The 35U began with a vision to inspire the leaders of tomorrow by telling them about the leaders of today. With millions of people involved in government, education, business and community service across the country, it sometimes may be hard for the 35U to connect to leaders individually simply due to an age barrier. The 35U to us is any young adult from the ages of 18-35 in this country. These individuals have a voice – they can vote, serve, and most importantly, they can make a difference for future generations.

Today’s Q&A feature is Melody Duarte, Founder of Change is Ours. The mission of Change is Ours is inspiring individuals to empower their communities. They host workshops, events, discussion panels, and volunteer projects that bring different organizations and individuals together under one cause.

In her free time, she enjoys working with students in grades 6-13 to create better study habits and get ready for college.

Melody is an inspiration to the youth that want to get involved in entrepreneurship and public service. We caught up with Melody to find out what leadership means to her and what advice she would give to the next generation of leaders.

Why did you choose this career path?

I knew in college that I wanted to make an impact on this world. I am fascinated at the fact that everything we do as a society is constructed by our leaders. If the right leadership is established we can construct an ethical and moral society.

Who inspired you to get involved?

I am inspired by hope. Hope and faith that humanity can be educated to be compassionate. That together we can make a world that is as close to just as possible.

How do you define a leader?

A leader is someone who is willing to sacrifice themselves for others. Sacrifice their time and efforts to serve others. Leaders do not mind being first and last. Leaders will do what needs to be done for the majority.

What projects are you currently involved with in the community that engages the next generation of leaders?

Through my nonprofit Change Is Ours we are constructing a mentorship and internship program to start in Fall of 2020. Through my business “Just Start”, I am coaching young entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and passion no matter what.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders who want to get involved?

Don’t believe any thought that is born from fear or doubt. You were created to love yourself, love others and sprinkle your unique gifts in the world. Have fun! Be creative! Make people laugh! Drop any chains or weights that are holding you down. You can be as free as you want to be, all you have to do is start.