2000 Organizational Information update:
In 1995, BAMTA incubated the concept of an age appropriate interactive web of "personal issues" for youth, ages 11 – 17.
By spring 1996, the Masters program of The Monterey Institute of International Business constructed a Kidsinit business plan, and the iTVc Corporation was assisting in the web design for a Kidsinit prototype. The inclusion of the Kidsinit project at the 1997 Open House at NASA provided the impetus for the site in prototype. With CEO Eli Porat, and Ensemble Solutions, Inc., "Youtopia" emerged as a working title," Where You Are the Source and the Resource of Your Own Future."
By September of 1998, thanks to Eli Porat and Cooley Goodard, Ltd., Kidsinit became a federally approved as a 501c3 non-profit organization.
Our recent accomplishments includes the Youtopia "mission" issue listing in the NASA Learning Technologies Project Guide for 1999, (see appendix one:previously http://learn.ivv.nasa.gov/Product99/k12/kidsinit.html.) The Youtopia/mission issue was also a primary influence in bringing together the needs of the NASA community with second level students at the San Francisco Academy of Art, in an exploration of the ISS (International Space Station)corporate identity.
The Youtopia web site for children ages 7 - 17 is the only program undertaken by the Kidsinit Organization.The Youtopia web has emerged to fill a gap in the needs of children, to be informed, self-actualizing members of the social fabric.
Using the inherent advantages of the Internet, the site crystallizes channels of information, creating a "media coherence" to raise the consciousness, productivity, and problem solving abilities of kids. "Youtopia" uses peer content and best of breed reference segments to drive a virtual environment of teen issues. This site helps to reveal the consequences of sex, drugs and the "rock and roll" of life, as it occurs in the lives of their peers. It includes all elements in a judgement free, anonymous climate, encouraging kids to recognize behaviors that discourage or empower them to develop and direct their own lives.
Thirteen chapters, covering drugs, alcohol, abuse, pregnancy, gangs, - as well as physical, mental, and financial well being, bring a more distinct "window of opportunity" to those who feel trapped by day to day events and circumstances.
Our kids face more challenges than ever as they grow up. Yet at the same time there are more opportunities for them to excel than at any time in the past. To help our kids successfully negotiate the issues they face so they can achieve their best potential in life, it is time we apply our high technology environment to their lives, and bring the benefits of this new industry full circle. Through our Youtopia site, we give kids access to information, community, and interaction in ways they simply cannot find anywhere else.
Additionally, by using the Internet, Youtopia also serves to connect the high technology industries that are key to the Silicon Valley community, providing avenues for establishing age appropriate corporate identification, public relations, and participating in the effecient co-creation of our future work force. By granting resources to Kidsinit, CFSV will also be sending a proactive message to the global community regarding the sense of social responsibility that we have taken, in driving the benefits of the technology it has created.
Youtopia’s current web prototype is developing three of these issues:
alcohol, pregnancy and mission, respectively; http://www/larcdesigngroup.com/kidsinit/bottle/index.html,
children, serving to make or break both plans and dreams for their future, and the health of the community at large. This web site directly unites and integrates the creative aspects of CFSV youth related services, by bringing together content from programs such as Art Attacks, Knight foundation Donor Advised Funds, Neighborhood Grants, Responsible Fatherhood, Youth in Philanthropy, and the Mentoring Program, with factual information and graphic impact, re-purposing valuable information in this unique learning engine.
By addressing subject matter on an age appropriate vernacular interface, Youtopia protects the privacy of this under-served and often alienated population. Content is broken down into two distinct groups of icons; Reference and Action. Reference icons cover factual information and separate elements into the following categories: body, mind and soul icons describe the conditions of those who are akin to this "issue". Paradoxes, reactions of family and friends, legal an penal ramifications, and lastly - where to go to get connected (to local area programs, 800 help lines, publications and media) are explored on each separate issue. Action icons serve to move the youth from static information to creative interaction: getting to know the sponsor, engaging in chats, reading and writing their reactions/experiences, creating graphic expressions and understanding the issue elements by participating in simulated experiences.
The Kidsinit strategy is to work with these outside web developers and content providers to formally and efficiently re-purpose data and image from a variety of sources, essentially becoming a supra-site of kid/specific digestible information.
The Associated Press, other news and scientific journals, government studies and statistics, educational institutions, grants and scholarships, non profit/community services, mentoring and delinquent programs, appropriate sponsors, publishers, cable, radio and television programming all have valuable content contributions to make. (See appendix three a and b for suggested lists of founding participants and sponsors.)
Though only the reference sources are beginning to be filled in for these three issues, relationships with the surrounding community have already begun so that factual information can be verified, and storied content appropriately placed. NASA is working with Kidsinit on the Mission issue. We have garnered the interest of Kathy Page, Clinical Director of Youth Programs at the Family Education Foundation, for the pregnancy and alcohol related issues. (See appendix four)
The characteristics of participants within this 7 - 17 age range fall into the full spectrum of the general population of children. Simply because all children are at risk in today's society. All children experience the habits of friends and family, all experience inner conflict and pressure to conform to peer and family standards, all are simultaneously curious and self conscious, alienated and desperate to belong. All the children we consider the future caretakers of our community - all that are our responsibility to inform and encourage - are the population Youtopia strives to engage.
The timeline to complete a fully functional site begins by the garnering of three separate sponsors for the completion of the existing reference segments, with appropriate chats for each by end of February 2000, and links by end of April 2000. In addition, by the end of March 2000, all home page table of contents will have a Home Page "issue graphic" and ‘issue clarification" so that potential sponsors can view the site with intent to commit. Kidsinits intent is to complete the reference segments of all Youtopia issues, including "connectivity", links and separate chats by the end of Q 2000. (See appendix five.)
Youtopia has accomplished much interest and exposure in it's development. Our current accomplishments have revealed the talents and needs of future professionals to the existing workforce, and serve to enlighten and create value for both segments of the community: (appendix two)
An Internet tool for students who are interested in math, sciences, technology, and future employment in the space industry, teachers are encouraged to increase the validity and value of students independent projects in these areas, by connecting kids to NASA's LTP, NASA/Quest, and other "mission" oriented content, and then posting projects back onto the Youtopia web.
With funding and connectivity, serving an immediate need to kids dealing with these elements while can painting the bigger picture for further Kidsinit collaboration. With CFSV participation, we can also provide the project with content, as well as an ongoing matrix of feedback for determining the success those programs in addition to Kidsinit.
The Kidsinit's organizational capacity will be improved by allowing the project director a window of opportunity to CFSV programs and supported connectivity to community businesses. CFSV involvement will also provide a period of time to organize and upload already existing content, while continue the existing tasks of establishing corporate sponsorship and site maintenance.
Plans for continuing the of the Youtopia site are built into the project's development and maintenance, where different issues extend the value of sponsor outreach. (See appendix three.)
The success of the Youtopia site will be seen directly in the frequency and duration of hits to the site, as well as the quality of verbal exchange within Youtopia chat segments. The number of content contributions from youth describing their day to day experiences of these issues, will also help to determine the success of the programs operation. Given the current number of youths already connected with the CFSV programs, we can already expect that a certain percentage will be benefit from and contribute to the Youtopia web. Kidsinit also expects a direct increase in hits to the sites of the participating content providers, all which can be discerned by a matrix of feedback within the sites programming.
Overall, we expect to see 30-50% of the CFSV program participants will visit the Youtopia site and provide input. We also anticipate seeing a measurable increase in understanding of the content's issues, an awareness of character attributes fostered by the separated issues, and a decrease in feelings of alienation within the 7 – 17 year age group. This increase in will validate via Internet programming. Kidsinit intends to use the appropriate CFSV youth oriented programs as a source of constructive evaluation, by asking for reactions and creative criticism from program participants.
"With the right tools you can change the world"
Our goal is to empower challenged youth ages seven to seventeen by combining compelling content, interactive chat and simulation games into a powerful learning engine. Designed specifically to speak in the vernacular of this population, we reach youths that are usually more involved in the daily challenges of their personal environment than in examining the possibilities open to them in the exterior world. The result is a site that inspires kids to break through the mental, physical, and social barriers than inhibit their achieving life success.
Initializing a new concept in communications:
Its simple: By partnering in the development of "Youtopia," you can become one of the only independent businesses to actually 'create and deliver' the social benefits of new technologies. Youtopia is also a unique opportunity to differentiate you as the Company that does more than create valuable content; you also create added value to all existing media channels!
Yes, sounds high-falutin’.
Yes, sounds pretty "soft" and not very "bottom line."
But look at it this way: The Internet revolution is at risk of being co-opted by multimedia conglomerates, a government that doesn’t understand the technology, and a society that fears it. The future of hi-tech media will be much brighter if we can deliver programs to the audience. The outcome is a real benefits-reality, with extended channels of detailed content, feedback, one-on-one relationships and marketing power that has been previously ignored by the current media authorities.
Any company associated with our delivery of the positive side of the technology will be far more successful than the ones who simply protest defensively against the public naysayers, or those who only use data mirrored on their other existing venues.
Sound like an exaggeration? Well, how many times in the last year have you watched the media panic over another instance of children easily accessing pornography on the Internet, or young people being victimized after arranging a meeting with someone they "met" on the Web, or watched on television? Ask Mr. or Mrs. Average American what they think about current television programming or the Internet, and they are liable to respond with something like "Its too dangerous for kids, too violent, promotes too much perversion and unrealistic behavior."
Is this how the world will come to view the most prevalent means of connecting the global audience? Lets find out:
The Youtopia endeavor, developed by the Kidsinit Non Profit Organization, is an outstanding example of the potential for combining Media and Internet applications to constructive social action. Messages and models of behavior currently delivered to this population are dispersed in a flurry of disjointed, provocative content.
Acute social problems pose dangerous risks to young adults as they struggle to mature. Too often the help they need is ignored because it is perceived as coming from adults and counselors who "…don’t know anything."
By channeling information from all pertinent realms, Youtopia engages web site, television series, radio/ Uses existing Media that
Please contact Kate Mulligan at Mulligan@mail.com