The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2011, March 26-27

Bloomington United for Youth (BUY)

Paired with TST Media

BUY is an organization started in 1998 because community members recognized a need for Bloomington youth to have positive ways to engage in their community, with the hope that they would carry on those skills to other places in the world as they develop into adults. The activities focus on development of safe places for youth, interactions with caring adults, a healthy start, effective education and opportunities to help others. In 2000 BUY applied and was recognized as a Community of Promise through General Colin Powell's America's Promise: the Alliance for Youth.

Some of the activities and initiatives that BUY has coordinated are:

- Planting the Seeds - Bloomington youth in collaboration with the Bloomington faith community assisted senior citizens in our community with spring clean up

- Mini Golf Tournament - an opportunity for youth and established members of Bloomington to socialize and share each other's perspective

- coordinated with Hennepin County Oxboro library to meet with youth and gather needs which led to the development of the Youth Action Crew

- Box City Vigil - an overnight annual event now in its 6th year held on the State Capital plaza that brings high school students from across the state of Minnesota with the mission of raising awareness for youth homelessness; and raises funds for various Minnesota youth shelters.

- Teen Job Fair - an annual event in its 5th year that brings Bloomington youth and employers together

- Central Grounds - an initiative since 1998 to establish a safe and drug free teen center in Bloomington (as an alternative to the Mall of America). Activities for this purpose have included Battles of the Bands, meeting with local professionals for the development of business plans and architectural designs, securing liability insurance, and meeting with city officials. In March 2011 the efforts of hundreds of volunteer teens will be recognized with the opening of a small teen center space in Bloomington's Senior Citizen Center.

- BUY Volunteer Recognition Event - an annual event that recognizes outstanding contributions to our community that support BUY's mission by individual youth, youth organizations, individual adults, and community organizations.

What new functionality we are looking for

Some of the features we would like in a new and improved website would be:

- having the look "vamped up"; professional but highly enticing to youth

- have access to various social media links (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, My Space, etc.)

- links to our community partners (schools, city, libraries, etc.)

- have drop down menus so information is more easily located within the website

- easy ways to post pictures or video of events and update them regularly

- make it easily edited by volunteer students

- password protected "members" only area for internal communications

- capacity for people to volunteer and/or make a donation (i.e. to get involved) via the website

How the new functionality will help

A more enticing website will make it easier to spread the word of BUY's mission and achievements, and encourage youth and adults to join our efforts. Especially now that we have finally seen our dream of a teen center/coffee house come to life. We need a way to communicate its opening, calendar of events, volunteer needs, etc. Also a new enhanced interactive website will help develop similar groups in other parts of the state to set up organizations like ours so that all of Minnesota youth can have community support.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

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13 Messages from Supporters

2011-02-05 18:54:18 UTC
Flora Tsukayama

Bloomington United for Youth (BUY) has nurtured youth to be a positive leader, to enhance and improve quality of life for youth and the community it serves. We are very proud of every accomplishments our youth leaders have obtained. With each projects BUY find involvement, youth is our focus. The projects have continued year after year as each graduating youth mentor younger members to continue the projects.
Box City Vigil, Teen Job Fair, Youth Coffeehouse, and many many projects have years of youth leaders passing its leadership to the next generation of youth with the support and guidance of BUY. Technology now plays a major role in reaching youth, but with BUY being a volunteer, non-profit organization, having a successful website has been a huge challenge. We would love to have this chance to have such service to reach and serve more youth in our community. It will be our dream come true that we get picked for your service. Thank you and Sincerely, Flora Tsukayama

2011-02-05 19:49:55 UTC
Maureen Bartolotta

Bloomington United for Youth has shown to be THE place where Bloomington kids can bring their dreams and ideas to the table and have caring adults give them advice and contacts to help them make their dreams a reality. I am thinking in particular of the Box City Vigil event, which began as a proposal to BUY and has turned into a state-wide event, to the point of being recognized by the state legislators.

Please give BUY your consideration of their need and their ability to reach out to Bloomington ad the greater community with a bigger and beter website!!

2011-02-05 21:43:11 UTC
Monica Williams

It takes a community to give youth a pathway to prosperity. I support all the Bloomington for Youth iniatives and as a community member I would like to see it grow. A new website will support that goal.

2011-02-06 02:30:49 UTC
Cindy McInroy

It has been with amazement that I have gotten to see the energy and action of teens in Bloomington get together and make things that they want to see happen truly happen, with the minimal guidance of adults from across the Blooomington community. In a time when teens do not always get the most positive press it is organizations like BUY that help to change that impression. Development of future leaders and philanthropists is only one small part of what these kids become when they leave high school and the BUY organization.

However we live in a time of media influence and electronic communications, so having an opportunity to be a recipient of the Website Challenge not only would help or website, but also would be an example to our youth of a giant organized adult volunteer effort (with its home base in Bloomington no less:) and give some of our own BUY high school "nerds" another avenue for experiential growth!

2011-02-07 01:16:39 UTC
Rachel Berkowitz

As the youth co-chair of Bloomington United for Youth, I believe that nothing would help our non-profit board give back to the community more than if we had a functioning and "hip" website! It can be hard at times to attract the teens in our city without being able to send out a link about our events. Our initiatives have grown enormously over the years, and it would be amazing to watch them expand even more if we had this new outlet to grow into! If we were selected for this incredible opportunity, we'd be able to do even more for our community than we already do. THANK YOU!

2011-02-07 01:49:57 UTC
Mary Allen

As a past Chair of BUY, I got to know many fantastic youth in the Bloomington Community. It was extremely rewarding to be involved and to help the youth of our city see their ideas and dreams become reality. For a group of volunteers to accomplish so much on a "shoestring" budget is inspiring and gives me hope for the upcoming generations! In order to keep up with these new generations, BUY needs a great website and the ability to attract more youth with all the new social media. Thanks for any help you can give us!

2011-02-07 04:20:04 UTC
Jon Oleson

I'm a member and former president of the Bloomington Daymakers Rotary Club, a local presence within the Rotary International service organization. Helping K-12 age youth succeed is a major focus of our club. We want to support programs that are effective and were delighted to discover three years ago that BUY was willing to let us assume sponsorship of the Bloomington Teen Job Fair. (BUY seeks out or creates good ideas to help young people, gets them started and typically then finds an organization to continue their development so they can focus on developing new programs.) The Job Fair, like other programs BUY has launched, was well conceived. BUY involves teens in a really significant role---we like that! We are impressed with BUY and ask for your assistance in helping BUY improve its website so that it can more effectively draw Bloomington youth to these wonderful opportunities.

2011-02-07 15:04:31 UTC
Brad Riebel

Bloomington United for Youth (BUY) would greatly appreciate new website development from The Nerdery. I am a member and former president of the Bloomington Optimist Club, a local club within the Optimist International service organization whose motto is Friend of Youth. BUY is a youth organization that deserves ongoing support to "friend" more youth and would love to add The Nerdery to our list of community partners who support the development of youth. Please help us continue to support the youth of our community.

2011-02-07 15:43:59 UTC
Denise Reese

It takes many parts of the community to get on board to rally around youth and Bloomington United for Youth (BUY) has effectively brought the community together to do this. I have especially appreciated how BUY has created meaningful opportunities for middle school and high school age youth. BUY has done a great job of reminding the community that it take all of us to care about youth and support them in finding and sharing their sparks.

2011-02-07 21:15:19 UTC
Les Fujitake

As the Superintendent of Bloomington Public Schools, I consider Bloomington United for Youth (BUY) a key strategic partner. We are partners because of our shared goal of positive youth development.

In addition, BUY is an exemplary community organization because BUY:

* is an all volunteer program
* has a long history (over 20 years of service to our community)
* has a long tradition of outstanding leadership
* is a replenisher of social capital in our community
* creates opportunities for students to lead and serve
* has a string of achievements. Their most recent and noteworthy achievement is the creation of a community teen center.

Your support of BUY will result in a exponential return on your investment.

2011-02-08 01:24:46 UTC
David Allen

The dedicated volunteers of Bloomington United for Youth really make a difference. From 2000 to 2009, when I had some involvement with BUY, I saw that they impacted thousands of kids through such events as battles of the bands, job fairs, Bloomington Loves Its Kids events, and recognition awards. In addition, many kids also had terrific opportunities to interact with adults, learn leadership and business skills, make a difference and (above all) have lots of fun!

2011-02-08 20:39:26 UTC
Michael Riebel

I have been involved with Bloomington United for Youth since the 7th grade. Now a sophomore in college I have realized the impact that being involved in this great organization has done for myself. Through my involvement with the board, Box City Vigil, and the Teen Job Fair, I was able to grow as someone who was greatly involved in the Bloomington community. This organization does so much for the youth of the community that having a new website would bring so much more potential to their efforts. Our culture right now is all about “googling” for information and finding out about organizations on the web. With a new website BUY would be able to reach more community members and grow the initiatives even more then they already have. This is an awesome opportunity and you would be doing something great for an organization that really deserves it.

2011-02-09 23:10:31 UTC
Dwight Geisler

I am currently the President of the Bloomington Daymakers Rotary Club and have been a BUY member for the past two years. I have had the opportunity of working with many BUY members on the Bloomington Teen Job Fair and have been very impressed with their hard work and dedication on this very important community service project. It has been especially gratifying to utilize the talents of the Buy members who are students. They develop leadership and organizational skills that will help them become our future leaders. On behalf of the Bloomington Daymakers I offer this testimony in support of BUY, and ask for your assistance in helping BUY improve its website so that it can more effectively draw Bloomington youth to these wonderful opportunities.

Our Mission

BUY is a volunteer organization that works to engage the entire Bloomington community in the positive development of youth. BUY is composed of members from local government, schools, the faith community, businesses, civic and service organizations, as well as youth. BUY's philosophy is based on the 40 Developmental Assets developed by the Search Institute.