Switch to BLOGGER (believeinyouth.blogspot.com)

•February 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

BIY Readers,

Today we are making the switch from WordPress to Blogger. The reasons for this change are the ease of adsense integration with Blogger, coupled with the fact that WordPress does not allow advertising. We want to begin to monetize the blog in order to work toward our mission of becoming a non-profit run in a for-profit business model. All revenue from the adsense on our new Blogger blog will be used to fund BIY initiatives. No money will be taken out by any member of the BIY team. We hope you like the new layout, and please comment if you have any questions, comments, or problems.

believeinyouth.blogspot.com

Thank you,
PJ

Event inspires hope, change: Student-created Black History Extravaganza

•February 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Who: UCLA Students/RA’s
Age: College
What: Created Black History Extravaganza at UCLA

Making a difference through education has been one theme at BIY. As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.” This Sunday’s story is about a group who created an event at UCLA to celebrate Black History Month and empower their peers to educate themselves. The story comes from The Daily Bruin.

Event inspires hope, change: Student-created Black History Extravaganza receives attention from many groups on campus
Rotem Ben-Shachar, Bruin reporter
Published: Friday, February 22, 2008

For D’Juan Farmer, the Black History Extravaganza on Thursday was all about empowerment.

The event, hosted by the Office of Residential Life, the African Student Union and Youth to College, focused on black history from the 16th century to the present.

Farmer, a second-year Afro-American studies student, said it was significant for him that people from all over campus were supporting Black History Month.

The event, the largest of its kind ever held on campus, featured music, poetry, dance and skits, along with stories about slavery and black voting rights, a poem discussing the meaning of the color black and the Billie Holiday song “Summertime.”

“Since blacks are such an extreme minority on campus, it’s amazing to have such a big event highlighting black culture,” Farmer said. “It makes me feel good to be a part of this campus.”

A celebratory spirit lasted throughout the event.

As performers spoke and sang, audience members frequently stood up and clapped, sang along to songs and offered encouragement to the performers.

“Having this event is a huge step forward for the black community on campus,” said Ella Franklin, a second-year sociology student. “Last year on my floor, no one even acknowledged Black History Month.”

Farmer, a resident assistant on the Hill, began planning the event with other RAs last December since there had been no such event on campus.

“We hope people got a better understanding of how black history has influenced America,” he said.

James Birks, a third-year psychology student and another RA who helped organize the event, said he believed the event succeeded in increasing black students’ visibility on campus.

“I think it’s important that we were able to show our faces on campus and explore issues that African Americans face,” he said.

Franklin said the event made her aware of how little people know about black history.

A member of the African Arts Ensemble, Franklin participated in a short play called “Tuskegee.”

Tuskegee, a city in Alabama, was the site of an experiment on the effects of syphilis conducted by the American Medical Association, Franklin said. When penicillin was found to cure syphilis, doctors denied the black community treatment to see how the disease spread.

“Tuskegee” focused on the effect the experiment had on females, as they and their children were infected.

For Franklin, the play hit close to home; her mother’s parents refused to let her mother visit the desegregated hospitals in Dallas because of the Tuskegee experiment.

“What’s amazing is no one knows that this happened,” Franklin said. “My little sister didn’t even know.”

Birks said he hopes that audience members realize that issues such as civil rights still affect people today.

“I hope people see that we are still struggling – that it is important to take action and make change,” he said.

2 Harvard students warm with ice tour Donate 70 tickets to mothers, youths

•February 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Who: Tyler Bosmeny and Roger Lee
Age: College Students
What: Founders of PaperG Donated 70 tickets to a performance of “High School Musical: The Ice Tour” by Disney.

This Wednesday’s article is about two Harvard Students who launched a website on February 1st connecting advertisers with local websites. One of their customers, Disney, was impressed by PaperG and gave them 70 free tickets. They could have sold them, but instead they donated them to a Shelter that houses homeless single mother and children. This article is brought to you by Boston.com and you can also check out Tyler and Rogers company at http://www.paperg.com.

2 Harvard students warm with ice tour Donate 70 tickets to mothers, youths

By Matt Collette, Globe Correspondent | February 19, 2008

Two Harvard students made the day of a lot of single mothers and their children with a surprise donation of 70 tickets to a performance yesterday of “High School Musical: The Ice Tour.”

Tyler Bosmeny and Roger Lee are two founders of PaperG, a website launched Feb. 1 to connect advertisers with local websites. One of the site’s first customers was Disney, which was looking to promote its traveling ice show.

Disney officials, impressed by PaperG, gave Bosmeny and Lee 70 tickets for prime seats – a $2,000 value.

“We realized we didn’t know what to do with them, and it would be a lot of work to sell them,” said Bosmeny, a junior studying applied mathematics. “We thought it was a pretty easy opportunity to help out someone who wouldn’t normally get a chance to go.”

The two searched online and found Casa Nueva Vida, a Jamaica Plain shelter that houses homeless single mothers and children. Casa Nueva Vida, Spanish for “house of new life,” gives women and their families a long-term place to live. Nineteen families live in the shelter.

“This is a house,” said Doris Gaitan, the shelter’s director of educational programs. “[At] regular shelters you feel like everyone is in a different place. What we try to encourage is that we are a family.”

Women in the house cook and clean together, and take computer and English as a Second Language classes.

Most of the children had seen “High School Musical” on television, and shortly before yesterday’s performance were excited to see the ice show.

“I think it’s going to be cool,” said Jonathan Lopez, 11, who has lived in the shelter with his mother, brother, and two sisters since April. “It’s gonna be skating on ice, and I never saw ‘High School Musical’ like that before.”

“These kids can’t always do this kind of stuff, because of money,” Gaitan said. “I think anything we can provide for the families is great.”

Bosmeny and Lee also arranged for a bus to take the mothers and their children to the TD BankNorth Garden, where the show was held.

Educating People About Tourette Syndrome (TS)

•February 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Who: Jennifer Zwilling
Age: 17
What: 2008 Prudential Spirit of Community Award Winner

This week’s Believe In Youth article is about a young woman that used a challenge she was presented with to change the lives of many people with similar stories. She has educated thousands to make a difference across the country. Story courtesy of the Syosset/Jericho Tribune.

ONLINE EDITION FRIDAY February 15, 2008
Jericho Student Named
Top Youth Volunteer

Jennifer Zwilling, 17, of Brookville and Kara Houppert, 12, of Webster were named New York’s top two youth volunteers for 2008 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. The awards program, now in its 13th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Zwilling was nominated by Jericho High School and Kara was nominated by Willink Middle School in Webster. As State Honorees, each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees – one middle level and one high school youth – from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2008 at that time.

Zwilling, a senior at Jericho High School, founded and implemented the Youth Ambassador Training program of the National Tourette Syndrome Association, a nationwide program that trains teens to educate other young people about Tourette Syndrome (TS). Zwilling was diagnosed with the neurological disorder at the age of 7. “Although my mom and I attempted to educate my school, I found that people were not as tolerant, understanding or knowledgeable regarding TS as one would hope,” she said. She soon discovered that other kids with TS had the same experience and decided something had to be done.

She began helping local families of children with TS advocate for themselves and started speaking in schools. When requests for her presentations grew too numerous to handle, Zwilling contacted the National Tourette Syndrome Association to see about launching a program that could train other young people to replicate her activities. Zwilling developed a training manual, presentation handouts and a PowerPoint presentation on a DVD and began recruiting teens to be trained as youth ambassadors. So far, she has trained more than 100 teenagers from all over the U.S., spoken at 56 schools and testified four times before Congress. She estimates that more than 3,000 students, teachers and academic advisers have received accurate information about TS through her program. “I have learned from experience that knowledge is power,” she said. “Knowledge about TS gives classmates the power to accept, understand and be supportive.”

“Over the past 13 years, we’ve seen an incredible number of young Americans who have selflessly devoted their time and energy to helping others in their communities,” said Arthur F. Ryan, chairman of Prudential Financial. “The volunteer work of this year’s honorees is as inspiring as any we’ve seen and we are honored to recognize the amazing contribution they’ve made to their neighborhoods, cities and nation.”

“Congratulations to this year’s state winners in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards,” stated Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “The hard work and determination that these students have exhibited in trying to make a difference in the lives of others is remarkable.”

All public and private middle level and high schools in the country, as well as all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and Volunteer Centers, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award this past November. Nearly 4,500 Local Honorees were then reviewed by state-level judges, who selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.

While in Washington, D.C., the 102 State Honorees will tour the capital’s landmarks, attend a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. In addition, 10 of them – five middle level and high school students – will be named National Honorees on May 5 by a prestigious national selection committee. These honorees will receive additional $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit, charitable organizations of their choice.

Co-chairing the national selection committee will be U.S. Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Arthur Ryan of Prudential. Also serving on the committee will be actor Richard Dreyfuss; Alma Powell, chair of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth; Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of the Points of Light & Hands On Network; Amy B. Cohn, director of Learn and Serve America at the Corporation for National and Community Service; Kathy Cloninger, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA; Donald T. Floyd Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council; Kathryn Forbes, national chair of volunteers, American Red Cross; Neil Nicoll, CEO of YMCA of the USA; Michael Cohen, president and CEO of Achieve, Inc.; Barry Stark, president of NASSP; and two 2007 Prudential Spirit of Community National Honorees: Kelly Davis of West Bath, ME and Kelydra Welcker of Parkersburg, WV.

In addition to granting its own awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program will be distributing President’s Volunteer Service Awards to nearly 2,800 of its Local Honorees this year on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represent the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. The program is part of a broad youth-service initiative by Prudential that includes a youth leadership training program administered by the Points of Light & Hands On Network; a free booklet of volunteer ideas for young people offered through the Federal Citizen Information Center; and a website featuring profiles of outstanding youth volunteers, volunteer tips and project ideas for students, an electronic newspaper on youth volunteerism and more (www.prudential.com/spirit). The Spirit of Community Awards program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Ireland.

For information on all of this year’s Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists, visit http://www.prudential.com/spirit or http://www.principals.org/prudential.

Youth from around the world discuss sustainable development in Jordan

•February 12, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Who: Youth from across the world
What: Advancing youth leadership for sustainable development

Everything we see on the news these days from the Middle East is negative. However, there is hope and it lies in our youth in the Middle East. There was a 5 day course held for the youth on ‘Advancing youth leadership for sustainable development.’ It is important for our youth here in America and in the rest of the world to understand that there is action happening in the Middle East and it all starts in our youth: The leaders of tomorrow! This article is from menafn.com.

MENAFN – Jordan Times AMMAN – Some 60 youths from across the world are gathering in Jordan this week along with representatives from UN agencies, NGOs and civil society organizations to discuss their potential roles as future leaders in sustainable development.

Taking part in a course entitled ‘Advancing youth leadership for sustainable development’, the participants will give special emphasis to ecological, social, economic and political development.

The five-day course which opened Sunday is organised by the Amman-based United Nations University-International Leadership Institute (UNU-ILI), in cooperation with UNESCO and the UNDP Amman offices, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the King Abdullah Fund for Development, the University of Jordan, Jordan University of Science and Technology, and the Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute for development.

Defining sustainable development as a way of “spending the current resources without compromising the resources of future generations”, Director of the UNU-ILI Jairam Reddy urged participants to rethink the concept of leadership and to become active leaders in their respective countries, since current heads of state “have not done so well�”

“We need leaders who can broaden horizons, uplift spirits, mobilise the necessary resources and empower others to act in the best interest of organisations, communities and the larger society,” the director of UNU-ILI, one of the 15 UN agencies established in Jordan, added.

In his address to the multinational audience, UN Resident Coordinator in Jordan Luc Stevens described the seminar as a great opportunity for young people to learn from each other and exchange information.

“You are the next generation of Jordan, the Middle East and different parts of the world. You are a vision for the future,” he said, adding that the UN has long recognised that the world’s youth actively contribute to social progress.

“Therefore, addressing youth development should not be seen as a liability, but as a potential for creative and constructive change,” Stevens added.

According to the UN official, 74 per cent of Jordan’s population is under 30 years old and 40 per cent are between 12 and 30 years of age, making youth the largest demographic group in the country, with some 2.2 million people.

“It also goes without saying empowering the youth and ensuring their effective participation in building their communities is a high priority for Jordan and its leadership,” Stevens continued.

The UN resident coordinator applauded the National Youth Strategy, which was established in 2005. He also praised an initiative launched under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah which outlined a programme of action for youth in Jordan.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Communication and Information Programme officer, Samir Badran, called sustainable development an “evolving concept”, which at first focused on the environment and soon came to encompass socioeconomic issues “linked to peace, human rights, equity and culture”.

“Bearing all this in mind, the seminar is an excellent opportunity to gain better understating of a complex concept that is much more than a slogan,” Badran added.

The UN is currently celebrating the United Nations Decade for Sustainable Development (2005-2015). With UNESCO at the helm, the overall goal of the decade is to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development with education.

This educational effort is an attempt to encourage changes in behaviour for environmental integrity, economic viability, and a just society for present and future generations, according to UNESCO’s website.

IUCN Director for the Middle East Odeh Jayoussi described sustainable development as a way of life where current resources should be cultivated rather than exploited.

“It is as if we were gardeners, not hunters. Leaders should behave like gardeners,” he stressed.

In regards to sustainable development practices in Jordan, Jayoussi added that there is still room for improvement.

HRH Prince Hassan was also among the speakers. In his address, he called for providing young people with sufficient opportunities to achieve sustainable development, highlighting its role in improving people’s standards of living.

A key component of the seminar will be field visits to different sites in Jordan, which are meant to represent themes covered in the course. Sites will include the Dana Nature Reserve, Nuqul Group, Jordan University of Science and Technology and the Knowledge Centre at Iraq Al Amir.

Miro

•February 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Who: Nicholas Reville
Age: 28
What: Co-Founder of Participatory Culture Foundation

This project is fantastic. Look it up, download it, and follow it. Nicholas Reville is one of the co-founders of a young team building Miro.

Entrepreneur Aims to Overthrow TV, Not Get Rich
By Bryan Gardiner 10.08.07 | 12:00 AM

As co-founder and executive director of the Participatory Culture Foundation, Nicholas Reville spearheads the Miro project, a video platform that aims to keep internet television open and accessible to all.

Most software entrepreneurs’ ambition is to sell out for a huge wad of cash, or maybe go public for an even bigger pile. Not so Nicholas Reville: He wants to overthrow the television industry, and he doesn’t care if he gets rich. In fact, as executive director and co-founder of the Participatory Culture Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Reville is unlikely to make much money at all.

Reville oversees the PCF’s core project: a free, open-source video player called Miro. Formerly known as Democracy Player, Miro is a desktop video application that lets you search and view videos. It uses RSS, BitTorrent and media-player technologies.
But the PCF’s ambitions go far beyond making and distributing a popular internet video platform. Ultimately, the foundation’s goal is to promote and build an entirely new, open mass medium of online television.

“We see TV as moving online in a lot of ways,” Reville explains. “There’s a chance to make it really open, or there’s a chance that companies are going to build proprietary systems and try to lock in users to creators. We think that video RSS is a really good way of making it a level playing field, so our goal is to push the video industry in the direction of openness — towards using open standards.”

Going the nonprofit route was an essential part of this goal. For one, Miro’s fate isn’t tied to finicky venture capitalists or stockholders. That’s generally a good thing when you’re trying to form an organization around values other than maximizing shareholder profit.

While a lot of for-profit companies have similar hopes of infusing idealistic values into their organizations (for example, Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto), Reville notes that the kinds of investors such companies are forced to take on inevitably exert pressure to change or “adapt” those values.

“You hear a lot of utopian talk in the beginning and then six or seven years later, they’re in a totally different place,” Reville says. “We wanted to be sure that we built the values into the company from the beginning, and a nonprofit is best way to do that.”

Values aside, Miro still has to make money like any other venture-backed startup or major media company. And as a nonprofit, Reville is the first to admit that that’s not always easy.

While the PCF just wrapped up a successful $50,000 fundraising drive, that money is a small portion of the project’s overall budget. Indeed, with 12 full-time staff members and two part-timers, most of Miro’s budget is earmarked for the employees responsible for what Reville characterizes as “the core of the application.”

Needless to say, the project still relies on large donors and grants. Supporters have included Skyline Public Works and the Mitch Kapor, Surdna, Mozilla and Knight foundations.

But the ultimate goal for the Miro team is to slowly wean themselves off of grants and donations over the next couple of years, as Miro emerges as a post-1.0 application. At that point, Reville says the platform should be able to start having some more-traditional revenue models.

“They need to find their Google search bar,” says John Lilly, the chief operating officer of the Mozilla Foundation and a board member of PCF. Lilly is referring to the Firefox search tool that through revenue-sharing agreements with Google and Yahoo, generates millions of dollars in annual income for the Mozilla Foundation.

Lilly notes that the big challenge for Miro will be finding a way to monetize internet video, so the company is eventually less dependent on donations. That may come by offering specific customized versions of the software to businesses and organizations — something the team is currently experimenting with — or it may come in some other form.

“If you look at nonprofits, they will typically have a large mix of income and are generally not dependent on independent contributions,” says Dennis Young, director of the Nonprofit Studies Program at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

Until it develops a revenue stream, Miro will likely continue to rely on the myriad forms of nonfinancial help the software is already starting to get. Which isn’t necessarily bad. “There’s all kinds of things (users) do for us that otherwise would be very difficult,” Reville says. “The software’s translated into 30 languages. That’s all volunteer work. Then there’s tons of testing, writing code, users supporting each other: All these things work because we’re mission-driven.”

Reville and Lilly ultimately believe this is how open-source projects and the nonprofit foundations behind them can successfully compete with commercial enterprises: by cultivating a community that really cares.

“They know you’re not just out there trying to make money,” Reville says. “That’s what propelled Firefox. They’re not out there spending their money on a bunch of TV ads. One user is telling another user. Users are helping to promote the software and helping to make it better … so that’s a huge, huge advantage we have. That’s probably more valuable than all the donations our users give to us.”

Students get fired up at Goose Creek High

•February 5, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Who: Josh Carmack
Age: Senior in High School
What: Lacked motivation to succeed until he found his niche

The article we bring to you this Wednesday is about a senior in high school who was discouraged to be in Special Education classes his first ten years of school. In that time, he didn’t really know were he fit in academically. When he became involved in the welding program at school, though, he found his “specialty.” It is important that our educational system continues building programs in which our youth find passion. Sometimes, all we need in life is a chance. For Josh Carmack, he got that chance and made the most of it. It is time for our educational systems to give more chances to more youths, whether through programs like this or other innovative motivational methods. This article was published by The Post and Courier. It doesn’t take a world changing event to make a difference. Making a difference in your own life or that of those close to you can go a long way.

Tech classes help spark interest in school, future
By Mindy B. Hagen
The Post and Courier
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

GOOSE CREEK — Josh Carmack spent his first 10 years of school in special education classes, lacking the motivation to succeed academically.

Now the Goose Creek High School senior is the talk of his school for building an intricate “wildlife” glass-top table and four chairs. The outdoor furniture set, which Carmack created in welding class, is expected to be one of the highest-demand items during the silent auction portion of Berkeley County’s Teacher Forum instructional fair Feb. 15.

Although he’s spent five years in high school, Carmack is on track to graduate in the spring. He’s left special education classes behind for mainstream courses. And he was named Goose Creek High’s student of the month for January.

Carmack credits the school’s welding class for his turnaround.

Roughly 150 to 200 students each year request one of the 50 open slots in Tim Burgsteiner’s welding class. Students are selected based on their discipline and attendance records. Once enrolled, they tackle projects such as holiday parade floats and hurdles for the track team.

Carmack is one of many students who have benefited from the career and technical education courses available in Berkeley County’s comprehensive high schools, which include such subjects as health sciences, sports medicine and electronics.

“I have opportunities now that I wouldn’t have ever had,” Carmack said. “It’s totally turned my life around, and there are a lot of other students who also can’t wait to come back here every day.”

At Goose Creek High, “back here” refers to a cluster of career and technical education classes housed in a far corner of the campus. Instructors who lead the 10 courses — the most in the district — often work together on projects, meaning a welding student might use the computers in architectural and mechanical design to sketch out an idea.

Allowing hundreds of students to take part in hands-on projects each day also has an impact on Goose Creek High’s core academic classes, said Sherri Scoggins, the school’s career specialist. Welding students who use fire to mold steel or architectural design students who use complicated mathematical equations to create blueprints “see the relevance of why they need chemistry or geometry for their chosen line of work,” Scoggins said. It gives students who are at risk of dropping out a reason to attend class every day, she said.

Berkeley is the only school district in the Lowcountry that has pursued a full-fledged comprehensive high school concept, with career and technical education classes available on the same campus as academic courses. In Charleston County, the Garrett Academy of Technology is the only vocational school. In Dorchester County, many students travel to the Career and Technology Center for masonry, automotive repair and cosmetology.

Ten years ago, Berkeley County moved away from separate vocational centers and added career and technology wings to its existing high schools. That shift opened hands-on courses to a larger group of students, some of whom start with only a casual interest, said Gwen Scarborough, the district’s school-to-career coordinator.

Burgsteiner began Goose Creek’s welding class in 1998, and he has added machines every year. In addition to using traditional torches, the welding students have access to a plasma-cutting machine, which cuts sheets of steel with laserlike precision. Students create a variety of items, including backyard grills and signs for local businesses, and they often sell finished products to fund trips to state competitions. Graduates who spend two years in welding can obtain jobs with starting pay of $17 per hour.

Carmack’s wildlife table has attracted a new level of attention for the popular program. The 4-foot-by-4-foot glass-top table boasts smooth edges and stands about 3 feet high. The four steel chairs, painted black, feature animal silhouettes of rams, deer, birds and wolves.

Carmack, who once had no plans for the future, envisioned and completed the entire project. Since first setting foot in Goose Creek High’s welding shop, he’s participated in a co-op program at Master Sheet Metal and spent a summer in New Mexico welding walls for a new nuclear testing lab. Instead of taking study hall, Carmack returns to the shop every day to serve as a teaching assistant for first-year welding students. He’s applying for a scholarship to attend the 60-week NASCAR Technical Institute in North Carolina, where he’ll learn to manufacture stock cars.

Scarborough said Carmack’s story shows the importance of providing students with a strong direction and a career-based focus.

“He’s a shining star,” she said. “But that’s what can happen when a student is able to find his niche.”