The sparkle in his eyes bears testimony. This young man will not be forestalled in his mission. We share his story of youth leadership to honor many.

Derrin Slack struggled with stuttering and its stigma while growing up. Unable to afford a college mission trip to Botswana with his peers, an anonymous benefactor intervened. Derrin returned from that trip lit up. When he spoke of his experience he did not stutter; he burned with the possibilities for disadvantaged youth. Provided the opportunity to serve others in life changing ways, he knew they would suffer their own hardships less.

Pro(ACT) Community Partnerships—a 501(c)3 Derrin established in 2012—worked with 53 adolescents in 2013. More than 1,200 were reached in 2014, but that is only one tier of benefit. Every Saturday, youth teams travel throughout Indianapolis working on community service projects with diverse groups. More than willing hands, these young people organize, manage, team build, and problem solve. Schools seeking to offer their own service projects for student body engagement place the task in the capable hands of these young benefactors. The line between giver and receiver blurs beautifully!

What lights you up? What lights your way? Stars shine not just in the sky, but the eyes of our young. Those who pause and peer into their light, invariably catch a twinkle in their own.

“When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.”

—Steve Maraboli