MINNEAPOLIS — Ashoka's Youth Venture, a global organization supporting youth social entrepreneurs, and Best Buy Co. Inc. recently announced the five winners of the Technology for a Better World Campaign.
The winners will be recognized at the Jefferson Awards in Washington, D.C., for their contributions to public and community service. They will also spend a day at Ashoka's headquarters learning how to further expand their local ventures.
One of the winners of the campaign is 15-year-old Jonny Cohen of Highland Park, Ill., for GreenShields. Cohen began developing GreenShields, a polycarbonate shield that attaches to the front of school buses, to make buses more aerodynamic.
Cohen spends a lot of his time designing and testing prototypes with the help of interns from Northwestern University’s engineering department, and officials said early tests show fuel savings. The team won the Illinois Governor's Green Youth Award and received a donated school bus from Cook-Illinois Corp. so they could conduct ongoing tests of GreenShields.
SBF reported on Cohen’s invention in an April 2010 Along for the Ride blog post.
"These teams exemplify that youth view technology not only as a means of entertainment, but as a tool that can be harnessed for a wide-reaching, positive impact on their communities, and even on the world," Ashoka's Youth Venture Executive Director Gretchen Zucker said of the winners. "Hopefully the work these young change-makers are doing will inspire other youth to tackle social problems in their own communities."
The Technology for a Better World Campaign drew entries nationwide via Facebook and a network of partners, including the Jefferson Awards and Engineering for Change. The youth-led teams were judged based on their impact on a well-defined social issue and on the innovative use of technology, among other criteria.
The Technology for a Better World campaign is supported by Best Buy's Children's Foundation and also includes opportunities for up to 50 teams of young people ages 13 to 18 to tackle social issues with support from advisors, access to seed funding and fundraising tools, and opportunities to learn from Youth Venture's network of partners and over 4,000 venture teams worldwide.
"Best Buy would like to congratulate the winners of the Technology for a Better World campaign," said Susan Bass Roberts, director, community relations for Best Buy. "We are proud to support these young people in partnership with Youth Venture and applaud their efforts to make a difference in their communities through their innovative use of technology."