iCAREweCARE: Using social media to build a better world

iCAREweCARE combines two of the most powerful forces for social change today – social media and a new generation of inspiring social entrepreneurs.

Founded by 17-year old, Priyanka Jain, iCAREweCARE is the first student-led non-profit to leverage social technology for social good. Their mission is to create a globally aware, socially responsible, and action oriented generation aiming to help students take initiative and leadership roles in the movement for social change.

What distinguishes iCAREweCARE is its powerful social component. It enables students to choose what global issues they are passionate about and see what their friends care about. They are then provided with organizations in their local community that address these causes and can see where their friends are volunteering and start inviting their friends to volunteer together. In short, it makes social change, social.

This social aspect is critical to avoid community attrition or volunteer fatigue, two of the great challenges that any non-profit faces. To avoid this, iCAREweCARE lets students participate in a global conversation about how various issues are affecting people from different parts of the world. Students are also given the ability to “rate their experience” at an organization (based on how engaged they felt) so that other students can make educated decisions about where they want to volunteer.

Equally inspiring is how the non-profit was born of a need that simply had to be filled. Priyanka explains the genesis for the new non-profit:

“I began to notice how many students care about global issues but don’t know what to do about it. I realized our generation has never had a platform where we can find opportunities to act locally with our friends, as well as engage in a global conversation about these problems…Community service is a meaningful experience that is much more fun and impactful when done with friends through social networks, and iCAREweCARE is the first non-profit to encourage social change to be social.”

The example set by Priyanka is indicative of the enormous potential of the younger generation to build the future they want. She was recently honored by the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up program as a “Teen Role Model” to inspire girls to get involved in their communities, a wonderful program that We First also supports. She is the founder of the Women’s initiative at QuestBridge to connect bright, low-income girls to educational opportunities at the nation’s leading colleges. She is also the founder of the high school chapter of Circle of Women, a student-run organization building schools for girls in developing countries.

Through the example of inspired and inspiring individuals and through non-profits that tap into the potential of social media to scale social change, there is great cause for optimism. The world is ours to create and the future is a story we write every day. If you are young and committed to building a brighter future, I encourage you to join iCAREweCARE by visitng their website and following them on twitter.

Do you know any other inspiring youth-led non-profits? How else might social media be used to scale social change?