Timing is everything, as SPA undergrad and social advocate Chris Golden well knows. The recent signing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which dramatically expands national service resources, and the explosion of interest in social media has made the timing just right for myImpact.org, a project hatched by Golden and former SPA student Nick Troiano.
Myimpact.org aims to be a one-stop forum for young people involved in public service to share best practices and show off their successes in volunteering. This point is key--research indicates that a major obstacle in getting young people to serve is proving that they can make a difference.
“Our ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between service and technology,” says Golden.
“We want to use the power of technology--and the power of the story--to compel more youth to get involved in service. Facebook, blogs, YouTube… There is so much content out there, but there needs to be a way to bring these pieces together and tell the story of public service uncluttered from everything else going on.”
SPA has been a fertile ground for testing and launching the nascent project, according to the student. Golden has met with professors to get their ideas and recently attended the Accelerating Social Entrepreneurship conference co-sponsored by SPA.
Golden is on track to graduate a year early, in May 2010, with a BA in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics & Government (aka CLEG)—a great fit for Golden, who is as interested in how these fields intersect as much as the fields themselves.
“American was always my top choice in schools. I am really interested in politics, government and journalism, and the program brings all my interests together,” says Golden, who was a writer, radio producer and anchor while in high school back in Connecticut.
During his brief time in DC, Golden has already interned for the IRS’ Office of the Chief Counsel and for Congressman Joe Courtney, where he had the honor of naming a piece of legislation (the PROTECT Act). He has also helped organize a youth conference on building democracy 2.0 for Mobilize.org.
“It is an extraordinary time to be working on these issues,” Golden said. “It’s exciting to see the White House have a blog, for example, with the kind of content previously inaccessible to the average citizen.”
“Now the public can not only access that content, but post their comments too. No one knows where all of this will end up, but I’m excited to be doing work that is at the center of it.”