LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - September 26, 2017) - What's your purpose in life? It's one of the biggest questions there is, and it can be especially daunting for teenagers gearing up for college and life beyond. But this year, they'll be able to hone their sense of purpose with an innovative and inspiring new online tool: The Purpose Challenge, created by the social impact firm ProSocial and UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

Research has shown that a strong sense of purpose -- a commitment to something that is both personally rewarding and beneficial to others -- is linked to improved health, well-being, and success. A stronger sense of purpose can make a significant difference in a young person's life path, setting them on a course for a more successful, meaningful life.

"What is good for you and also good for others is what generates the most meaning in life," explains Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D., education director of the Greater Good Science Center. But despite the evident benefits of purpose for success in academics, work, and relationships, only about 1 in 5 high school-aged youth and 1 in 3 college-aged youth report leading lives of purpose, notes Kendall Cotton Bronk, associate professor of psychology at Claremont Graduate University, whose research informed the Purpose Challenge.

But the Purpose Challenge aims the change this. It's a free resource featuring activities designed to help students explore their purpose in life and deepen their self-awareness as they prepare their college applications -- it gives new meaning and strength to the "Statement of Purpose" essay that many colleges ask for.

What's more, students who use the toolkit to write a purpose-based college essay, and submit their essay to the Purpose Challenge, will be eligible for prizes from $5,000 to $25,000 (for a total of $50k)! The submission window for these purpose essays is now open and will close at midnight on February 1, 2018.

In addition, the Purpose Challenge is partnering with college access and success organizations like Reach Higher, former First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative to inspire every student in the country to pursue and attain a post-secondary degree. "We are happy to partner with the Purpose Challenge so that more young people around the country are thinking about how a post-secondary education will help them achieve their dreams and connect them with their purpose," said Eric Waldo, the Executive Director for Reach Higher.

The Purpose Challenge incorporates video content, reading materials, and brief written exercises -- such as imagining your ideal life at age 40 -- to help students reflect on and refine their sense of purpose. It draws on decades of research into the roots and benefits of purpose. It also guides students on how to write a high-quality college essay that thoughtfully explores one's purpose. The whole process is carefully designed to take several hours over the course of four days.

In addition to materials for students, it also includes resources for the adults -- parents, teachers, college counselors -- who are helping these teens explore and write about their sense of purpose.

"For students, parents, and educators, we want this philanthropic campaign to spread the word, ring the alarm, and build a movement about the importance of purpose, while sharing useful resources," says Meredith Blake, founder and CEO of ProSocial, an L.A.-based firm focused on entertainment media as a key driver in culture shift and public engagement.

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for research and discoveries on the "big questions" facing humankind. Its mission is to promote well-being and character development, generate informed dialogue, and above all, spur curiosity and accelerate discovery. In its partnership with the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), which is focused on applying scientific research to foster social and emotional well-being, the Templeton Foundation is helping to popularize decades of findings on purpose via the Purpose Challenge.

To learn more about the Purpose Challenge and register for news and updates on its launch, please visit: www.purposechallenge.org.

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Contact Information:

Media Contact:
Elana Weiss & Ashley Tom
The Rose Group
(310) 418-2188