Chaminade College Preparatory senior, Amit Dodani was recently awarded a 2014 Peace First Fellowship. This national award recognized five youth peacemakers across the country, and each winner will receive $25,000 over the next two years to “further their peacemaking work.”
Peace First is a Boston-based non-profit organization, which is dedicated to creating the next generation of peacemakers. Dodani was chosen as a fellow because of, My Name My Story (MNMS), the social leadership organization he founded in December 2011.
Since then, MNMS has grown into a national movement impacting 30 school campuses across four states, including Archdiocese schools in Los Angeles, and the first collegiate MNMS club at Texas Lutheran University. Dodani himself has reached out to more than 15,000 students through MNMS Inspire Empathy keynote talks.
“Although I was honored to fly to DC, visit the National Press Club, White House, Supreme Court, and the Institute of Peace,” said Amit, “I was simply there to represent the entire MNMS community and people who helped me make my MNMS dream a reality: my family, teachers like Mr. and Mrs. Bader who helped me overcome my speech challenge and Ms. Julie LaBelle who embraced the program and help make it what it is today; and most importantly the amazing MNMS Student Leaders and Chaminade Faculty like Mr. Williamson who make all this possible.”
Ms. Julie LaBelle, Chaminade Student Activity Director and MNMS School Club Advisor, who has been instrumental in creating the curriculum for the Leadership Days, Inspire Empathy Days, and the MNMS Resource Guide said “My Name My Story has become an important aspect of the Chaminade community as well as an excellent model for other schools to implement. My Name My Story school clubs, programs, and events, like the Inspire Empathy Day and Social Entrepreneurship Camp, offer schools like Chaminade the opportunity to inspire student leaders to be empathetic leaders in their communities, and to create a positive culture on their campus. At Chaminade, My Name My Story has also helped us fulfill our Marianist Characteristics of family spirit, service, justice, and peace and adaptation and change.”
As Dodani heads off to college next year, he is excited to continue to spread the message of empathy and scale MNMS with the support of organizations like Peace First and work towards the MNMS goal of connecting “One Million Stories that Inspire” and empowering youth to be powerful change agents in their communities.