September 29, 2009

YouthNoise: Helping young people network a cause

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YouthNoise: Helping youths collaborate on causes from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaI‘ve long admired the folks behind YouthNoise, the global social network for social good developed for and by young people around the world. Based in San Francisco, YouthNoise offers a community dedicated to creating lasting positive change around the world, with the resources to build campaigns, amplify projects and kick off grassroots movements. The site offers a wide variety of tools, Web and mobile technologies and peer support that let members turn ideas into action in areas ranging from health to human rights, from education and the environment to poverty.

Think of it as a Change.org for young people, but with a somewhat deeper set of collaboration tools.

Above is an 8-minute interview with Ginger Thomson, who recently stepped down as CEO to take on an advisory role to cement a partnership between LinkTV and YouthNoise, among other things. Ginger has long been a leading figure in empowering Generation Y with the Web 2.0 and social media tools to advance social causes.

With traditional volunteer organizations constrained these days, Thomson says, the tendency of young people to take a do-it-yourself approach to volunteerism may prove especially fruitful, with youths diving in and raising money for the causes they believe in. “This is the DIY Generation,” she says, and young people today have become more entrepreneuria. While traditional volunteerism among Gen Y may have declined, many young people are creating projects around causes that they feel passionate about — with the help of YouthNoise and other sites.

“Alongside the DIY element they also want to bring their friends in, so that everybody’s doing things together,” Ginger says. The YouthNoise site contains social networking capabilities, fundraising tools and access to resources. See the site’s Toolkit Hall of Fame and its Raise It and Donate It Toolkit.

How are people using YouthNoise? Ginger pointed to a two teenagers who formed an offshoot of Malaria No More called Friday Night Live — a couple of teenagers who started a dance program that has gone nationwide in an effort to raise money for mosquito nets in Africa. She also cited Just like Me, a project in LA that helped break down racial barriers and brought middle school kids together in a troubled neighborhood. The LA school board asked the organizer to bring the program to other schools in the district, and with the help of YouthNoise in recruiting volunteers, it’s likely to go national, Ginger said.

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Watch video in original H.264 on OurmediaJD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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