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What We Teach

Why we teach Passion in YE

Principles that inform our behavior are called values, and at Youth Entrepreneurs, we believe the YE values are essential to helping our students grow. Our Foundational Values are responsibility, knowledge, passion, sound judgment, be principled, freedom, opportunity and win-win focus. So we’re exploring each one, continuing with passion.

Passion can be defined as finding fulfillment in your life by improving the lives of others, says Michael Barrett, from our Compass team. “We’re thinking about what motivates us, what drives us. There’s always something deeper driving what we do,” he explains. “We want students to be finding fulfillment for themselves — but the best way to identify your passion in this life is to create value in our communities.”

The relevance of passion to entrepreneurship is all in its application, Michael says. “In YE, we’re working to help students realize that although application of passion might be opening a bakery, for example, there’s something deeper there. There’s a core source to that. Passion is the philosophy of why you’re doing what you do.”

Passion comes to life in the YE classroom through an innovation activity called Disruptus. “In this activity, students are tasked with creating some sort of innovation, and in the first round, they innovate in a way that creates value for themselves,” Michael says. “But we add a judge or panel of judges, so others in the classroom are assessing that value.”

This aspect of the activity spurs students to consider subjective value: what you find fulfilling may differ from what others find fulfilling. Your passion isn’t the same as the passions of others. “Now they’re thinking about how to create fulfillment for others in a way that also fulfills them,” Michael says.

Students realize that, sometimes, entrepreneurs can be passionate about a solution and neglect that people need to have a choice in whether or not to adopt that solution, he says. “It balances out. We may have the best idea and something that will improve the lives of others — but if we don’t create a habitat in which they can choose that condition, then we have undermined them as a person.”

“I find passion so important because so much of the world at large tells us that our personal agency and interests, the things we care about, are not important, or that we don’t have the power or agency to influence things,” Michael shares. “Students learn in YE that they do indeed have influence in their communities and the world at large. Passion unleashes that creativity. So much of our world encourages our students to quiet that creative voice, but in our classroom, they learn that a better world is possible. The things about which they are passionate can come to fruition.”