Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
As an annual sponsor of the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), we believe it’s important to be an active, contributing member of the nonprofit technology community. Nonprofits provide an incredible service in addressing America’s most pressing social problems, while being an underserved industry in technology capacity and resources. We try to bridge the technology needs of the nonprofit sector with our software donation program, of which we donate on average $1 million in software a day, as well as with long-standing relationships with great nonprofit tech orgs like NTEN, host of the NTC.
So we’ll be at NTC13 – come and meet us!
Check out the Microsoft session: April 11 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Because cloud technology use is becoming more prevalent within nonprofit organizations, we’re leading a demo session on Office 365. You’ll get the chance to hear from several nonprofits who are using Office 365 on why they chose that solution, the benefits & challenges, and what migrating to Office 365 was really like. Very informative for any nonprofit thinking about productivity cloud solutions!
Come visit us at our booth!
Look out for us at the Science Fair -- we’ll have a booth where attendees will can get hands-on with Microsoft technology, get information about our software donations program, and of course spend some quality time playing with an Xbox and Kinect. We’ll have a number of goodies and giveaways so be sure to stop by and say hello.
It’s party time…
And lastly, we’re once again hosting an evening reception on Saturday night (April 13th) of the conference. There will be food, drinks, Xbox gaming, and more. Don’t miss it!
We’re sending an enthusiastic team to NTC. You can meet them at the Microsoft booth and the Friday reception. See below what they had to say about the Minneapolis conference and be sure to “tweet” a hello:
Gretchen Deo, Microsoft Program Manager
Shanon Doolittle, Group Health Foundation Fundraising and Donor Relations Strategist
James Rooney, Microsoft Program Manager
Elisa Willman, Microsoft Senior Marketing Communications Manager
The World Vision Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) targets vulnerable youth who possess leadership potential but lack opportunities to develop it in a positive way. In a dynamic, year-long program, World Vision helps local youth learn about making a positive change in their community through advocacy. Youth leaders like Vianeli Garcia are using the tools from World Vision and its YEP program to influence and create change in her community. Vianeli was able to find her “voice” in her poverty-stricken community in New York and make policy recommendations to government officials while mobilizing others to support efforts to better her community. She created community service projects to get other youth off the streets and use their time to give back, making her Washington Heights neighborhood a better place.
Through participation in YEP, teens have the opportunity to receive college scholarships. The college education that youth like Vianeli receives will help them develop into the new generation of leaders in the US. We applaud the leadership these vulnerable youth display, creating real change in their community and eliminating poverty in the US.
Microsoft YouthSpark continues to help youth like Vianeli realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Find out more on what you can do by visiting the Microsoft YouthSpark micro-giving portal, Give for Youth.
In November we launched the Windows 8 Apps for Social Good contest. You voted for your favorite app, and our judges voted for theirs. It was great to see the variety of social good apps submitted to the contest – nutrition, health care, emergency response, and more. The judges had a hard time selecting the winners because of the quality and usefulness of the apps.
You can find the winning apps and all the other fantastic entries in the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 stores or on the contest page.
Without further ado, here are the winners:
The People’s Choice award winner is a Windows 8 app, YumvY, a cooking companion to help you prepare nutritious, healthy meals at home with the goal of addressing the obesity epidemic and related diseases like diabetes. Sari Louis from Reston, Virginia started coding at age six when his parents bought his older brother an Atari computer that came with a programming book for GW-Basic, and is passionate about using technology to improve health.
“Cooking at home is one of the sure ways to eat healthy and fight the growing health epidemic facing us today,” says Sari. “The reason I entered the contest is to let people know that cooking can be easy and fast…and fun on top of that.” With the $10,000 prize, he plans to include nutritional information to accompany the recipes so people can make more informed choices about what to cook.
The judge-selected winner in the Windows 8 app category is Eatfindr, a simple way to locate healthy restaurants while also allowing you to filter based on dietary requirements such as allergies. Cameron Preston, Ludo Antonov, and Hayder Casey worked tirelessly on the app after Cameron heard about the contest from friends. A team of great innovators, all have appreciated putting their development skills toward the greater purpose of social good.
Cameron says, “I get the most out of meshing my tech skills with my passion for better food systems.” He’ll use his $15,000 prize to build the app into a more social and educational user experience, expand to different platforms, and market to reach more users and gain more reviews.
Health Center was the judge-selected Windows Phone 8 app winner. It lets you look up your medications and find them at a reduced cost. Lance Siedman from Las Vegas started programming at age 13 on a Windows 98. He credits his parents’ gift of Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 for teaching him to build apps on the Windows platform. One project close to his heart was using the Microsoft Speech SDK to develop speech commands that enable his autistic brother to use a computer without anxiety.
Lance shares inspiration for other app developers thinking about doing social good: “If just one person could benefit, isn’t that what making apps and this contest is all about? If you have the capability to make a change or offer someone something, do it.” He plans to use his $15,000 prize to connect the app to a wearable device to provide medication reminders, potential interaction risks, and alerts for when to refill prescriptions.
Visit the contest page to see all of the great apps that were created for social good. Download them, use them, and share them with your friends.
By Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Citizenship, Microsoft
On March 18th, I had the honor of joining President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the First Lady of Indonesia, along with Bapak DR Syarifuddin Hasan Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprise, the Governor of Jakarta Bapak Joko Widodo and other distinguished guests speak at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Summit held at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium (Indonesia’s national soccer stadium) in front of an audience of 50,000 young Indonesian entrepreneurs.
Speaking to a crowd of 50,000 young people.
The energy in the stadium was indescribable, and was heightened as the lead singer of a major local rock band energized the crowd before the event began. I was told I would be speaking right after the band and right before the President’s address, so I knew I had an important task of keeping the energy high ahead of me. Speaking in front of this large of group was a first for me, I have spoken at many events, but never to thousands of youth, and certainly never in a professional soccer stadium! The stadium was full of university students that had come from 85 local universities for this event and their eagerness to change the world, their communities and their own lives was palpable. During my speech, I took a moment to record the youth and their greetings on my Windows Phone so I could share the excitement with the world.
With this incredible audience, I shared that for Indonesia to reach its potential and become the 7th largest economy in world by 2030 (according to a McKinsey study) and to grow its economy from .5 Trillion to 1.8 Trillion it will have to train an additional 58 Million workers and these youth will have to lead the charge. With these staggering statistics in mind, I shared with the youth what Microsoft is doing to help through Microsoft YouthSpark, the company’s initiative to help 300m young people get into jobs, access additional education and training or start their own business would be able to provide some of the support necessary in cooperation with the Ministry of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprise and other local partners.
Myself, far right, illustrating YouthSpark in a meeting in Manila.
YouthSpark has reached over 66 million youth this year, includes over 30 programs, 70 partners and is within 100 communities globally. The programs within YouthSpark, such as Innovate for Good, the Imagine Cup, the Microsoft Innovation Centers, BizSpark and DreamSpark directly benefit youth like the young entrepreneurs I spoke to in Indonesia by providing them with the opportunity to realize their own futures and receive support from Microsoft along the way.
After I highlighted how Microsoft is helping youth across the globe imagine and realize their full potential, I shared some entrepreneurial insights of my own. Youth entrepreneurs must learn to move from “passion to compassion” and from “personal to societal” in order to successfully enact change. This cycle involves four key concepts:
1) The path to success requires perseverance and being unreasonable helps because you do not take no for an answer and you will find ways to move forward by overcoming obstacles.
2) However, if you are unreasonable then you also have to be a learner. Lifelong learning therefore is another key to becoming successful.
3) Coping with failure was another consistent theme. People will fail but is it how one reacts to failure will eventually pave the way for success.
4) Finally one has to be compassionate – without thinking of the larger impact of your work on society you will not succeed as a change-maker.
The opportunity divide, between those youth who have the access, skills and resources to succeed and those who don’t, is real. We need new and innovative ways to bridge this divide. Creating a movement of youth change-makers is part of our commitment to bridge this divide and create an opportunity dividend. We have challenged these young leaders to learn something new, listen to novel ideas and be open to things they don’t understand.
After the event I was surrounded by many young people at the Microsoft booth who shared with me their stories which were inspiring and humbling. Two of them included Hasna Tsaniya Rananti and Garibaldy Widowo Mukti, both young entrepreneurs who started their company Nightspade while they were students at the Bandung Institute of Technology and winners of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2009. Hsana and Garibaldy developed game apps, and have hired over 20 people and are now generating income and creating a future for themselves. We have much to do to ensure that future generations are not lost as we struggle to come out of a major economic downturn that has gripped many nations and regions of the world.
Technology has a role to play in how we can level the playing field and how we can provide access to youth in underprivileged communities. But technology has to be connected with empowering youth by building their skills, by inspiring them to innovate and become change-makers. Finally we have to invest in them through time, talent and treasure so we can support them to realize their potential and that they create a world that they can thrive in.
By Lori Harnick, General Manager, Citizenship & Public Affairs
We knew that We Day in Seattle was going to be something special, but I’m not sure we were could have imagined the incredible energy, excitement and passion of the 15,000 young people who rocked Seattle’s KeyArena stadium yesterday. Athletes, activists, and actors – Magic Johnson, Martin Sheen, and Jennifer Hudson, to name just a few - congratulated teenagers from across the region on the positive actions they’ve taken in their communities and inspired them to do even more.
As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (pictured below) told the crowd yesterday, when you power your creativity and passion to help others with the latest cutting-edge technology, the only limit to your impact is your imagination. The young people who attended We Day are determined to change the world for the better, and we’re cheering them on every step of the way as they now channel their energy into We Act - their year-long community service projects and commitments to help others near and far.
We Day encapsulates many of the reasons we created Microsoft YouthSpark. We believe that inspired youth, empowered by technology, can have a profound impact throughout the world. Anyone who experienced yesterday’s event will have no doubt that today’s youth have the smarts, the talent, and the skills to make a real impact for a better tomorrow.
For a glimpse into yesterday’s excitement, including photos of our YouthSpark Reporters and Ambassadors, as well as a host of stars from Kid President to Demi Lovato, Jennifer Hudson and Macklemore, check out the slideshow. You can also read Steve Ballmer’s comments here.
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