Youth Venture helps teams of young people start and lead organizations and businesses that address social issues and needs that the youth themselves identify. These so-called ventures aim to bring lasting benefit to the youths’ communities. Beginning in 2007, staff at Youth Venture conducted three projects designed to:
- Expand its reach to vulnerable youth populations and their communities. Youth Venture launched more than 290 health and health care ventures by and for vulnerable youth over the three-year project period. Nearly 1,000 young people were part of the teams that ran the projects. After launching a venture, teens showed a stronger push to reach educational goals, were more engaged in school and improved their planning skills and leadership capacity.
- Develop and implement strategies for its financial sustainability. By the completion of the project, staff had launched four initiatives to provide an income stream for Youth Venture and had established revenue-generating partnerships with corporations, universities and media organizations.
- Deepen its staff members’ understanding of and experience with “virtual world” communities, where young people create projects online that enable them to engage with their peers around issues of importance to them. Youth Venture launched 24 ventures in Teen Second Life, a Web-based community in which teens interact and work with other teens throughout the world to carry out projects in a virtual environment. Teens involved in the ventures said that they became more aware of real life social issues and were ready to use what they learned to create change in real life.