Disney Kicks off the Season of Giving With New 'Friends for Change' Grants for Youth-Led Environmental Service Projects

Dec 15, 2009, 14:29 ET from Youth Service America

New Holiday Version of Friends for Change Anthem "Send It On" to Debut in Celebration of the Grants

BURBANK, Calif., and WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the holiday spirit of giving, Disney, together with Youth Service America (YSA), today announced Disney's Friends for Change Grants to help kids that are making environmentally friendly changes in their communities. Disney's Friends for Change is a program that encourages kids everywhere to take steps together with their friends to help the planet. The Friends for Change Grants will fund kids' projects that help the environment and will look to engage children ages 5-18 as leaders in their communities. Disney, working with YSA, will award 150 $500 grants throughout 2010. Beginning today, information on how to apply is available at Disney.com/projectgreen.

To help spread the word, a new holiday-inspired version of the Friends for Change anthem, Send It On, performed by Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, will air on Radio Disney, Disney.com and Disney Channel throughout December. In addition to the song, the new Send It On video features behind-the-scenes footage of all the Disney stars that are part of Friends for Change and includes a special invitation for kids to benefit from the new grants.

"Over the past year, we've been inspired by the many kids who have taken steps to make their homes and communities a little greener as part of Friends for Change. From starting recycling programs to community gardens, their stories are truly inspiring and making a real difference," said Jennifer Anopolsky, senior vice president, Corporate Responsibility for The Walt Disney Company. "These new grants will provide seed money so kids can take their ideas even further."

"I am thrilled that Disney has invited Youth Service America to be part of the Friends for Change initiative. It underscores the work that YSA is doing around the world with the youth service movement," said Steve Culbertson, YSA president and CEO. "Children and youth want to make a difference in their communities, and the Disney's Friends for Change Grants will network young people who are truly invested in working toward creating a healthier planet."

Disney's Friends for Change Grants are open to schools, organizations and individuals planning service projects and will focus on projects implemented by children and youth ages 5-18. The goal of each grant is to inspire children to work with their families, friends, schools and communities to address critical needs in their local, national and global communities.

To be eligible, projects will need to be done any time during 2010 and should include one service or celebratory component on Global Youth Service Day, April 23-25, an annual campaign that mobilizes young people around the world to make a positive impact in their communities.

For more information about the Disney Friends for Change Grants, visit Disney.com/projectgreen.

Disney's Friends for Change helps kids help the planet through simple actions they can take in their everyday lives and the opportunity to help Disney decide how to distribute more than $1 million to environmental projects around the world. So far, kids have taken more than 1 million pledges that stand to prevent more than 70,000 tons of carbon emissions per year and save nearly 122 million gallons of water per month.

Youth Service America (YSA) improves communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5-25, serving in substantive roles. Founded in 1986, YSA supports a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement. The impact of YSA's work through service and service-learning is measured in student achievement, workplace readiness, and healthy communities. For more information, visit www.YSA.org.

Global Youth Service Day is an annual campaign that celebrates and mobilizes the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service and service-learning. For more information, visit www.GYSD.org.

SOURCE Youth Service America