Ashoka’s Youth Venture, in association with Best Buy Co., Inc., presented 10 social entrepreneurs prizes in the second @15 Community Impact Challenge. Five teams of young social entrepreneurs will receive $5,000, and five teams will be selected to receive $1,500 from the Best Buy Children’s Foundation to expand their local “ventures”, which include clubs, organizations or businesses created and launched by young people to make a difference in their communities.
Youth Venture is Ashoka's global community of young social entrepreneurs. For the competition, 15 finalists were selected based on plans submitted by active youth-led teams across the country. More than 40,000 votes were cast on at 15.com through an online campaign to award the winning teams.
“The winning teams will expand their Ventures to have greater impact and potential for sustainability, reflecting issues that range from community needs to global concerns,” said Gretchen Zucker, executive director of Youth Venture. “These young changemakers, recognized by Best Buy, are demonstrating that young people have the power to transform their communities.”
“We congratulate the winners of this year’s @15 Community Impact Challenge,” said Paula Prahl, Senior Vice President, Communications, Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility for Best Buy. “At Best Buy, we’re proud to support teens who are making their great ideas a reality and improving their communities through organizations like Youth Venture.”
The teams were provided an Insignia 5 Megapixel HD digital camcorder and asked to create a 60 second video illustrating how their social venture impacts the community. The videos were viewed over 8,000 times. Teams conducted grassroots and online marketing campaigns in their schools and local communities, building a lasting network of support.
Here are the @15 Community Impact Challenge Grand Prize winners:
* Woofin & Hoofin / Adin, 18 – Wheaton, IL. Venture objective: Further develop 5K fundraiser which raised over $5000 for a local animal shelter last year and educate future leaders through seminars and guides.
* Eye for the Future / Malvi, 16 – Watchung, NJ. Venture objective: Impact at least 20,000 underprivileged children throughout the world by funding education and building schools, libraries, and computer labs.
* Lincoln Climate Action Club / Alexander, 17 – Woolwich, ME. Venture objective: Monitor power consumption and install solar panels throughout the Newcastle community as part of global warming awareness program which has already sold town-wide reusable bags, obtained a no-idling vehicle policy in the high school parking lot, and collected batteries and ink cartridges for recycling.
* 121Reach / Fan, 17 - Johns Creek, GA. Venture objective: Expand the successful after school tutoring program at Chattahoochee High School and Taylor Road Middle School that has served over 200 youth to other local schools through starter kits and training.
* T.G.I.F. – Turn Grease Into Fuel / Alexander, 17 – Westerly, RI. Venture objective: Expand system of collecting and refining used cooking oil into biodiesel, a program which currently generates 30,000 gallons of biodiesel per year, to more locations and set up a seminar to help youth establish their own community service teams.
The @15 Community Impact Challenge Second Prize winners are:
* Listen Up! – A New Initiative of Lil’s MDGs / Tiffany, 14 – Hooksett, NH. Educate youth age 5 -10 to understand the Millennium Development Goals through movies, animations, songs, and games made available online and as CDs/DVDs.
* Everybody Dance Now! / Jacqueline, 18 – Santa Barbara, CA. Venture objective: Expand the number of students in hip-hop dance program which has already impacted 800 youth by providing creative outlets and encouraging positive alternatives to violence and substance abuse.
* Hives for Lives / Carly, 15 – Devon, PA. Venture objective: Foster business relationships with distributors and invest in new bee hives in order to increase build on the over $160,000 the team has donated to basic cancer research.
* Don’s Net Café (“Doin’ Some Good in the World!”) / Ana, 16 – Santa Barbara, CA. Venture objective: Expand outreach and hold events to educate community about team’s environment-focused community service events and tax assistance program, which completes over 600 tax returns each year.
* Drinking Water for India / Rujul, 15 – Plainsboro, NJ. Venture objective: Build additional tube-wells and begin implementing rainwater harvesting projects in remote Indian villages as part of expansion of program which has already erected 17 wells and provided clean drinking water for 30,000 people.