California Youth Leaders visit Harvard for Lady Gaga’s Anti-Cyberbullying Event

AscentiveCyberbullying news from the Ascentive team

On Wedensday, 18 youth leaders selected from communities across the state by The California Endowment take part in the official launch of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, an ambitious new effort focused on empowering youth to be leaders and advocates in their communities.

Led by Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation has partnered with the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment and The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard to explore the best ways to reach youth and create a new culture of kindness, bravery, acceptance and empowerment.  BTWF, a non-profit charitable organization, will address issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development through research, education and advocacy.

Youth were selected to attend today’s Harvard conference in recognition of their leadership in The California Endowment’s 10-year $1 billion effort to improve community health in 14 underserved communities across the state.  These communities are working to improve their neighborhoods and schools and the BTWF mission to empower youth advocates to help change the places where they live, work, learn and play is perfectly aligned with the communities’ Health Happens Here initiative to create environments where all can live long, safe and healthy lives.

During the Born This Way launch event, California youth will take part in training to learn how to advance social change through digital and social media advocacy, and will be posting multimedia content live throughout the day of the event.  The youth also join in a Harvard-sponsored youth summit titled “Prevent Bullying, Create Caring Communities” involving more than a hundred young people from Boston and other communities.  California youth also will tour the Harvard University campus.

“We are thrilled to welcome this courageous group of California youth to the official launch of the Born This Way Foundation,” said Cynthia Germanotta. She added, “The bravery and leadership they’ve demonstrated in helping prioritize community health issues in their neighborhoods and schools is exactly what we hope to inspire across the country.”
 
The California youth delegation will be accompanied by California Endowment CEO Robert K. Ross, who believes strongly in the importance of youth leadership in advocating for improved community health.

“Opportunities like this don’t come often and we jumped at the chance to involve some of our Health Happens Here community youth leaders in this unique event that will empower, educate, and inspire them with ideas about how to make they can take back to their communities,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, M.D., President and CEO of The California Endowment.  “We’re thrilled to have a strong and vocal new ally for our youth in the Born This Way Foundation and Lady Gaga.”

At the conference, The California Endowment and Blue State Digital (a leading digital strategy agency) will cohost a Youth Advocacy Bootcamp at which youth leaders from around the country can be trained in online advocacy and the themes shared by Born This Way Foundation and The California Endowment.

The foundation’s launch day at Harvard will culminate in a keynote address by Lady Gaga, who will be joined by Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Deepak Chopra, U.S Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other luminaries committed to the ideals of the Born This Way Foundation to “lead youth into a braver new society where each individual is accepted and loved as the person they were born to be.”

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