Who we are
WaysToHelp.org was founded by a small group of people from eBay, JP Morgan Chase, McKinsey & Company, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, the Posse Foundation, Ronald McDonald Charities and Stanford University.
We exist to engage, inspire and enable high school students to make a positive difference in the world. We do this by making it easy for them to learn about, and take action against, 16 of today's most pressing social issues. At the highest level, we help teens engage in:
- Saving the environment
- Improving conditions in their communities
- Helping people in need
Teen time studies indicate that U.S. high school students spend more than half of their free time watching TV, socializing and playing on the computer.1 Additionally, in their remaining free time, roughly 40% of all high school students report using illicit drugs, 40% report smoking and 60% report using alcohol.2 Teens often pursue these activities simply because they don't have other engaging activities from which to choose.
Our programs utilize complementary in-school and online components to engage the entire student population of each school—not just one or two classrooms and not just students who self-select as leaders. The program is designed to generate intrinsic motivation in students to learn about the issues they find most personally interesting and to encourage them to actively share their thoughts on those issues with their friends. The result is a school-wide dialogue between students about their interests and how they can work individually, in groups, and with existing nonprofits to improve the conditions they care about most.
- Improved social skills (through broader socialization)
- Greater understanding of issues and compassion for individuals
- Increased willingness to engage in conversation about issues
- Increased confidence/empowerment
- Better performance in school
- A higher likelihood of voting
Additionally, connecting teens with existing nonprofits helps the nonprofits to fill critical resource needs at a time when the U.S. financial crisis has resulted in thousands of U.S. nonprofits seeing substantially increased demand and drastic reductions in funding availability.
In 2009 we completed a successful pilot of our stand alone program with several high schools on the San Francisco Peninsula responsible for raising nearly 1,000,000 meals for the hungry. In the Fall of 2010 we are collaborating with the Jefferson Awards for Public Service to promote the Youth Service Challenge to 7 million students in more than 10,000 schools nationwide.
For additional information see our Media section and like us on Facebook.
1 Calculated from CHANGING TIMES OF AMERICAN YOUTH: 1981—2003 Institute for Social Research,
University of Michigan, November 2004
2 Interpolated from teen drug use data presented by the National Institute of Health at http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/HSYouthtrends.html Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs 2005—2008