Namaste Celebrated as Ashoka Changemaker School

Namaste Charter School has been selected into Ashoka’s prestigious Changemaker Schools Network, joining 33 innovative and influential schools across the country.

Namaste is led by a team of Changemakers who see the world not as it is, but as it could be, and who work to make that world a reality. They demonstrate a commitment to ensuring students not only excel academically, but are also equipped with the skills to address the needs of their community through empathy, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka, explains, “Once a young person has had a dream, built a team, and changed his or her world, he or she has the power to express love and respect in action. He or she will be a changemaker for life—a real contributor in a world where value no longer comes from efficiency in repetition, as it has for millennia.”

Rickie Yudin and Lola Pittenger, Change Leaders at Namaste, explain, “Our community is driven by the spirit of a Peaceful School Culture and everything we do centers around that. Each team member believes in the importance of each child developing physically, nutritionally, and mentally healthy habits and lifestyle choices. We know that without this focus, students will not reach their full academic potential.”

Ashoka’s Changemaker Schools Network provides Namaste Charter School with opportunities to access like-minded schools across the country; influence the greater education discourse through media and presenting at conferences; collaborate on projects that impact education; and access to partners in the Ashoka network like universities, social entrepreneurs, and companies. Learn more about Ashoka and the Changemaker Schools Network and download a free Empathy Toolkit at


About Ashoka

Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, strives to create an “Everyone a Changemaker” world in which more and more people respond proactively to social problems, and where each person has the confidence, skills, and support to drive effective change. To reach a changemaker world, today’s learning environments must be aligned to the evolving needs of tomorrow.

About Namaste Charter School

Since 2004, Namaste Charter School has pioneered a groundbreaking, award-winning approach to urban public education that combines health and wellness with academic rigor in a peaceful environment. Namaste serves 480 Kindergarten – 8th grade students, 85% of whom are low-income, in a traditionally underserved southwest side Chicago neighborhood.