As part of a U.S. Dept. of State sponsored program called Jóvenes en Acción, the Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA) asked the Billion Bottle Project to speak to 16 high school exchange students from Mexico this past Wednesday, July 26th. The students’ 4-week long program is dedicated to civic engagement. This particular group was focused on global entrepreneurship and environmentalism; their projects are as diverse as supporting business management skills development in local high schools to the protection of mangrove swamps in Oaxaca. BBP’s Finance Director Annika Sinha and Operations Director Mona Yuan gave a comprehensive presentation for the students on everything from the vision that inspired BBP’s mission to the best ways to give an elevator pitch.

Student feedback afterwards was overwhelmingly positive, but both directors are already looking for ways to improve presentations moving forward, especially as part of the educational initiatives BBP currently has in the works like “Drops for Life.” Education projects are central to BBP’s dual mission of local and global impact and student feedback is vital to creating the most effective programs. This workshop also provided a chance to forge a partnership between CCWA and BBP, with CCWA CEO Maura O’Donnell-McCarthy meeting with BBP Executive Director Sanjit Datta to discuss opportunities for both organizations to partner in missions right here in Cleveland and abroad.

Annika and Mona both agreed that the experience was a rejuvenating reminder of the myriad ways in which any individual can improve the world. The dreams of 16 kids empowered with ideas and mentorship can be the first step to doing so. BBP is proud to concern itself with not just the purification of water, but also the emboldening of the next generation of world-changers; we invite you to join us along the way.