Dream It. Do It. Youth Grants For Social Change in Virtual Worlds

PDiddy-Puff Daddy-Diddy dude step aside, as THIS is the kind of D.I.D.I. initiative that I want to see out there!!!

D.I.D.I. stands for Dream It. Do It…An Ashoka Youth Venture effort with Global Kids and funding by RWJF all teaming up to offer seed money to visionary young people anxious to bring positive change to the health of their community!

Nothing ‘virtual’ about these grants, it’s $1000 of real life green, going to youth implementing ideas for healthy environs inside the virtual world using social entrepreneurial skills to see their visions to fruition, online and off. (Here’s the DIDI presentation on Scribd to give you a sense of scope and how it can all bridge into real life sustainable action)

So how can all those dragon-winged, flying-tailed kooky characters boppin’ around Teen Second Life make real world change via their virtual world avatars? Pop in on the Holy Meatballs blog and see. (adults aren’t allowed in the teen world)

You’ll be amazed at the creativity and mind-blowing innovation coming out of these kids. I’m not just talking about the elaborate machinima film “A Child’s War” or their International Justice Center or even their ongoing virtual video, I’m speaking of daily life lessons, skill sets and community solidarity imparted through education taking place ‘in-world’ and on ‘the teen grid.’

Parents might wig out at the fantasy beasties and wild virtual expressions of teen personas at first, but once you get to know the essence of what they’re up to, it sure as heck beats “decorating a room” with fashionista bling and vapid acquisition taking place in some of the commercial teen worlds.

This screenshot at left, for example, is part of “Using visual art for political change” so consider Global Kids/Teen Second Life the ‘thinking youth’ hub for more meaningful content…To get a snapshot of some of the collaborative learning transpiring, visit the community of educators hanging out and sharing best practices at RezEd.org.

RezEd recently came out with a 23pp pdf report on refreshing ways virtual learning accomplishments have taught the teachers as well as the kids…it’s an eye-opener in some of the advancements and simulations of behaviors, ethics, social skills, and interpersonal relationships that go far beyond any school setting.

I’ll do a follow up on their report soon, but meanwhile, while you’re there, take a peek at Global Kids’ free learning curriculum to get a feel for the vast potential of integrated advancements in virtual worlds and read up on the cost-saving concept of this D.I.D.I. grant idea.

It’s brilliant. Wish I would’ve thought of it myself—because the Global Kids/Ashoka D.I.D.I. youth grants are a perfect way to engage kids’ idea generation about fresh ways of importing health messages into their own communities…

It’s much like HopeLab accomplished with Ruckus Nation brainstorming to get kids moving!!!

One thing’s for sure, this D.I.D.I. grant has already inspired me to ‘scale back’ my thinking into ‘dream it, do it’ mode so that I can test some of my ideas for positive change NOW, more modestly WITHOUT mega-funding…I’m getting really weary with trying to thread the needle to snag a fellowship so I can focus fully without always scrambling to ‘keep the lights on.’

Mind you, I’m a Global Kid in heart and spirit, for even though I’m “too old” to qualify as a youth venture, my head is definitely in that realm for promise and intervention in building sustainable change…I may have to look into our youth advisory crew to see if anyone wants to dive in…

I’m already revamping another variation of my tween DML “virtual nutrition” grant to downsize it a tad and make it a little less layered and elaborate, since financial markets have made my vision a bit of a ‘long shot’ for finding the funding fit to embed these healthy cues. (ultimately I want to test it in 3 different types of virtual worlds to see which one ‘fits’ the best)

Hmn. Maybe I’ll submit it to RWJF, THEY seem to have the research bucks to fund some Health 2.0 digital innovation!

Meanwhile, I encourage ALL youth and youth advocates to jump into this little ditty of a DIDI to become social entrepreneurs both online and off in your communities.

Can’t wait to hear what the kids come up with!!

Here’s more on the D.I.D.I. youth grants for social change via their press release:

October 22, 2008, New York, NY — This fall, Global Kids and Ashoka’s Youth Venture are excited to announce opportunities for teens and young adults to receive $1,000 in seed funding and social entrepreneurial training through the Dream It Do It Initiative in Second Life. D.I.D.I. seeks to utilize the connecting forces of these virtual worlds to empower young people to implement sustainable projects that will bring positive change to their communities’ health.

Through January of 2009, the D.I.D.I. Initiative is supporting teams of young people to launch their own ventures that benefit their communities, either within or outside of Teen Second Life. A venture can be a club, organization, business, or program that is ongoing and benefits the community. With the D.I.D.I. Initiative’s support, each team of youth develops an action plan to design and launch their own social entrepreneurial projects.

When the teams are ready to launch, the Initiative offers:
·    Seed funding (up to $1,000 per team)
·    Technical allies to provide additional advice and expertise
·    Ongoing tools and support
·    A supportive network of fellow D.I.D.I. Venture Teams
·    Identity as part of a global movement of young changemakers

To get started, email Meghan@globalkids.org or contact Coreina Grace in Second Life to receive your D.I.D.I. Action Plan Toolkit! The D.I.D.I. Initiative is made possible with generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

About Global Kids, Inc. (www.globalkids.org)
Launched in 1989 and independent since 1993, Global Kids’ mission is to educate and inspire urban youth to become successful students and global and community leaders by engaging them in socially dynamic, content-rich learning experiences. Global Kids, Inc. is a nationally recognized leader in using digital media to promote global awareness and youth civic engagement. Global Kids’ Online Leadership Program (OLP) integrates a youth development approach and international and public policy issues into youth media programs that build digital literacy, foster substantive online dialogues, develop resources for educators, and promote civic participation. Currently, the OLP is accomplishing its goals through initiatives within four broader areas: the development of socially -conscious online games; youth-led online dialogues; Virtual Worlds; and the Digital Media Initiative.

About Youth Venture (www.genv.net)
Ashoka’s Youth Venture leads an international community of young people who are powerful now, changemakers now.  Youth Venture inspires and invests in teams of young people to create and launch their own sustainable, community-benefiting Ventures and then connects them into a global movement of young changemakers who are together redefining the youth years as a time of leadership and positive social change.  This is the foundation of an Everyone a Changemaker™ world – the key factor for success in every part of society.



  1. Sponsor a Kenyan Youth in Media Production Initiative
    SLOGAN “jijenge” Kiswahili for self empower
    Name of Project: Afro-media Project Initiative
    Organization: Westmont Institution Technology
    Contact Person: Justin Macharia (justin@westmontmedia.com)

    Executive Summary
    Who are the youth? what are the likings? what influences them? whom do they listen to? what do they enjoy most? what do they do on their free time?
    Fact: The Kenyan youth have unique challenges, living in a fast growing economy, a consistently widening haves-have-not gap, equipped basic education BUT Jobless hence poverty is rife, de-motivation, democracy threatened and crime on the rise BUT creative youthful population who have no means to acquire skills with the trainers.
    They are ages 14 – 35 years of age, inspired by media productions and hope to join the production fraternity for employment or self employment.
    The media industry has grown more than tenfold since liberalization of the airwaves and licensing of private radio and television stations from;
    Kenya Then: 1995 Kenya Now: 2009
    2 television Stations: KBC, KTN Over 15 television Stations
    2 FM Radio Stations Over 50 Radio Stations
    This has presented the need for qualified and passionate youth for employment and self employment intermediaries.

    Problem Statement
    Empowering Kenyan Youth through media For Peace, Democracy & Enterprise development
    Use of appropriate technology to achieve talent driven editing activities since poverty increases vice, violence and disintegration of democracy.
    The circumstances surrounding the majority of Kenyan youth especially in urban informal settlement creates a breeding ground for vice, drugs abuse, disintegration of democracy by voters bribing, political violence like experienced in January 2008 after 2007 December poll elections, crime and corruption whenever the chance presents itself.
    The Media is a perfect solution solver as it is gender sensitive (boys and especially girls to avert them from the vicious circle of early pregnancy, HIV & AIDS, prostitution and a slum life for ever lifestyle).
    Creates employment, creates down-up information or video documentation to sensitize the ways of life in the informal; or less fortunate population both locally and internationally, keeps the youth busy and boosts enterprises from the Small and Medium Media companies setup by the former media students.

    I. To help the youth tap their talent and make ends meet, due to the increasing high rate of unemployment which has an effect of increasing vice to downplay frustration e.g. prescription drug abuse e.g. valium and hard drugs e.g. brown sugar, cocaine, heroin, cannabis sativa “bhang” and designer drugs e.g. ecstasy, mandrax etc.
    II. To reach out to the youth with great impact and entertainment value and sensitize the message of virtue before during and after the outdoor activities.
    III. To keep the youth busy and capitalize on the increasingly new trend of local musical artists that is culminating into dance visible from the Television
    IV. To enhance equal opportunity with the gender sensitive recruitment based on passion, talent and creativity
    V. To embrace the new changes in media at the benefit of the youth, changes being, over 15 TV stations, including one purely music video channel and over 20 radio FM stations.

    ITEM DESCRIPTION Students Duration Months COSTS $
    1 Student Course TV & Video & Music Radio Production 1 6 375
    2 Student Course TV & Video Music Radio Production 20 6 7,500
    3 Student Course TV & Video Music Radio Production 40 6 15,000
    $7,500 can go along way for the 20 students, four dependants, general poverty alleviation, country’s’ democracy and crime reduction

    Background Information
    Westmont Institute of Technology was started in 2008 as a commercial media training institute offering market driven video recording, non linear editing techniques training. Disheartening, was many enquiries by interested youth student who passed the proficiency test but no funds to enroll.
    That is why we have decided to help them learn through fee grants from partner philanthropic organizations.
    Westmont Institute of Technology Director has over 8 years in media productions and training experience using analogue and digital editing and IT training.
    Date: 17th-June-2008
    Company Name: Westmont Institute of Technology
    Contact: Tel: +254 341 361, +254 723 947 444
    P. O. Box 16650, Nairobi–00100, Kenya
    Email: justin@westmontmedia.com
    Directors: Justin Macharia
    Humphrey Oranja
    Core business: Further learning in the areas of Art, Design, Animation and Multimedia.
    Training leads to a college diploma in one of eight specialisms. Courses are modeled around the Business and technology Education Council (BTEC) curriculum of edexcel (Part of the London examinations group).
    Support business: Consultancy based projects in the fields of 2D and 3D Animation, Web publishing, Authoring interactive CD’s, videography, Sound production, photography, illustration, Desk top publishing, computer aided design and model making.
    Studio Portfolio highlights: Documentaries:Southern Sudan, Somalia
    Barclays Bank Seminars
    Television Advertisements, Radio Jingles, Interactive CDs for Blue Chip Companies
    Training Courses Video/TV Production, Radio, Audio Production, Graphic Design, Multimedia Design
    Training Statistics No. of registered Students: 35
    No. of Diploma Programmes: 4
    No. of instructors (full time) 4
    No. of instructors (part time) 3
    Administrative staff 4
    Average student to teacher’s ratio 3:1
    Our Institution is in the Heart of Nairobi City, Kenyas’ Capital City, well equipped and qualified facilitators and tutors in Video & Audio Production
    A detailed proposal with individual course content can be submitted at request, thank you for this opportunity

  2. Just to let everyone know. Our brand new site on btec diplomas is due to launch next wednesday.It may be of benefit to those who of you who want to find out more about btecs.

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