By: Bianca Buliga, Digital Marketing Manager
“How can I help others reach their full potential?”
At five years old, our latest SEED SPOT team member won his golden ticket to a better life – a green card to the United States. Born in post-apartheid South Africa, but ethnically Bosnian, Vid Micevic grew up in the countryside of Long Valley, New Jersey. But this is just the beginning of a story filled with international travels, social impact, and uncompromising entrepreneurship.
“I remember my first days in the U.S. thinking I was in heaven. There were no barricades and people were just walking their dogs around at night… what world was I living in?”
Winning that golden ticket created a need for Vid to help those with less opportunity reach their full potential. While studying Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University, Vid enrolled in an experiential engineering course where he developed a biomass heating system for a school using olive pellets for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Croatia.
Working on this project exposed him to a bureaucratic process within large organizations that left Vid feeling discouraged, unmotivated, and unsure of how he would make a difference. After nearly dropping out of school, Vid needed exposure to new ideas, people, and situations. To satiate this need, he set out on a backpacking trip through Europe for the summer.
“I remember my phone dying in Stockholm, and worrying I wouldn’t find my hostel. I passed by a street musician who offered me his change, and his kindness was startling. So, I sat down with him and shared travel stories for hours. That conversation changed my outlook in life – I realized it wasn’t about where I was going, but the people I met and the stories I heard along the way.”
Finding humanity in an unlikely spot redefined Vid’s purpose and gave him a new perspective on maximizing impact. Rather than leaving change to lethargic government agencies, he projected his energy towards social entrepreneurship through Changemaker Central, a student-led initiative to catalyze sustainable social change through volunteering, entrepreneurship, and storytelling.
“Fears means go and everything takes courage.”
At Changemaker Central, Vid met the co-founders of 33 Buckets, a venture that tackles the global clean water crisis through sustainable micro-franchise water businesses and provides clean water to impoverished communities. In December of 2014, Vid and his 33 Buckets team traveled to Rahima Hoque Girls’ High School in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where they tested water, installed a water filtration system, trained community stakeholders, and helped the school generate revenue through clean water sales.
“It was a whirlwind of emotions. As soon as I stepped off the plane in Bangladesh, I was coughing because of the pollution. It took us six hours to travel six miles because of the traffic. I had never experienced anything like that before, and it truly gave me a new appreciation for life.”
As of 2017, the water project is serving 900 students, their families, neighboring schools, and the surrounding community. The 33 Buckets team has also expanded their project sites to Monte Plata, Dominican Republic and Huillcapata, Peru with more sites coming in the summer.
“Be simple, be kind, be giving.”
Upon returning to Arizona, Vid finished up his senior year and time as Director of Changemaker Central. Looking for another impactful global opportunity, he applied to the Fulbright Scholar Program to teach in rural Thailand – an experience he won’t soon forget. Vid spent a year in Mae Chan teaching English to 623 occasionally angsty high school students and being stopped for selfies because of his 6’3” height.
“It was difficult engaging students, not only because of the language barrier, but because they traveled two hours each morning to get to school. At the end of the year, one of my trouble students gave me a handwoven bag to thank me for my help. It was so meaningful – you never know what kind of impact you’re making.”
“You only grow by doing, even if your stomach is churning.”
After wrangling, educating, and empowering hundreds of Thai students, Vid looked towards his future in impact. Knowing he wanted to work with social entrepreneurs, he researched organizations and individuals using business as a force for good. His problem-solving mindset and desire to support others in their entrepreneurial journeys made him the perfect fit to upgrade SEED SPOT’s Mentor Program.
Since joining the team, Vid has developed an exclusive beta version of the Mentor Program that active SEED SPOT alumni and mentors are validating. In his down time, you’ll catch Vid waking up at 6:00am to cook a damn good vegetarian breakfast, work out, and read self-help books. In the evenings, you’ll likely find him grabbing a beer with a new friend.
“I’ve reached a point where I’m focused on incorporating more gratitude into my life. I’m switching out my expectations with appreciation for what I have.”
We are so excited to welcome Vid to our full-time team, and see the engagement he cultivates through the Mentor Program. Thank you for being a constant support to our alumni, and for matching them with the best mentors to guide the growth of their impact-driven ventures!
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