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JCI: Where You Make the Difference

Executive Director for Growth and Development Arrey Obenson reflects on the power of the individual within JCI.

With nearly 200,000 young people working daily to accomplish the JCI Mission, one can lose sight of the role of each member. JCI spans 115 countries and 5,000 local communities, but the real work is done by the individual members.

An organization’s leaders are visible – the Board of Directors, the World Headquarters staff, the National Officers or even the Local Officers. But JCI’s foundation is built on individuals – the members. The JCI Mission is fulfilled when the members live the Values in the JCI Creed, creating positive change in the world. One does not need to be in a position of leadership to make a difference.

A New Era
In 2006 Time Magazine named “You” as the Person of the Year. They argued then that though humans cause many ills in the world, never before had people united through tools like the Internet, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube to overcome the world’s challenges. In naming “You” as Person of the Year, Time Magazine recognized the dawn of a new era.

In this new era, the individual has tremendous ability to change the course of history. The world is changing fast and so too is JCI. Some decades ago, members were very remote from the international organization. But in the changing world, individual members in all corners of the world can impact the organization worldwide.

By biking to raise money for the JCI Nothing but Net Campaign in the UK, a member can raise awareness of JCI worldwide. A short video by the JCI President on World Malaria Day raises thousands of dollars for an important cause. In fact members have the ability to determine the destiny of this organization through their individual actions.

In the past, it seemed growing the organization was the task of the leadership of the organization. But the truth is that since the beginning, JCI members have also always played a role in bringing their peers to join the organization. They reached out to colleagues, neighbors and acquaintances to join. It was the leadership that ensured these potential members stayed on as members.

Today it is different. With the power of technology, each member can reach out to young people anywhere in the world and encourage them to become members. If every member believed in the Mission of the organization and lived its values and shared its vision, each member could be that light that attracts other young people around the world.

The world still bleeds of conflicts, disease, troubled corruption, racism, religious fundamentalism, economic woes, global warming and the threat of nuclear proliferation. The existence of these problems ironically provides an opportunity for JCI. As future leaders of the world we must address these issues at the local and international level. Overcoming the challenges in the world will not be easy. The climb to the mountain top is steep, but with faith in the empowerment of young people we can rid the world of its woes. And it will take every one of us.


Our challenges as an organization to create an impact in the world may seem daunting. But in each member is the answer to how we can make JCI the largest network of global active citizens. Each member is the answer to how we can create positive change in our communities and the world at large. If each member made the difference today, we could make a difference in the world tomorrow.

Helen Keller once wrote: “I am one, but I am still one, I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and just because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” In the rush of everyday’s activity in our local organizations, we fail to see how much we really can change the course of the history of the organization. Take time to reflect today on how much responsibility you have to make JCI the greatest organization in the world.


  1. June 2, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Great organization! You Matter! Smiles, Nancy

  2. May 23, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Hi there i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere,
    when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also create comment due to this sensible post.

  3. May 27, 2013 at 2:00 am

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  1. February 21, 2012 at 8:14 am
  2. February 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm
  3. April 25, 2012 at 9:22 pm
  4. May 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm

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