By Zach Deitz

Did the next generation of leaders just ride the rails through Chicago last week?

This past Tuesday, Aug. 2, The Millennial Trains Project made the second stop on its journey here in the Windy City, taking time to stop at the Energy Coalition in Chicago’s South Loop.

The Millennial Trains Project is a nonprofit organization that leads a transcontinental train journey. Powered by Comcast NBCUniversal, the 50 changemakers chosen all share the same aspirations of using their unique ideas for urban change and to better the communities they are a part of. This includes everything from an urban farming company to a company that specializes in the diffusion of IT skills amongst ethnicities in inner cities.

By setting their minds on merging technology and media in ways that positively impact their communities, cities, and beyond, the MTP gives these young achievers a chance to travel the country and explore various ways to expand and develop their social impact-oriented projects. Plus, they have the opportunity to develop their ideas with a diverse range of supporters and mentors, spreading their message and learning how to improve their craft.

On this given Tuesday in Chicago, the group of young creatives stopped at Energy Coalition, a coworking space with an incubator-like feeling. The space has tremendous natural lighting, plenty of seating and gave everyone an up close and personal seat for the entire arrangement.

The event featured three speakers, all of whom were incredibly well versed in enacting change. All had insightful things to say about the current issues in America and what can be done to fix them:

1. Fabian Elliot, a Chicago native who runs his own nonprofit called Black Tech Mecca INC. This is a community initiative that helps teach young black people in big cities how to use modern technology and what doors it could possibly open for them. Elliot is just one example of the many MTP participants who are actively improving their communities through tech-based solutions.

2. Also speaking was Jimmy Lee, of Good City Chicago. Good City is an incubator for nonprofits, whose goal is to create and find support for neighborhood-enriching programs. He spoke about the magnitude of what the MTP is doing for these young business owners, and says that “What these young people are doing is nothing short of amazing. The Millennial Trains Project represents the future of enrichment for America.”

3. The last — and most prominent — speaker was Kurt Summers Jr., the treasurer for the city of Chicago. Summers spoke at length about how money needs to continually be put into initiatives such as this one, and that without the help of supporters like Comcast NBCUniversal, none of this would be possible. He also held a question and answer session, where he discussed the city’s budget and ideas he has for bettering the community moving forward.

As the group continues to travel throughout the United States, and spreading all of their collective messages further, it is helping to better every community that they touch. In a day and age where everyone seems to be chasing a dollar, it is wholly refreshing to see a group of people who are so selfless and are trying to facilitate change in the areas where they are from, inspiring change and innovation through pursuing technology-based solutions.

For more information on the Millennial Trains Project, including participant and project profiles, visit their website.