Community Leader Spotlight – Stephanie Bermudez

Meet Stephanie Bermudez from Nogales:

I’m a bi-national economic developer. I help people develop innovation spaces, create better strategies for their businesses, and I specialize in digital communication. I am from the border of the U.S. and Mexico. I was raised in Nogales, the only city that is divided by two countries. When I was younger it was easier to exist on both sides, both Nogales US and Nogales Mexico. I grew up as a cowgirl on a ranch, with livestock, I was a barrel racer and my dad was a roper. I was everything a Mexican-American living in the south could be.

Why do you do what you do?

I decided to lean into my passions. This is what I love and ultimately this is something I recognize that I’m good at and allows me to live with purpose and make an impact. There’s also a social and spiritual side to helping people, specifically people that are disadvantaged in the light of our culture today. I’m here to amplify our voice and love being around ideas that break down barriers to create change. If I can make an impact on community through systems that change people’s mentality then I am fulfilled. It’s also my passion to inspire others to be their best. It not only makes me feel good but I think it’s the right thing to do.

What’s new for Nogales/Tucson?

Last December through Startup Unidos we did the first bi-national Startup Weekend. We’re continuing to expand these programs and further integrate everything we’re doing to bridge connections across borders. There’s amazing things happening in Hermosillo, Phoenix, Tucson, Nogales, and this is changing the narrative around what’s possible.

Final remarks?

We need to continue to do more to empower women, youth, and introduce technology to improve people’s lives. In the space we operate in we recognize problems as opportunities, not the end of the world. This platform is perfect for fostering growth and we’re not stopping here!


Nuestros líderes de Comunidad en Sevilla, España

Siguiendo la crisis financiera de 2007 -08, la economía española entró en recesión, y en un ciclo de desarrollo negativo macroeconómico. Esto impactó la manera cómo era visto el emprendimiento en diferentes ciudades alrededor del país, especialmente aquellas que siempre fueron muy tradicionales. Tuve la oportunidad de hablar con Jaime Aranda Serralbo acerca del crecimiento de la comunidad de emprendimiento de Sevilla y su camino como líder de comunidad.


Nacido en Córdoba, pero establecido en Sevilla desde hace muchos años, Jaime ha sido uno de los principales catalizador del movimiento de emprendimiento en esa ciudad. Junto con otro participante de Startup Weekend Córdoba en Diciembre de 2012, fue el primero en llevar Startup Weekend a Sevilla en mayo del 2013. Esta acción– que fue después de abrir un espacio de co-working y ser organizador de más de 120 eventos– fue el inicio de la comunidad, que al día de hoy tiene el record de organización del Startup Weekend más grande de España.

De la recolección de datos que ha hecho, Jaime me cuenta que hay 8 startups y alrededor de 160 trabajos que se han generado gracias a esta comunidad de emprendimiento. Ahora, 3 años después de ese punto inicial, la comunidad de Sevilla, ha creado una organización sin ánimo de lucro que busca apoyar el emprendimiento y la inversión pública y privada en la ciudad, llamada Sevilla UP; con Jaime como su presidente. El objetivo principal de esta organización es ser un foro abierto a la innovación, la colaboración y las ideas que tengan sus socios y participantes.


El primer Startup Weekend, que sucedió en Mayo del 2013, tuvo alrededor de 45 participantes. De ahí se movieron a 160 en el evento organizado durante Global Startup Weekend en 2014. En ese momento, el director de Techstars para Europa, el Medio Oriente y Africa, José Iglesias, sugirió al equipo organizador, hacer eventos verticalizados. En 2015, durante Global Startup Battle de ese año, hicieron su primer evento enfocado en gastronomía y comida, al cual asistieron 50 participantes.

Este año, tendrán la tercera edición de ese tema en Marzo, la segunda enfocada en aeroespacial y la primera enfocada en educación.


Jaime, quien es emprendedor serial, piensa que en el 2017 después de la crisis y con el ecosistema emprendedor de Sevilla creciendo, las startups tendrán más madurez y serán capaces de crear profesionales dentro de sus equipos, proveyendo experiencias invaluables a sus empleados y al mismo tiempo dando valor a la sociedad y el mercado español. 

Community Leader Spotlight: Arturo Guizar

In memory of our dear friend Carole Granade, director, president, mother and wife. We will make sure that the entrepreneurial flame never dies in Lyon.

My name is Arturo Guizar, I am from Mexico City but I live in Lyon, France for almost 10 years. Since then, I have been traveling around the world but I always come back to Lyon.


What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

I consider myself as a hound and a hustler, two terms I learned from the startup culture. I use these terms to describe my two backgrounds as young scientist (hound) and entrepreneur (hustler). I did my PhD on wearable technologies at the CITI Lab, a joint Inria-INSA laboratory devoted to do research in the telecom sector. I am also co-cofounder of a non-profit organization BeyondLab which aims to connect the research and entrepreneur communities to create strong collaborations and democratise the discoveries of science to turn them into innovative projects. For that, we organise events and build scientific/business communities to reduce the cultural gap. My job here is to help on the community building and find money to continue growing. Since our first event in Grenoble, two years ago, we organised more than 50 events across France, from Lille to Marseille, and worldwide too, in Tokyo, Lausanne and Barcelona. We have worked with local partners, such as EPFL, Inria, CEA, The Family, Kic InnoEnergy, EDF, Withings and more.

For us, Startup Weekend has been a big inspiration, as well as Brad Feld’s philosophy about Startup Communities. We want to continue creating transdisciplinary hubs around the world to help scientist to find entrepreneurs and go beyond the lab.

When did you get involved with Startup Weekend?

The first time I heard about Startup Weekend was in 2011 when I was trying to create my first startup, but I missed the opportunity to participate in Lyon. At that time, I didn’t know it was an international community and I waited a whole year for the next event in Lyon. So, my first SW was on November 2012 in a vertical (SW OpenLabs which now is called SW Science) where scientists pitch their ideas and then, we work with them during the weekend to create startups using technologies coming from research.

This experience was so crazy, I learned a lot, especially about organization, team management and the importance of having a complementary team for the innovation process. I loved so much the concept of startup communities (thanks to Bernabé Chumpitazi), so I wanted to learn more about it and build our own for scientists/entrepreneurs. After that, I started organizing in Lyon (2013) and then facilitating in France (2014).

Startup Weekend inspired me to create BeyondLab (with Xavier Blot and Raphaël Meyer) in Lyon and Grenoble. But now, it’s becoming worldwide.

What is your favorite thing about Startup Weekend and the community?

Transdisciplinarity, international dimension and the fun. I’ve been involved in this community for almost 4 years and I got the opportunity to meet people from everywhere sharing the same values about community, economy and innovation. I also love to see passionate people trying to help their local ecosystem and I always learn something new by listening their background, everyone has an interesting history to tell

What is the funniest thing that you have witnessed and/or experienced with your team?

Each Startup Weekend is different, I have seen many funny and amazing things. But on the last two weeks (during the Global Startup Weekend), I saw for the first time a connected community without frontiers in real time. I connected with many communities using from Bolivia to US and even Australia. I found always someone to have a chat with and share moments/experience. That’s how we came with the idea to make the Mannequin Challenge during the GSW, it was fun and magical.

What are your bold plans for the future of your community?  

In Lyon, we believe that Startup Weekend is the perfect way to create strong communities for the local economy. The last time we organized a horizontal Startup Weekend was in 2014. Since then, there is always a theme (Science, Food, Makers, Women, MedTech, …). And for each one of them, we have a different team that shares the same passion for that vertical. As a result, we build multiple communities that continue doing things to keep growing our local ecosystem. For instance, the MedTech team also created a new community called Exponential Medicine that organized meetings and Hackathons to improve our healthcare system, find new solutions for pathologies, and more. Nonetheless, they continue organizing other Startup Weekends and we are waiting for the next SW MedTech.  

So, we try to create these ad hoc communities using team building and community chat sessions (every first Monday of each month). The next step is to create more community leaders and increase our local family. But also, we are open to help neighbor cities to create their own.

If you want to become a Techstars Startup Program organiser, go to for more information.

Community Leader Spotlight: Rayanny Nunes

Brazil CLEu sou co-fundadora da startup Klipbox e All Bugdet, uma apaixonada por empreendedorismo e por organizar eventos nessa área, fomentando comunidades e empoderando pessoas no meu país.

Meu primeiro Startup Weekend como participante foi em 2013 em Recife, uma experiência transformadora e que marcou para sempre minha jornada empreendedora. Me apaixonei completamente pelo evento, pelo propósito e pela comunidade que estávamos construindo. Então, em 2014 organizei duas edições em Natal e participei do primeiro Statup Weekend Women do Brasil em João Pessoa. Ainda nesse ano, fui convidada para mentorar o Startup Weekend Campina Grande.

Definitivamente o Startup Weekend fazia (faz) parte da minha vida, em 2015  fui convidada para mentorar em outros eventos e  participei de mais 5 edições como mentora e voluntária, organizei mais uma edição em Natal e entrei pro time de facilitadores do Brasil.  

No Summit, pude conhecer outras líderes de comunidade do país, nos unimos para organizar um Startup Weekend Women simultâneo, foram cinco eventos realizados em cidades de quatro regiões e que impactou mais de 600 pessoas, você poderá encontrar alguns dados aqui.

O Startup Weekend Women é uma paixão ainda maior, a causa me atrai e meu desejo é que cada vez mais tenhamos mais mulheres  no movimento empreendedor. Assumi a liderança desse movimento e me orgulho muito do trabalho incrível que nossas líderes vem realizando em suas comunidades. Após esse movimento, aumentamos a participação de mulheres em mais de 20% nos eventos do Startup Weekend.  

SW Women /brazil

Depois de realizar o maior Startup Weekend Women do mundo, nós resolvemos aumentar o desafio para 2016 e impactar ainda mais participantes. Estamos realizando nove edições em diferentes cidades do país (Recife, Florianópolis, Belém, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, São Paulo, Natal e Manaus), tive o prazer de facilitar dois desses eventos (Recife e Florianópolis) e contribuir com a construção dos demais.

Hoje estou participando de um programa de aceleração focado em fundadoras mulheres no Chile (The S Factory), os aprendizados, habilidades, desafios e as conexões que o Startup Weekend me proporcionaram, contribuíram muito para essa conquista.

Os planos para 2017 incluem o desafio de impactar mais pessoas e levar o SW Women para outras cidades do país, sonhamos com 15 cidades, assim seguimos ampliando as conexões e participação das mulheres na tecnologia e no empreendedorismo. O desafio é grande, mas estamos preparadas!


Community leader Spotlight: Mike Michalec, Bangkok (Thailand)

1.When did you get involved with Startup Weekend?

My very first exposure to the Startup Weekend community was way back in 2012 in Bangkok when I was working for a startup. Two of our team members were asked to mentor at Startup Weekend so I tagged along to see what all the hype was about and I’ve been hooked ever since contributing most recently the past few years as an organizer, facilitator, mentor, and judge.  

  1. What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

I’m a consultant in the international development sector so I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute to a lot of impactful social and economic development projects throughout the world that influence things like climate finance, education budgeting, literacy, disaster preparation, innovation, etc. Most of my work is for organizations like UNESCO, UNICEF, or USAID contractors but I also occasionally work for corporate clients. I don’t really have a lot of free time but when there is I like to get away from congested places and hike for as long as my legs will let me! There’s some great treks within our region like Chiang Dao in northern Thailand, Rinjani in Lombok, and pretty much anything in Nepal is awesome. I’m also a big fan of black and white photography and have a website with my work over the years,

  1. What are your bold plans for the future of your community?

That’s the million dollar question! I think about this everyday and to be honest the plans are constantly being refined as the regional edtech ecosystem and community evolves. As we engage the community we’re always finding new ways to bring value to stakeholders and catalyze growth in the edtech sector either through events, capacity building, research, product, programs, data, etc. Startup Weekend definitely plays a big role in this as we’re keen to keep introducing new groups of people throughout the region to entrepreneurship with the intent to solve problems and improve education outcomes. There are so many unique opportunities to have positive impact by empowering others, creating employment, and transforming education, it’s an exciting time in Asia and we’re quite happy to be here helping to make some of these changes happen.  

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn or follow his endeavours on Facebook.


Community Leader Spotlight: Andrei Cosmin

From Timisoara, Romania, Andrei shares with us his experience as Community Leader in Europe.
Andrei Cosmin

What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

I’m a geek 🙂 I work full time as a Software Test Engineer at a big automotive company. Besides the techie side there’s of course the community part where there’s enthusiasm from the community to help organise tech & startup events.

Oh, and we’re also working on opening a co-working space.

When did you get involved with Startup Weekend?

I first heard about Startup Weekend in 2013. The 1st edition of Startup Weekend Timisoara was about to take place, so I bought a ticket the rest was history. It was an amazing experience: I got to learn a lot from the event, made friends and from that point on I was hooked.

I jumped to help the local organizing team prepare the 2nd edition of SWTimisoara where I got a chance to learn what happens behind the curtains. It got me even more enthusiastic and I decided to lead the organising team for a great 3rd edition of SWTimisoara.

This just got me even more excited about the entire SW movement. I wanted to be a facilitator to get to see how things are happening in other entrepreneurial communities across Europe. In 2015 I became a Global Facilitator and since then I have facilitated a bunch of great events across Europe.

If I had to summarize it all: amazing, energetic, roller coaster of awesomeness.

What is the funniest thing that you have witnessed and/or experienced with your team?

Organizing Startup Weekends is as much of a roller coaster ride as participating in an event.

There are so many funny / crazy & amazing things happening at Startup Weekends – helium balloons, Batman and Superman cupcakes as mentors, cards against humanity SW, Nerf guns, VR corners to name a few!

One thing I want to mention here and for sure it’s the most important thing (coming back to being serious): there’s always an amazing team behind each Startup Weekend event. In Timisoara there’s a great team which has evolved from event to event and they’re THE BEST!

What are your bold plans for the future of your community?  

Our community in Timisoara has potential to grow a lot when it comes to the entrepreneurial spirit. There’s a lot to learn and there’s a lot of potential.

We’re striving to direct that drive of the community in a direction while also offering the framework that the ecosystem needs to flourish and grow.

Organizing events and having the community to meet up is one way we plan on growing. Together we’re stronger & better.

Community Spotlight: Maaike van der Post, Netherlands

Every month, we do a Community Leader Highlight in Europe. For October, we had the chance to ask Maaike, from the Netherlands, about her Startup Weekend involvement. This is what she said.



I work part-time as a graphic designer at Kr8werk. Besides that I am the founder of the startups Baguru and Surprise Dinner and I organize events that are all startup (community) related.

My first Startup Weekend as a participant was in 2013 in Groningen. Wout Laban and Matthijs Menses convinced me to join that edition. I was still a student and one of my biggest fears was pitching. The next year Nick Stevens convinced me to grab the microphone, and I did! My project got enough votes and at the end of the weekend we won the second price. After this edition, I was hooked. In 2014 I participated in three Startup Weekends in Groningen and Amsterdam. Baguru and Surprise Dinner are still on their way to become real companies, I just had to find the right people to get them off the ground. And I found them!

After participating in five Startup Weekends it was time for me to join the organizing team. Last year I was the lead organizer of Startup Weekend Groningen together with David Hamoen. It was a great experience and I was able to work on my own skills and at the same time inspire and connect others. I really like the way startup weekend can make a change in the participants’ mindset.

That is also why a mini-startup weekend with kids is so valuable. It is important to show them that you don’t need to come from a wealthy family or join the highest education to become a successful entrepreneur. In the end, everyone can create their own future.

There are also smaller cities where there is no startup community yet. With Startup Weekend we can create a spark and make a real difference. Our community in the North of the Netherlands will make its next big step by introducing Startup Weekend Friesland. The challenge is to spread the Startup Weekend mentality and grow a community that spans across the several small cities in the province.

We expect that this will be a very different challenge compared to the one in Groningen, but it will be awesome!

Connect with Maaike on LinkedIn and follow Startup Weekend Groningen on Facebook.

Community Spotlight: Stavros Messinis & Maria Calafatis, Greece

Every month, we do a Community Leader Highlight in Europe. For September, we had the chance to ask Stavros and Maria, from Greece, about their Startup Weekend involvement. This is what they said.

Stavros Messinis & Maria Calafatis


When did you get involved with Startup Weekend?

We became involved with Startup Weekend in 2008 when Andrew Hyde came to Athens to do the first Startup Weekend Athens. Our idea was Blognudge – it went nowhere. At the second Startup Weekend Athens in 2009, we cofounded coLab – Athens’ first co-working space; that evolved into The Cube, our current business. Since then, we have had the privilege to host a Startup Weekend – so you could say we’ve come full circle.

What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

Startup Weekend has changed of our lives for the better and we want it to do the same for everyone, so we’re always wearing our facilitator cape. When we’re not facilitating an actual event, we’re running The Cube or running after our children. Sometimes, we do some consulting too. In our spare time, we run a school for refugee children who have been uprooted by the Syrian conflict. It’s called SOLE Greece – a social enterprise whose aim is to offer a more disruptive learning method than is offered by our traditional school system.

What are your bold plans for the future of your community?

Our plans for the community are to facilitate growth and more entrepreneurial activation. We want to help a team organize a weekend in each city around Greece and perhaps a little further afield too.

Community Leader Spotlight: Hiro Miyakawa

ef8433bfc04795583e98be0a3ab8fe2dHiro Miyakawa is half Japanese/half Brazilian. He is 24-years-old and believes curiosity and learning is the essence of humanity and love.

Miyakawa is a Startup Weekend Education Organizer and the Founder of Kotobá, a connector of  students to engaging Japanese language lessons.

Find him on Twitter: @hrxm
Using his favorite hashtag: #go
Or on the web:


***Read about Miyakawa’s Startup Weekend Edu Youth Recife event. For the first time, outside the US, young people set up educational startups in 54 hours.


What do you like to do for fun?
Watch tv shows, read books, talk, and travel. Try and do exciting things: Cook, surf, play, standup comedy.

If you could have any teacher (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would it be and why?

Nelson Mandela. He engaged people to make a better country. The humbleness he had when he left the prison and thanked the guard, the determination he had to be against the values of that time…. I have many things to learn from him.

What’s your favorite edtech company and/or innovative school, and why?

Udemy. It’s simple, practical, and skill-focused learning.

How did you discover Education Entrepreneurs (EE)?

After my first Startup Weekend, I was hooked. I talked to Gerson about it and we started Organizing one in Recife.

What’s been your involvement in EE to date?

Organized SWEdu Recife and SWEdu Youth Recife, meetups and talks.

What’s the most challenging thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)?Finding Sponsors.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)?
Seeing that I’m part of change and making the world better place! People leave the event empowered and talking about next steps. That’s fantastic!

What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to those trying to build an education innovation community?

Engage with schools, teachers, professors, policy makers. They often don’t feel part of the entrepreneur world as devs and designers do. We have to make educators comfortable and communicate that they are the key people that will making things happen.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to people trying to create edtech products?

User experience is important. Engaging students to learn smoothly is the challenge in this mobile and internet world. It’s getting accessible, easy-learning, almost free, so the business model is challenging too.

You just launched the first ever SWEDU Youth Edition outside of the United States – congrats! Why did you decide to do it?

Youths are often excluded from entrepreneurship. “Too soon, too young” is the same excuse. We wanted to include them, hear them and challenge them to build educational solutions. There’s no convention that holds them back, and we wanted to see where all that creativity would take us.

What’s different about a SWEDU Youth Edition than a regular SWEDU?

In SWEDU Youth has step-by-step workshops. The kids don’t know pitches, costumer validation, etc. So we have to teach them in a practical way. Also, dedicated mentors make a huge difference. They act as godparents, guiding the kids through the whole weekend.

For those Organizers who may want to do a SWEDU Youth Edition in their community, what are the three biggest pieces of advice you’d give them?

  • The role of mentors is SUPER important. They stay together with the kids the whole time, they’ll be dedicated coaches.
  • Finding mentors that not only understand business and education but also is great with kids.
  • Having a consolidated school as partner is great to have trust from parents (and help approach the attendees’ parents)

What’s the legacy you want to leave in education?

Accessible and high-quality learning for everyone. We have technology to make it possible! I don’t wanna see a single person not taking a chance of his life because he didn’t have the opportunity to learn something.

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, education would ____
be fun and engaging for everyone.

What are the books, events, videos, etc. that you think anyone interested in innovating in education and/or building community should check out?

Lean Startup
Business Model Canvas
Startup Communities
The Little Prince

Meetups (organize one!)

TED Talk Sir Ken Robinson “School kills creativity”
TED Talk Jeff Skoll “My journey into movies that matters”
TED Talk Jane McGonigal “Gaming can make a better world”

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m really happy to be part of the EE community and help things happen here in Brazil. Being an Organizer at Startup Weekend Education is really enriching, it’s an honor to help people feel empowered by entrepreneurship. It’s a huge learning each time. We have lots of challenges to overcome in education but one thing is sure, we’re not alone. Peace 🙂

Community Leader Spotlight: Eduardo Rocha

XW3JXCvl_400x400Eduardo Rocha is a 24-year-old Brazilian. He organizes global Startup Weekend events and believes that entrepreneurship and education are the key to changing the world.

Rocha is a VC Analyst at Triaxis Capital. He prospects startups for investment. He also monitors and accelerates the company to make sure it grows profitable.

Find him on Twitter: @dudurocha
Using his favorite hashtagL #tbt
Or on the web:

***Read about Rocha’s Startup Weekend Edu Youth Recife event. For the first time, outside the US, young people set up educational startups in 54 hours.


What do you like to do for fun?
Read, talk to different people, and travel with my girlfriend.

If you could have any teacher (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would it be and why?
Bill Gates. Because he achieved so much success as an entrepreneur, making sure billions of people have access to technology. He is also a philanthropist, helping millions of people get out of poverty and enabling the cure of many deadly diseases.

What’s your favorite edtech company and/or innovative school, and why?
Joystreet. They make education more fun providing educational games to the public schools of Brazil.

How did you discover Education Entrepreneurs (EE)?
When Gerson, Luiz and Hiro brought it to Recife. I was glad to help.

What’s been your involvement in EE to date?
I’ve been a Facilitator and a volunteer.

What’s the most challenging thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)?
Guiding all the participants to work efficiently together. Educators sometimes don’t have the urgency and mindset of an entrepreneur.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being an Organizer (and/or Facilitator)? Empowering teachers and educators. Encouraging them that they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur and that they are the only one who can truly change education.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to those trying to build an education innovation community?
As Community Leaders our goal is to make sure everybody gets to know each other. So I think coordinating meetups, pitch nights, and  happy hours is a great addition. Plus, making sure you have a communication tool that is easy for everybody to get in touch, a facebook group or slack group.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give to people trying to create edtech products?
Don’t forget the educators. IT people tend to think that the only thing that matter is the platform they are building, but education is about methods, the computer or tablet is just a new tool to deliver the same message.

What’s different about a SWEDU Youth Edition than a regular SWEDU?
Kids have so much energy! There are two great differences. First one: kids don’t come as a developer, designer or non-tech, they decide themselves what they want to be during the event. Also, the mentors have an even more important role in this event, they have to be with the young entrepreneurs all the time, make sure they are on schedule and focused, and have to be cautions to not make things for them, only guide them.

For those Organizers who may want to do a SWEDU Youth Edition in their community, what are the three biggest pieces of advice you’d give them?

  • Get a school or organization to help you. It’s a great way to get the confidence of the parents and to raise some funds.
  • Choose your mentors wisely – they must really know the mission of Startup Weekend, and be willing to spend the weekend with other peoples kids.
  • Let the kids have fun! Keep the energy up.

What’s the legacy you want to leave in education?
I want to make sure everybody in Brazil is able to have a great education.

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, education would ____
Free, Engaging and Universal.

What are the books, events, videos, etc. that you think anyone interested in innovating in education and/or building community should check out?
Event: SW Edu.
Video: Salma Khan’s Ted Talks 
Book: Abundance by Peter Diamand is essential to understanding the impact of new technologies in different fields, including education.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Being an Organizer and Facilitator of Startup Weekend has changed my life and gave me the opportunity to change the lives of others. If you have the chance, get involved as early as you can and make a difference in your community!