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Friday, 26 December 2014

Bwesigye Brain becomes D&F Academy Theatre Fellow

Once again, we have received another fabulous report from one of our favorite members, Bwesigye Brian from Uganda. Brian learnt about the D&F Academy program here on opportunitydesk.org; he applied and was selected as a Theatre Fellow. He writes us from Germany regarding his program. His and other messages we have received remind us of our responsibility and urges us to serve you more. Read Brian's message below:

Greetings everyone,

I am writing this from Hamburg, Germany, one week into the D&F Academy Theatre ChallengeLab. I learnt of the D&F Academy Theatre Fellowship in December 2012 via Opportunity Desk. I applied to join the Academy and was successful. The Fellowship in one year long, includes ten weeks in Hamburg Germany (ChallengeLab) and ten months implementing DreamPlans, the ideas presented in the application for the fellowship.

I am loving the ChallengeLab already. We are seventeen Fellows, from more than ten countries of the world, selected from a pool of many applications. I am grateful to Opportunity Desk for the service they are rendering to us at no cost. I nowadays tell my friends who are not yet in the Facebook group, to style up. I have indeed added many to the group. This is a goldmine.

Bwesigye Brian
Theatre Fellow,
D&F Academy, Hamburg, Germany

Congratulations Brian, we are super proud of you. Have a swell time in Germany!
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How to Win a Scholarship: Best Approach

What you need to know about Scholarship application.

I begin by letting you know that I have been a beneficiary of multiple scholarships and I thank God (Allah) for His grace. Many of us young people dream to win a scholarship to pursue higher education in our own countries or abroad. While there are many platforms for finding scholarship opportunities like ‘opportunitydesk.org’, scholarship application remains a ‘tough competition’ to many of us.

First thing you should know is that the first point of interaction between you and the scholarship selection committee is your application and therefore you must have to take extra caution during your application.

Applying for scholarship is equivalent to making a multi-million investment in your life and future. The real litmus test is making a winning application which incorporates a well filled application form, personal statement, essay, recommendation and finally having a successful interview as required by some scholarships. In this series, I will discuss a few tips to boost your package when making scholarship application.

Win a Scholarship by learning the following:

Remember if you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to do so below this post. Share this with all the people in your network. you never can tell who needs it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Douglas Owino
Douglas holds a Bachelors in International Business Administration (Hons) from US International University (Kenya) and an MBA – International Business in South Korea. He is a Global Changemaker with British Council, Certified Youth Peer Educator, Peace Ambassador, Scholarship Adviser and a Mentor to high school pupils. He previously worked for I Choose Life-Africa (NGO) and Kenya Commercial Bank Group.
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Saturday, 20 December 2014

How to Win a Scholarship: Boosting Your Interview

This is the last tip in the How to Win a Scholarship series. If you missed any tip, click here.

Getting selected for an interview is a privilege and an indication that your application met the desired qualities, so congratulate yourself so far. Now it’s time to do or die.

Generally, each interview is different from another and so the interviewers will ask questions that are tailored to the specific scholarship program you’re applying for. The interview can be conducted via phone calls, skype chat or physically depending with the geographical dynamics and convenience of both the interviewer(s) and interviewee. This is not time to ramble or get nervous; it’s an opportunity to confidently present yourself as a competitive candidate as you demonstrated in your application.

Before interview:
  1. Have a detailed knowledge of your field of study and the research topic you are likely to undertake.
  2. Ensure your medium of interview is available and working appropriately. For example, quiet environment, good internet, etc.
  3. Prepare a list of points you’d like to make about yourself. Ensure you review all your application materials thoroughly. Ensure you thoroughly review the details of the scholarship.
  4. Work on your verbal communication skills including pronunciation and audibility
During the interview:
  1. Understand the question, take your time responding to questions; don’t rush your answers.
  2. Relax and be comfortable to speak naturally not to sound as if you are under pressure, in panic or lying.
  3. Keep your answers to the point and succinct.
  4. Avoid going on long tangents or rambling about an irrelevant issue.
  5. Don’t be overexcited and again you should not sound or look bored.
  6. Show your passion and enthusiasm for the course you are about to start and the university.
  7. You should be able to relate and demonstrate a sophisticated grasp of the issues facing your community and how your study will be part of the solution to this problem.
After interview:
  1. After the interview, they will likely ask you if you have any question or comment.
  2. Please feel free to say something but it should add points to your interview. For example, thank them for the education opportunity they are giving the young people. At least something they will remember you for.
  3. Finally thank them for their time and for listening to you.
Previous Posts in the Series.
  1. Boosting your Application when Filling the Form
  2. Boosting your Personal Statement
  3. Boosting your Essay
  4. Boosting your Letter of recommendation
Remember if you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to do so below this post. Share this with all the people in your network. you never can tell who needs it. Join us on Facebook, Let's interact via Twitter and Subscribe via Email if you don't want to miss any updates.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Douglas Owino

Douglas holds a Bachelors in International Business Administration (Hons) from US International University (Kenya) and an MBA – International Business in South Korea. He is a Global Changemaker with British Council, Certified Youth Peer Educator, Peace Ambassador, Scholarship Adviser and a Mentor to high school pupils. He previously worked for I Choose Life-Africa (NGO) and Kenya Commercial Bank Group.
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Monday, 15 December 2014

How to Win a Scholarship: Boosting your Personal Statement

I have been a beneficiary of multiple scholarships and I thank God for His grace.

Many of us young people dream to win a scholarship to pursue higher education in our own countries or abroad. While there are many platforms for finding scholarship opportunities like ‘opportunitydesk.org’, scholarship application remains a ‘tough competition’ to many of us.  I will discuss a few tips to boost your Personal Statement when making scholarship application.

Boosting your Personal Statement

Many people confuse Personal Statement with Essay.

Check the difference below:
  • A personal statement, NOT ‘essay’, is a writing that relays autobiographical information about the applicant. Personal statement gives you the opportunity to describe a few aspects of your life to give the potential sponsor a picture of who you are as an individual who is different from all other competing applicants.
  • It’s an opportunity to highlight your strengths, talents and potential, and typically serves as a means of adding a personal touch to the application.

You can highlight your personal history, family background, your exposure to educational and cultural opportunities, and how these factors have shaped you as a person. Include your special interests and abilities, career plans, and life goals, extra-curricular participations, awards you have won, etc. But remember to write about positive side of your life or how you have turned challenges into opportunities, you know what I mean.

The personal statement should show a good command of the language used in application, as least errors as possible, brief or detailed and straight to the point depending with the required length but normally you will be given a maximum amount of words. In the last paragraph, give a good conclusion with a strong statement ‘re-requesting’ to be considered for the scholarship.

So, before you put down your pen, ask yourself the following questions;
  • Does your personal statement tell a story about you that make the selection committee members want to meet you?
  • Does your statement show that you are capable of doing great things given the opportunity?
  • Does it show that you care about other people?
  • Does it show how the scholarship program fits in with your personal and professional goals?
  • Does your statement show any significant accomplishment or contribution that you have made to your field or to your community?

Next >>> Boosting your Letter of recommendation >>> Boosting your Essay

Remember if you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to do so below this post. Share this with all the people in your network. you never can tell who needs it.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Douglas Owino

Douglas holds a Bachelors in International Business Administration (Hons) from US International University (Kenya) and an MBA – International Business in South Korea. He is a Global Changemaker with British Council, Certified Youth Peer Educator, Peace Ambassador, Scholarship Adviser and a Mentor to high school pupils. He previously worked for I Choose Life-Africa (NGO) and Kenya Commercial Bank Group.
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How to Win a Scholarship: 3 Steps to Boost your Essay

I begin by letting you know that I have been a beneficiary of multiple scholarships and I thank God for His grace.

Many of us young people dream to win a scholarship to pursue higher education in our own countries or abroad. While there are many platforms for finding scholarship opportunities like ‘opportunitydesk.org’, scholarship application remains a ‘tough competition’ to many of us.  I will discuss a few tips to boost your Essay when making scholarship application.

Boosting your Essay

1. Subject

In scholarship application, Essay is a piece of writing that describes a particular or specific subject whether academic, description of a particular life event, personal motivations or characteristics. Most scholarships will provide you with a subject or a guide.

2. Essay Structure

While the personal statement and essay may share the similar structure of introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, they differ in content. When writing an essay please take note of ALL the given instructions or guidelines.
Content development: Don’t expect your first essay to be perfect! So write it early enough and give yourself time to go through it over and over to develop your content, perfect it and come up with your best thoughts.

3. Choice of words and terms

You should employ more technical terms and cite specific quotes or statistics if necessary to show your experience of broad knowledge of the subject you are writing about. Do not fear to prove what you know!
Overall checks and balances: Check for overall length, structure, sentence flow and tone before you rest your case.

Next >>> Boosting your Personal Statement >>> Boosting your Letters of Recommendation

Remember if you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to do so below this post. Share this with all the people in your network. you never can tell who needs it.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Douglas Owino

Douglas holds a Bachelors in International Business Administration (Hons) from US International University (Kenya) and an MBA – International Business in South Korea. He is a Global Changemaker with British Council, Certified Youth Peer Educator, Peace Ambassador, Scholarship Adviser and a Mentor to high school pupils. He previously worked for I Choose Life-Africa (NGO) and Kenya Commercial Bank Group.
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Monday, 8 December 2014

How to Win a Scholarship: Steps to Boost your Letter of Recommendation

I have been a beneficiary of multiple scholarships and I thank God for His grace.

Many of us young people dream to win a scholarship to pursue higher education in our own countries or abroad. While there are many platforms for finding scholarship opportunities like ‘opportunitydesk.org’, scholarship application remains a ‘tough competition’ to many of us.  I will discuss a few tips to boost your Letter of Recommendation when making scholarship application.

Many scholarship applicants may not realize the contribution of good recommendation letter to your application. In fact, most scholarships or job interviews check your recommenders, their organizations and positions.

For most scholarships, letters of recommendation form one of the extremely important parts of applications towards winning the scholarship. The type of recommender you have as your reference provides selection committee members with a glimpse of the type of applicant you are as well as set you apart from other competitors. For example, having recommendation from an Assistant Secretary or from a Senior Professor does not carry the same weight, you get what I mean?

Steps to boost your Letters of Recommendation

Just like job recommendations, most scholarships would expect three types of references; from academic, social and/or professional reference. Academic reference will be from your Professor or lecturer, Social references are such as your community leader or religious leader, and Professional references are from companies where you have worked, or from organizations you have been involved with.

When looking for a recommender, look for professionals such as academic professors, your boss at work, etc. The recommender should know the applicant well enough to provide specific information about him or her for the time they have known each other.

Recommendation letters should be honest, free of hyperbole, and provide specific information about the particular applicant. Do inform your recommender about the scholarship you are applying for and if possible update him/her on the developments of your application status.

What makes a good Recommendation letter?

  • Specific information about the applicant: These include qualities of the applicant for example, leadership, valuable research, representing the university in different conferences attended, etc.
  • How long the recommender has known the applicants.
  • Recommender can place the applicant into a larger context. For example, by stating that the applicant was among top 3 best students in class, etc.
  • Mention of applicant’s potential if given further opportunities.
  • Ask your recommender to use official letterhead
  • I wish you success in your applications. So next time, I will continue by sharing Tips to Boost your Scholarship Interview.

You may also read >>> Boosting your Essay >>> Boosting your Personal Statement

Remember if you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to do so below this post. Share this with all the people in your network. you never can tell who needs it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Douglas Owino

Douglas holds a Bachelors in International Business Administration (Hons) from US International University (Kenya) and an MBA – International Business in South Korea. He is a Global Changemaker with British Council, Certified Youth Peer Educator, Peace Ambassador, Scholarship Adviser and a Mentor to high school pupils. He previously worked for I Choose Life-Africa (NGO) and Kenya Commercial Bank Group.
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Sunday, 7 December 2014

How to Win a Scholarship: 4 Steps to Boost your Application Form

I begin by letting you know that I have been a beneficiary of multiple scholarships and I thank God for His grace.

Many of us young people dream to win a scholarship to pursue higher education in our own countries or abroad. While there are many platforms for finding scholarship opportunities like ‘opportunitydesk.org’, scholarship application remains a ‘tough competition’ to many of us.  I will discuss a few tips to boost your package when making scholarship application.

Boosting your Application when Filling the Form

1. Accurately complete the application

Fill the form appropriately and avoid filling misspellings. Do not leave blanks unless it’s optional and only where necessary, especially check marks such as [*] for mandatory questions. Do not mistake to fill ‘official use only’. Follow instructions such as ‘fill in with BLACK BLOCK letters’ if applicable. Minimum or no errors shows your accuracy and keenness while handling critical and detailed tasks.

2. Answer the Question Being Asked

Failure to directly answer the questions being asked only hurt your chances of obtaining a scholarship. Other than providing standard information like your name, age, address, answer open-ended questions with ultimate care.

3. Know Yourself

Other than your strengths, know other facts like the groups group you belong to. For instance, are you of a minority race? This is because some scholarships only target some particular groups of candidates and you wouldn't want to miss this opportunity. The more you full understanding yourself the better you are in answering more open ended questions with depth.

4. Carefully proofread

Proofread your application form again and again to clear errors. Type your application but if you must hand write, make sure that your handwriting is legible. Due to large number of scholarship applicants, the sponsorship committee may not have enough time to struggle decoding messy handwriting. They are likely to discard your application if they cannot read or understand.

Next >>> Boosting your Personal Statement >>> Boosting your Essay

Remember if you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to do so below this post. Share this with all the people in your network. you never can tell who needs it.

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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Opata Chibueze selected for the P&G International IDS Challenge in Germany

Congratulations to Opata Chibueze who got selected and sponsored to join the world's best students at the 2014 P & G International IDS Challenge in Frankfurt, Germany.

Here is how he recaps his experience;

"I learnt about the P & G International IDS Challenge in a funny way -- thanks to OpportunityDesk and Facebook Ticker; at a time I barely had time, I noticed a gossip saying my friend liked P & G International IDS Challenge page. Being the curious me, I decided to check it out, information about the competition and link to apply was on Facebook so it was simple to apply and took just a couple of minutes.


After the online test, I was invited for the reasoning test at Lagos where I met Ovie Newton for the first time. It was fun to meet a lot of smart students at the P & G office in Ikeja and I can’t easily forget the mixture of excitement and disappointment on our after the time-starved challenging test. Few of us scaled through the reasoning test which was typically followed by series of interviews before the final confirmation that I had been selected to represent Nigeria. It was really an exciting moment and everything else happened so fast.

We were divided into four teams of 6 people each from different regions in the world and assigned our first business case which we had to tackle virtually in order to present on the first day of the event (7th April). The event itself was fully action packed and our trainers a.k.a. The Magic Team kept us busy around the clock either solving business cases, learning new things, or having fun. It was a great privilege and honor to be among the world’s best students during the event and I must confess the event very much exceeded my expectations. I was exposed to the P & G values and principles and learnt a lot about IDS and Business Intelligence.





The business cases exposed us to real life IDS problems as well as how to solve them. We had coach feedback sessions after the presentation of the solution by the IDS Challenge Trainer’s team and these sessions were priceless to our individual personal improvement. Personally, I learnt a lot about myself and how to work better in team by letting people around me know how I prefer to work as well as listening and understanding the perspective of others. Overall the experience was heavily immersive and I got to also learn a lot about working in P & G. Even if nothing else, I learnt that diversity and innovation is something you can be guaranteed of in P & G. we were privileged to dine with top managers and directors in P & G who gave us a lot of insight about work-life-fun combination inside P & G.


It is an experience I will like to go through again any day, any time, any moment and I’m really glad for every single person who made it come true. The International IDS Challenge is something I would really recommend for every student who is privileged enough to hear about the challenge and even if I cannot guarantee of anything, I can assure it will not be an experience easily forgotten.

And to Grace and all the Opportunity Desk crew, all I can say is, keep the flag flying, you never know how many you can actually touch but it’s certainly more than the number in the group."

- Opata Chibueze

Well done Chibueze and we hope to hear more success stories from you all.

Remember, opportunities keep knocking, but it's our conscious choice to say, "HEY, IT'S YOU, COME RIGHT IN"!
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Friday, 5 December 2014

Dr. Charles Akhimien wins 2013 UNEP World Environment Day Blogging Competition

It is exciting to read another success story from Dr Charles Akhimien, a 24 year old medical doctor from Nigeria. Charles is the winner of this year's World Environment Day Blogging Competition organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the official blogger for World Environment Day 2013 (www.unep.org/wed/news/blogwinner.asp). This is an amazing feat and we celebrate him.

Read the rest of his message about three other awards and opportunities he received this year since getting in touch with Opportunity Desk!

I represented the UN in Mongolia in June of this year for world environment Day and I have just been named winner of the  UNEP World Environment Day Blogging Competition making me the official blogger for WED 2013. 

Opportunity desk has been of great help to me since August. I have been able to get a veritable source of promising opportunities for young people. Through opportunity desk I have applied for over 7 different opportunities, with 3 being successful.

I was appointed Director General for Health, World Youth Government
I was featured on the YEN Marketplace as a one of their outstanding young people
I got accepted to participate as a Delegate in the Global summit Youth Programme (GSY) in malaysia next month, which will be all-expenses paid.
Thanks again for bringing these great opportunities to us.

Dr Charles
Director General for Health, World Youth Government

We are super impressed with Dr. Charles achievements and celebrate him. Keep searching and take advantage. He applied to 7, but was successful at 3. You can never tell just which application would go through!

Have a success story to share? Email us: opportunitydeskforyou@gmail.com
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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Freeman Osonuga Selected for the 2013 OneYoungWorld Summit in South Africa

On September 12, 2013 we received a tweet from Freeman Osonuga, the founder of Heal the WOrld Foundation Nigeria, about his success through the One Young World Summit application. Freeman is one of 22 delegates from 20 Countries that have been sponsored by the MTN Group South Africa to the One Young World Summit, Johannesburg South Africa. He has been an active Desk user and saw an opportunity on the blog that helped him get the sponsorship.

We are excited to read from him. Read his message below.

"As a point of duty, I check the website and twitter handle of Opportunity Desk at least 3 times a week." Freeman Osonuga
In 2010, as a Medical Student and without any formal corporate organisation's financial support, I started a non profit, non governmental charity organisation, Heal The World Foundation Nigeria, with the aim of caring for orphans, physically challenged and less privileged people in Africa.

We have since catered for about 400 children and orphans in Ogun state.

I was selected among the 22 delegates from 20 Countries that are been sponsored by the MTN Group South Africa to the One Young World Summit, Johannesburg in South Africa between October 2-5 and therefore will become a One Young World Ambassador by the end of the summit.

Many thanks to Grace Ihejiamaizu and the Opportunity Desk team for making global opportunities available and accessible to Nigerians and Africans.

Freeman Osonuga
Founder and Executive Director,
Heal The World Foundation Nigeria
Website: www.htwfnigeria.org
Twitter: @htwfnigeria @freeman_osonuga
Mobiles: +2348031114113, +2348050386050

Congratulations Freeman. We are proud of you and hope you represent your country the best way you can. Remember, this is a platform for you to shine, learn and network! Keep us updated!

Do you have a success story you want to share? Send us your story now at opportunitydeskforyou@gmail.com.
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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Théo Ntawiheba Selected for the Hesselbein Global Student Leaders Summit in Pittsburg

Welcome to a New Week!

Théo Patrick Ntawiheba was in Pittsburg for the 2013 Hesselbein Global Student Leaders Summit, a prestigious opportunity he heard about from the Desk! We are excited about this and celebrate with him for this opportunity.

His message below:


Hey guys,

I hope you are all doing well and working hard in whatever it is that you are working on. My name is Théo Ntawiheba. I am Rwandese and I go to NYU Abu Dhabi. I joined Opportunities Desk not so long ago and a couple of months down the line, I am already being exposed for many great opportunities.

I was at the University of Pittsburg to attend the Hesselbein Global Student Leaders Summit which I was been selected for. This is a prestigious opportunity and I only got to hear about it when I joined Opportunities Desk. In addition, I have also been able to apply for a number of other opportunities that I probably would not have heard of if it was not for this page.

Therefore, I encourage you guys to visit this page and as often as possible and take advantage of the opportunities available to us. One of the biggest challenges we face as youth if the lack of information. There might be countless opportunities out there but they only exist if you know about them.

Please spread the word to your family, friends, classmates and lets all stay informed.

Cheers,
Théo.

All the best Théo and do keep us informed of any other updates.

If you have Success Stories you would like to share, send them to opportunitydeskforyou@gmail.com
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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Chuks Enemchukwu writes from Portland, USA!

Hope your weekend is going great?

So we got a call from the young brilliant Chuks Emmanuel Enemchukwu who is a Nigerian but living in Portland, Oregon State, USA. We listened in awe as he narrated his experiences, shared some innovative ideas and expressed his gratitude towards Opportunity Desk for the opportunities he has gotten and the many more he is expecting. We could not wait to share this with you. There is more to Chuks Emmanuel and at opportunitydesk.org, we have our eyes on him - bringing you more stories in the future.

Read below the message we received from Portland!

Dear Opportunity Desk Readers,

I have been a member of this group for about a year, and during this period, Opportunity Desk has been of great importance in my personal and entrepreneurial journey.

In January 2013, my group applied and got accepted to become a part of the Clinton Global Initiative University. We also applied for the Rolex grant competition, and we made it through the first stage of the screening process. Opportunity Desk made information about all these opportunities we took advantage of available. Access to opportunities is one of the biggest obstacles faced by many young change-makers today.

Opportunity Desk has gone a long way to bridge this gap, and I beseech all passionate young people to join this group. No other group I have seen provides opportunities that are tailored to address the needs of young change-makers like Opportunity Desk does. Big shout out to Ms. Grace for shouldering such a noble and daunting responsibility.

Cheers,

Emmanuel.

All the very best Chuks and thanks for writing us! We hope to hear more about your future accomplishments.

Join our Facebook Group | Like our Facebook Page | Follow on Twitter
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Monday, 1 December 2014

Introducing Opportunity Desk Young Person of the Month

As part of our commitment to providing the information on latest opportunities and useful resources, Opportunity Desk is proud to introduce a new monthly spotlight – Young Person of the Month.
Opportunity Desk Young Person of Month aims to recognize and celebrate one Young Person worldwide every month who inspires others and whose life revolves around unique opportunities that have in one way or the other meaningfully shaped their thoughts, personal/career development, community engagement, innovation, breakthrough or social/global perspectives and actions. The featured young persons will come from all walks of life and can be of any age or background and their stories will be used to inspire other youths to prepare themselves and take advantage of opportunities presented on platforms like opportunitydesk.org.
We believe that this will positively influence other youths who form a major part of opportunitydesk.org and other social media readership base.
Do you know any inspirational young person? Nominate them. You can also nominate yourself. Please send a mail to info[at]opportunitydesk.org or opportunitydeskforyou[at]gmail.com with the subject; ‘Nominee for Young Person of the Month’
The First Ever Young Person of the Month was unveiled on Friday, April 5, 2013.
Please leave your comments or thoughts below. Your comments are welcome.
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