My Name My Story announces MK Larson as First National Youth Spokesperson for New Empathy Program

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“Every day, the media highlights the increasing divide in schools turning playgrounds into battlegrounds for issues like race, privilege, and power. A systemic solution is long overdue,” says 17 year old Amit Dodani, founder of the organization, “if we can empower our students with Changemaking skills, we can change the culture of our schools.”

“With my role as the MNMS spokesperson, I hope not only to use my story to inspire Changemaking within communities, but also to help others realize the power their stories.” MK Larson.

Los Angeles, California: Mary Kathryn Larson - 16 year old senior at Chaminade College Preparatory, Competitive Cross Country Runner, Youth Ambassador for the Tourette Association of America - has just been selected as the first National Youth Spokesperson for My Name My Story (MNMS).

“To stay true to our mission of ‘Inspiring Empathy in Young Changemakers’ we must have the voice of the youth represented at the MNMS Table. MK was chosen to be this voice because she is a genuine Storyteller who represents the values of empathy, teamwork, leadership and service,” says 17-year old Amit Dodani, founder of MNMS and current freshman at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

At a very young age MK was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, distancing her from her peers and taking a toll on her self confidence. As she grew up, the connections she made through sports and extracurriculars led to a much more positive experience, but she kept her story to herself. “It wasn't until I joined MNMS in my Junior year that I learned that by sharing my story, I could not only inspire others but also create confidence for myself,” says MK, who plans to impact as many kids as she can. “With my role as the MNMS spokesperson, I hope not only to use my story to inspire Changemaking within communities, but also to help others realize the power their stories.”

While every story is unique, most students have felt the disconnect that MK describes in the early part of her story. “Every day, the media highlights the increasing divide in schools turning playgrounds into battlegrounds for issues like race, privilege, and power. A systemic solution is long overdue,” says Amit. “If we can empower our students with Changemaking skills, we can change the culture of our schools.”

An empathetic culture is built through strong connections, and MK Larson is using her story to build those connections. MNMS School Program Advisor Julie LaBelle, an educator with seventeen years of experience, and the driving force behind MNMS curriculum says, “Over the years I have seen MK grow into a confident leader. She has learned to accept what life has given to her and use it in a positive way that impacts and inspires others. I am extremely proud of her and her accomplishments and cannot wait to see her represent MNMS this year!”

About My Name My Story - MNMS is nationally recognized social enterprise that empowers youth with the skills needed to contribute to their communities as Changemakers- including empathy, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork.

After years of collaborating with students, teachers, administrators, social entrepreneurs, and organizations like Ashoka, Peace First, and Teach for America, MNMS has put together a unique program. The Inspire Empathy program allows students to practice Changemaking on their school campuses, building a more empathetic school culture.

In addition to the Inspire Empathy program, MNMS hosts, and offers curriculum for a week-long “Leadership & Social Entrepreneurship Summer Camp” introducing students to key concepts of social entrepreneurship and the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. The organization has impacted over thirty high school campuses spanning four states, reaching thousands of students.

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Amit Dodani

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