In 2006, Adobe launched Youth Voices, an non-profit educational program to help young people use digital media to tell powerful stories that effect social change. Though AYV has reached more than 250,000 youth ages 13-19 in 60 countries, the program is primarily a classroom-based experience between educators and students. The company was looking to take the best elements of the program and supercharge it with the power and immediacy of social media.
Adobe invited Wrecking Ball to help define what a digital version of the program could be, then to design and build the concept. The result was an enterprise platform where youth around the world, ages 13-24, are empowered to address social issues using creativity by sharing video, photography, and other forms of digital media. The platform would be reused to power various campaigns from a host of partners – The Malala Fund, Sundance Institute, National Geographic, the Bully Project and others – to consolidate and promote the voices of the world’s youth and affect real change.
The first campaign launched on the platform was #withMalala, hosted by The Malala Fund, which asks users to address challenges faced by women in vulnerable communities seeking safe, quality education. The second campaign, Ignite What’s Next? (Sundance Institute) prompted young, aspiring filmmakers to create original short films interpreting the titular question. Each standalone instance of the platform provides a ‘safe place’ for youth to upload, vote, comment and share their content. Users contribute to the gallery by submitting material from their mobile device, tablet and/or desktop.
Since launching late 2015, the platform has enabled Adobe and its partners to promote the voices of nearly 500 youth participants worldwide, sharing points-of-view from this age group like never before. To date, the sites boast almost 500,000 project views with over 200,000 comments and many more contributions on the way.