Help out a rural teen drop-in center!

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Help out a rural teen drop-in center!

Postby Spoom » Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:36 pm UTC

Hi folks,

My wife (scooter) is the director of the Northwestern Community Youth Center in Albion, PA. It's an afterschool drop-in center for middle and high schoolers; it provides a safe place for them to go after school in a rural area where home or the park would be their only other options, and for many, home is not a pleasant option. Right now, we offer snacks, video games, pool, a DVD player, ten internet-ready computers, and a place for them to hang out with their friends and do their homework. Almost everything is donated. We'd like to expand further and provide tutoring in the future, but money is tight right now.

We operate on about a $47k per year budget, and that includes my wife's salary (she works two jobs and I do web development, so we're doing OK, though the two jobs do get stressful at times). Our current budget comes from a combination of the local school board, the Ministerium (though to be clear, we don't proselytize students at all or require they be a specific or any faith), and private donations. We recently were able to get into the Pepsi Refresh Everything grant contest to potentially win $50,000 to expand (page link further down) and we were hoping you'd be able to help us out.

If you're not familiar with the Refresh Everything project, Pepsi decided that in lieu of a Superbowl commercial, they instead would put the $20M they would have spent on it into a publicly-voted grant competition. There are four categories ($5k, $25k, $50k, and $250k), and the top ten (top two in $250k) win that grant amount, based on votes from the public at large. Last month, a group called The Progressive Slate swept many of the grant programs, winning over $500,000. They were formally supported by the US Democratic party, and sent out reminder emails to everyone who signed up. Now, I'm not saying any of their programs were necessarily bad, but this is the sort of organization we're up against. We've been able to garner between 150 and 200 daily voters from our own personal social networks and the Center's, but we know that won't be nearly enough, as thankful as we are to have them.

We're in the $50k category as I mentioned, and we'll be using the money to create a quiet study area upstairs for kids to do their homework and access apps like Rosetta Stone, SAT prep software, and more. None of the money will go toward salary, unlike some other grants on the site. More details are available on our Pepsi Refresh page (below) as well as pictures of the Center.

Would you be able to vote for our cause? If so, you can vote three ways daily:

  • Through the website: At you can click the Vote button. You have 10 votes daily so if you want you can also vote for other worthy organizations (but selfishly we hope you'll use them in another grant category ;))
  • Through the Pepsi Refresh Facebook Application: You can install the application at and vote from Facebook. Pepsi requires that you "like" Pepsi in order to use the app, but you can remove the like from your profile afterward if you want.
  • By text: Text 102945 to PEPSI (73774). So far I haven't received any spam from Pepsi for doing this; I'll update here if that changes.

You can vote three times using these methods every day. Unfortunately the program is only open to US residents.

Thanks! If anyone has questions, we'll try to answer them as quickly as possible.

Edit: Just in case anyone thinks this is spam (and hence subject to the don't reply to spam rule), I asked for permission prior to posting.
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