Jasmine Babers, 16, of Rock Island, IL, Wins SparkOpportunity Challenge to Connect Young People to Education, Employment Print
News Releases - General Info
Written by Caitlin Johnson   
Friday, 08 June 2012 11:27
10 Winners Announced at White House Youth Summit, Featured in Jon Bon Jovi Video

June 4, 2012 (Washington, DC) - Jasmine Babers of Rock Island, IL, is a winner of the SparkOpportunity Challenge, an innovative "crowdsourcing" competition that asked young people to share their ideas on how to create local jobs and opportunities for youth. Babers, 16, won for Love, GIRLS Magazine, which teaches teenage girls about work skills, marketing, sales, writing, and photography.

The ten winners, all between the ages of 15 and 35, were announced at the White House Youth Summit and in a video featuring Jon Bon Jovi, musician and member of the youth-focused White House Council for Community Solutions. The winners receive an iPad, start-up grants of $1,500, and mentoring from recognized business and civic leaders to help make their ideas a reality.

At a time when more than 6.7 million young people are unemployed and not in school, Jon Bon Jovi traveled the country talking to thousands of young people who had practical, yet inventive ideas to help their struggling peers. Again and again, they asked how they could share their solutions and where they could be heard.

The Challenge created an opportunity for youth to turn their ideas into concrete solutions and generate support through their social networks. One hundred and thirty-five people from across the country submitted ideas on topics ranging from making higher education more affordable to helping autistic youth find meaningful employment. More than 10,000 votes were cast in just 10 days.

To all who entered, Jon Bon Jovi said, "Your ideas are promising and inspiring solutions to the employment crisis for young people."

The Challenge was developed by SparkAction and The Youth Leadership Institute in partnership with 35 leading youth organizations across the country.

The organizers developed the Challenge in support of the White House Council for Community Solutions' call for the nation to do more to reconnect young people with the education, training and comprehensive social supports that are critical for long-term employment and lifelong economic independence.

Visit www.sparkopportunity.org to see Jon Bon Jovi announce the winners on video and for more detailed information on the winning ideas.

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The SparkOpportunity Challenge is led by three organizations:

The Forum for Youth Investment is a nonprofit, nonpartisan "action tank" dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21®: ready for college, work and life. It was founded by Karen Pittman, a nationally recognized pioneer of the field of youth development in the United States.

SparkAction, which developed the Challenge idea and platform, is a collaborative journalism and advocacy website to mobilize action by and for children and youth. Its stories and action tools help concerned young people and adults get informed and get involved across the full range of issues affecting children, youth and families.

The Youth Leadership Institute has been an innovative leader in field of youth development for over 20 years, working to build communities that invest in youth and support young people in their work for effective community change. YLI serves youth and communities through advocacy, training and consulting services, and through community-based programs.
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