker Lab focused on mentorship and skills development.

Teams will also receive new devices and seed funding from the T-Mobile Foundation, and after the lab they will be empowered to take their ideas and make them reality. Resources they need to keep their projects going long term will also be provided.

Ashoka is a leading network of systems-changing social entrepreneurs, working with partners to support youth with developing core competencies of empathy, teamwork, collaborative leadership, and change-making skills.

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