Next week, three young changemakers will share how they’re transforming their talents and passions to give back to the most underserved in our communities. Join us at Cal State University San Marcos on February 18 for what could be the most inspiring free lunch you’ll have this year, with:

  • Sean Griser, Service Learning Student Ambassador and winner of the 2015 Outstanding Service Learning Student of the Year at Cal State San Marcos for a music therapy project to help seniors with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Francisco “Panchito” Martinez, San Diego State Vice President of Student Affairs Leadership Scholar, Leadership Program Specialist at Barrio Logan College Institute, and National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Youth/Student Volunteer of the Year
  • Nitya Timalsina, UC San Diego graduate and President & Founder of One Step Projects, a nonprofit dedicated to improving living conditions locally and worldwide

We got a chance to sit down with these social entrepreneurs to see how they’re turning our vision of a generous and more engaged region into a reality.

Questions and Answers with the Panel

The San Diego Foundation (TSDF): How are San Diego’s young people poised to become the next generation of great leaders?

Sean Griser (SG): The diversity of San Diego is preparing our youth to become the next generation of leaders. Social science tells us that diverse groups tend to create more innovative ideas. Having diverse groups of leaders in training will make San Diego a hub of leadership.

Francisco Martinez (FM): Younger generations have been said to be over-sensitive, self-centered and disconnected, but they have also been said to be focused on equity, inclusiveness and collaboration. The young people of today are tomorrow’s future. We have the hearts to lead; the knowledge will come with time.

Nitya Timalsina (NT): Although I have lived in many places throughout my life, San Diego’s amazing community taught me everything I know about service, leadership, and the power of individuals to create lasting change. San Diego is the perfect place to nurture young leaders to tackle any challenge, whether local or global.

TSDF: What inspires young people to give of their time, talent, treasure, network, and voice?

SG: The inspiration comes from two places—our active leaders and access to means of communication. Our region is extremely connected, and this allows for the sharing of innovative ideas. People have both a desire and a need to help others, and the way we are connected can help this need be fulfilled.

FM: Our predecessors have pursued happiness through the accumulation of capital long enough to find that life isn’t measured by a number. I believe more people are finding that happiness does not come from pursuing it for oneself but rather pursuing it for others.

NT: Young people are often discouragingly told they are “too young” to have various experiences in life. They feel empowered and liberated, however, upon discovering that age does not restrict anyone from creating impact. If youth are taught to believe in themselves, they will do anything to create positive change.

TSDF: What does the future of service look like in the San Diego region, 40 years out?

SG: San Diego is extremely diverse, and the need to support our underserved populations is paramount. Youth will play a huge role in maintaining this support. The role of the current leaders in our community is to continue to nourish, in our youth, the practice of service to others.

FM: Forty years from now, there will be less people volunteering at homeless shelters and cleaning up beaches, and more people implementing policies addressing homelessness and spreading environmental awareness.

NT: Just as Silicon Valley is the center of high-tech innovation, San Diego will become the hub of social entrepreneurship within 40 years. Youth will be inspired from an early age to serve their communities. San Diego will be known not only for beautiful beaches and weather but also its social consciousness!

RSVP to Hear More