Announcing the Finalists of the @15 Community Impact Challenge

Ashoka’s Youth Venture and Best Buy Co., Inc. today announced the finalists of the second @15 Community Impact Challenge. Five teams of young social entrepreneurs will each receive $5,000 and five teams will be selected to receive $1,500 each from the @15 Fund to expand their local ventures.

“Best Buy is proud to support teen strengths through our partnership with Youth Venture,” said Brian J. Dunn, CEO, Best Buy Co., Inc. “The @15 Community Impact Challenge celebrates teens and empowers them with the tools they need to drive change and make a positive difference in their communities.”

Best Buy and Youth Venture have introduced a new element to the @15 Community Impact Challenge this year - each of the fifteen finalists will be provided with camcorders to film and post videos profiles online. From March 15 to April 2, voting will take place to select the winners.

The Fifteen @15 Community Impact Challenge Finalists are:

  • 121Reach / Fan, 17 - Johns Creek, GA. Venture objective: Expand the successful after school tutoring program at Chattahoochee High School and Taylor Road Middle School that has served over 200 youth to other local schools through starter kits and training.
  • AYFEEO / Alex, 16 – Bellevue, WA. Venture objective: Ensure all school children in the Greater Bellevue Area have school supplies and donate educational materials to international locations by holding back-to-school supply drives, the first of which gathered enough supplies for 100 local elementary school students.
  • Don’s Net Café (“Doin’ Some Good in the World!”) / Ana, 16 – Santa Barbara, CA. Venture objective: Expand outreach and hold events to educate community about team’s environment-focused community service events and tax assistance program, which completes over 600 tax returns each year.
  • Drinking Water for India / Rujul, 15 – Plainsboro, NJ. Venture objective: Build additional tube-wells and begin implementing rainwater harvesting projects in remote Indian villages as part of expansion of program which has already erected 17 wells and provided clean drinking water for 30,000 people.
  • Empower Our Youth / Thanh, 17 – Wellesley, MA. Venture objective: Further develop self-defense program, which has affected 400 students in seven schools, for inner-city public schools and raise awareness of the issue of sexual violence through the filming of a documentary showing the positive impact of self-defense classes.
  • Everybody Dance Now! / Jacqueline, 18 – Santa Barbara, CA. Venture objective: Expand the number of students in hip-hop dance program which has already impacted 800 youth by providing creative outlets and encouraging positive alternatives to violence and substance abuse.
  • Eye for the Future / Malvi, 16 – Watchung, NJ. Venture objective: Impact at least 20,000 underprivileged children throughout the world by funding education and building schools, libraries, and computer labs.
  • Film School 101 / Bryian, 18 – Los Angeles, CA. Venture objective: Continue to help young filmmakers produce short films and attend college by providing equipment, raising money for college scholarships, and holding film screenings, which have played to audiences of 250 guests and earned up to $500.
  • Hives for Lives / Carly, 15 – Devon, PA. Venture objective: Foster business relationships with distributors and invest in new bee hives in order to increase build on the over $160,000 the team has donated to basic cancer research.
  • Lincoln Climate Action Club / Alexander, 17 – Woolwich, ME. Venture objective: Monitor power consumption and install solar panels throughout the Newcastle community as part of global warming awareness program which has already sold town-wide reusable bags, obtained a no-idling vehicle policy in the high school parking lot, and collected batteries and ink cartridges for recycling.
  • Listen Up! – A New Initiative of Lil’s MDGs / Dylan Mahalingam, 14 – Derry, NH. Educate youth age 5 -10 to understand the Millennium Development Goals through movies, animations, songs, and games made available online and as CDs/DVDs.
  • Minga / Rebecca, 17 – Newton, MA. Venture objective: Speak directly to 5,000 youth and reach another 2 million through PSAs to raise awareness of the global child sex trade and inspire youth to take action against it.
  • SeniorLink / Aushim, 18 – Newton, PA. Venture objective: Expand program, which has already provided 100 computers and taught technology skills to seniors in two Pennsylvania nursing homes, by establishing local chapters throughout the country.
  • T.G.I.F. – Turn Grease Into Fuel / Alexander, 17 – Westerly, RI. Venture objective: Expand system of collecting and refining used cooking oil into biodiesel, a program which currently generates 30,000 gallons of biodiesel per year, to more locations and set up a seminar to help youth establish their own community service teams.
  • Woofin & Hoofin / Adin, 18 – Wheaton, IL. Venture objective: Further develop 5K fundraiser which raised over $5000 for a local animal shelter last year and educate future leaders through seminars and guides.

Thanks to the many winners from last year who served as guest judges, including Rachel Beenken (Kinard Hats for the Homeless), Zach Gass (School Yard Habitat), Wendi Oppenheim (The Opp-Guide for Community Service), Brady and Kyle Baldwin (My Own Book), Jack Chen (JJ Express), Talia Leman (, and Laura White (Wild and Water Swimming).