I went into the summer determined to fill these three months with interesting and exciting opportunities. When I found out about the Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change competition I jumped on it and submitted an application. The competition challenged young adults to share an idea for sparking change in their communities or around the world. Having been extensively involved in volunteering for Engeye (www.engeye.org) in rural Uganda over the past several years, I saw the competition as a great way to further these goals.
Brian Hickey

Brian Hickey in Uganda

Earlier this year our Babson FME company, MixItMug, raised over $5,000 for initiatives in rural Uganda and I hoped the Microsoft Contest would provide an opportunity to add to these funds. The contest offered $2,500 to grand prize winners to put towards a charitable project. My most recent project in rural Uganda has been raising funds for the construction of a Business, Education, and Training center in a rural village.  
 
My initial application was selected as 1 of 20 national finalists in the competition. I then had to put together a video outlining my project that would help convey my message to the public when the contest voting opened up. I was in the running for 1 of 5 grand prize spots based on voting and am truly thankful for the support that followed. Family, friends, the Babson College community, Shaker High School, and Engeye supporters all logged on to vote to help move my project into one of the top 5 grand prize spots.
 
The support I received was humbling and it it encouraged me to work even harder to make sure I could get the additional funding for Engeye.  I was so excited to be able to announce to all those that voted, that we won! The win translated into $2,500 prize to help Engeye, as well as a three week volunteer trip to Kenya at the beginning of August. None of this would have been possible without the support of everyone including Babson. My trip to Kenya will help me to further explore sustainable business opportunities for developing countries and I look forward to joining some amazing people on this adventure. This trip will conclude an incredible summer after working at the socially conscious running apparel company Janji and living and learning about all that the Boston area has to offer.
Here’s to the journey ahead!