There are very few people in life that take the phrase, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” to the same dimension that Benjamin Swanson does. In the summer of 1999, Ben moved from the small town of Williston, Florida to the great city of Jacksonville where his life began to take aim. Ben has lived at the beach for 13 years now and is a blessing to everyone who knows him. For over 10 years, he has been a member of Beaches Vineyard Church and has volunteered with Young Life at Fletcher High. Simultaneously, for 8 years he has also been a part of the ARC Project teaching inner-city youth to surf. Even with a full plate, he manages to find time to work at the University of North Florida with college students.
Ben’s passions sprouted opportunities to travel for engineering along with doing missions and philanthropic work. He surfed the waters of Costa Rica, sailed the sea of the Bahamas, taught at orphanages in India, did hydrogen research in Australia and accomplished fuel cell studies in British Columbia. In addition, his graduate work at the University of Florida provided a platform to further explore clean and renewable energy by working with JEA and Beaches Energy.
From humble beginnings as a student, to leveling up performing clean and renewable energy research as an engineer, and now developing a college program for Young Life, Ben has come full circle at the UNF. With Young Life, Ben engages students in explorations of faith, spirituality, mentoring, leadership, relationships, laughter and frequent intake of ice cream. He is currently trying to launch Young Life College for Jacksonville where he hopes to create a safe place for college students to cultivate a continual life of community, significance and adventure.
Ben’s story is enlivening because although fruitful, it did not come without trial. “After the loss of my mother, it helped me realize that we don’t have much time on Earth, and we should just go for what we truly want,” he said. Benjamin Swanson sees beautiful things in humble places where other people cannot see anything. His story inspires many and will continue to impact the lives of everyone he meets. He lives his life to serve others, and through him, people will be forever changed.
For more information on Young Life College of Jacksonville, check out their social media! https://www.facebook.com/YLCJAX
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You can also continue to follow Ben’s life journey on his social media: