Eli Wachs has never been one to wait for the world to come to him. When he was a freshman in high school, Wachs read the book “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think” by Peter Diamandis, which inspired him to begin his journey in social entrepreneurship. The book is centered around the philosophy that in today’s technological age, anyone can be an innovator and solve challenges that face our world.
This message spoke to Wachs and so he reached out to Diamandis, expressing his desire to help change the world. Diamandis wrote back, encouraging Wachs to tackle issues in his local community.
Wachs took this advice, and soon realized that working in teams would boost the efficiency in accomplishing his goals, and so he founded High School HeroesX. High School HeroesX is a non-profit organization that provides high school students with a platform to identify issues in the local community and research solutions to these challenges.
It was founded in May 2013 by Eli Wachs, and its first challenge was hosted that October, inviting students from a local high school to brainstorm ways to increase the low high school graduation rate in a nearby Philadelphia neighborhood.
The winning team is awarded a grant to implement their solution to the challenge. Since its humble beginnings, High School HeroesX has expanded to a total of eight schools in the Philadelphia area, has a chapter overseas in Beijing, China, and has now hosted seven challenges with plans to expand to every continent in the next year.
Eli Wachs is now a freshman in Stanford University, but his optimism and passion has not wavered at all from when he started. He staunchly believes in the ability of youth to able to effect change in the world, especially with the easy access to resources and knowledge in this age of digital technology.
To him, there is no reason why high school students can’t play a role in fixing societal issues. High School HeroesX is a testament to that conviction, with past teams successfully developing scale-able solutions to challenges ranging from teen mental health to environmental sustainability to food safety.
For his active participation in societal change, Eli Wachs has received the 2016 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award (with a $36000 grant), was named a National Geographic Your World in Focus finalist and was one of two high school students invited to attend the Forbes 30 under 30 Summit among many other recognitions. Eli Wachs has been featured in Huffington Post, Forbes, Startup Grind, NBC, CBS, WeThrive, and was named one of the “Best Philadelphians” by Philadelphia Magazine. He has spoken at TedX conferences as a keynote speaker, and is a regular columnist for UYD media.
Eli Wachs led the XPrize Teen Visioneering program in 2015. He has acted as the YSA (Youth Ambassador for the state of Pennsylvania), and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Next Gen Summit as the Head of Community and Innovations. Eli Wachs continues to be passionate about social entrepreneurship and hopes to use his studies to further his ability to design innovative solutions.