New Social Media Tool Offers Teens a Chance to Fuel Their Social Passion
Atlanta, GA, April 18, 2009 — Several teenagers from the Metro Atlanta YMCA today became the first youth to be awarded micro grants through an innovative youth initiative called GivingPoint. One teen from Canton, GA, Lauren Steves, 15, a freshman at Cherokee High School, was the first teenager to reach 500 points on the GivingPoint system for her volunteer and philanthropic efforts.
Through GivingPoint, teens earn points for learning about community needs, sharing their stories and contributing their time, talent and treasure. For every 500 points earned, teens can apply for $250 micro grants to fund the causes they care most about.
Steves is a three-year volunteer for the G. Cecil Pruett Community Center Family YMCA in Canton, helping hundreds of children and families in under-resourced communities through the YMCA Mission: Atlanta program. YMCA Mission: Atlanta helps teens realize their leadership gifts through serving others. More than 200 teenagers ages 13 -18 participate in a week-long volunteer, community project.
In 2008, teens involved in Mission: Atlanta served 300 lunches to Atlanta’s homeless and 1,500 lunches to low-income children and families. They also landscaped a community park, transitional housing shelter and three senior citizen homes. These teen leaders acquired 2,400 hours of community service in five days.
“It is a great honor to receive this award because I do work hard to serve those in need,” Steves says. “More importantly, I hope I inspire other teenagers to get on GivingPoint and fuel their passions. I want my work with the YMCA and GivingPoint to help others become more involved in their communities. GivingPoint is allowing me to aid the work of my local YMCA, and that simply ‘rocks my socks.’”
“Lauren is a great example of teen leaders all over Atlanta who take advantage of opportunities to give back,” says Wesley Bender, Metro Atlanta YMCA director of teen initiatives. “Her desire to impact her community leads her to organizations like the YMCA and creative endeavors like GivingPoint. Lauren represents a new age of teen leaders who are not simply signing up for programs: they are leading the charge and inspiring others to jump on board. Our future is incredibly bright with teenagers like Lauren at the helm.”
“GivingPoint helps young people to tap into their passion to create a more connected, compassionate and socially responsible society,” said Derek V. Smith, head of the Myfifident Foundation, a private foundation that supports GivingPoint. “We make it easier and more fun for teens to find and fuel the social beliefs that are so important to young people today. We congratulate Lauren Steves, Alyse Steves, Forest Ogunyankin, and Nate Wilson for their impressive efforts to become effective social entrepreneurs and lifelong givers.”
GivingPoint is a youth initiative designed to inspire a new generation of social philanthropists who want to connect and serve others in a technology-driven world. Their mission is to unleash the passion and energy of teenagers to make positive social change and inspire an unprecedented level of civic engagement. GivingPoint is supported by the Myfifident Foundation, a private family foundation. For more information, please visit www.mygivingpoint.org.