29 February 2008


The February/March GenV.net contest is in full swing and this type, the prize is HUGE – an 8 gig Ipod Touch! Check it out now by clicking here, or at: http://www.genv.net/en-us/node/5521

(Also, I decided to include a random pic of the Llamas from our stay in Oregon. Why not, right? Here's my Oregonian friend Kyle as a childhood actor, as well as a few of the farm and drive through Oregon. So pretty!)

Because Everyone Deserves An Education

Our last few days in Minnesota were spent freezing to death with Team NAVIGATE and at the High School For Recording Arts. After a pit stop at our AWESOME Mid-West Youth Venture office we headed downtown to meet with the Lead Venturer, Ally and Tech Guru of Team NAVIGATE.

Inspired by their own personal stories as well as the experiences of their close friends and family, they set out to help undocumented high school seniors with college admissions and financial aid across the state of Minnesota. “There is so much bad information out there, and we want to make sure that kids know there is a place for them and that they have options in pursuing a college degree.” These undocumented kids are here not by their own choosing but as a result of decisions made by their parents. They’ve worked hard in school and in most cases, rank in the top 5% of their graduating classes. As senior year comes into full-swing and the college search intensifies, most of these students are either told they cannot go to college or can only go to a community college, which is absolutely not true.

“We understand the situation with immigrants but if a kid who is here not by their own choice wants to get an education so they can be a more productive member of society then shouldn’t they be allowed to,” the Lead Venturer asked me. I had to agree. Education for all, I say, and so do they. They’re online as well. Check them out at www.NavigateMN.org.

Then we headed east to St. Paul (apparently there is a huge rivalry and no, the two cities are NOT actually one giant city with the same central downtown. Be prepared for ritual mocking should you make the same mistake I did). Our destination was The High School For Recording Arts, a charter-esque school offering musically oriented teenagers the opportunity to incorporate singing, recording and producing into their curriculum (they also let me have some studio time and lets just say, with a little synthesizing, anyone can sound like Britney Spears – no joke).

Ashoka’s Youth Venture has partnered with the school to actually teach a core course where students walk through the process of launching a venture over the course of a semester. I talked to them about the global movement, showed some of our awesome new videos then listened to them talk about what types of Ventures they were hoping to launch.

From a hip hop dance team to a youth-oriented record label that would offer at-risk youth an alternative to gangs and drugs, the whole class was turning their own struggles into real solutions that could help more young people avoid some of the struggles they had overcome. “It’s a blessing to be at this school and to get another chance,” Flo told me. “Now I gotta make the best of it and do good for someone else. That’s what it’s about.”

I couldn’t agree more.

28 February 2008

Help Us Name The Car!

Well, we've cruised a solid 3400 miles in The Dream It. Do It. Mobile at this point and our "wheels" are in desperate need of a name. It's Malena's car, so she gets final veto, but please help us!

What should we name our Blue Scion Xa that's carried us so kindly across the good old US of A? Please comment with suggestions!

New Video - Update From Minneapolis!

Well, we're in Minneapolis and things are grand! We've had some incredible site visits combined with some serious quality time with Grandma Ellen. You know you're jealous, or at least, you will be once you've watched this clip! Enjoy.

Road Trip Day 15 - Minneapolis

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The link, if it doesn't work: http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=29288083

Also here:

27 February 2008

NEW VIDEO! West Coast Recap!

Exciting stuff! Here's the first video documenting Malena and my incredible trip across the good old US of A. This covers the West Coast from LA to Seattle vis The Bay area and a Llama farm in Oregon (you'll see). Lots of great teams, places and people! Enjoy, and pass it along!

The link, in case it doesn't embed:


Turning Bad To Good, Then Paying It Forward

When I first started traveling and meeting young people, I was shocked by the power and spirit of our youngest Venturers – 12 and 13 year-olds who were articulate, passionate and driven. Now, 10 months later, it seems more like the norm, especially up North. First it was Jessica in Seattle and now it’s three young women in Burnsville, Minnesota (just south of Minneapolis/St. Paul) who have turned their own life struggles into positive change for their communities.

We braved the cold (do you think you know what cold is? Well, unless you’ve been to Minnesota in the winter, complete with blistering wind, I’m going to have to say you don’t) and headed south to The Garage, a Burnsville community center where middle school and high school kids can hang out, hold group meetings, get homework, play video games and throw their own concerts, all entirely free. The center itself was a perfect model for what every community in America should be doing to support at-risk youth; give them a safe space to interact and express themselves in a positive manner.

Minutes after walking through the doors, multiple people approached us with questions and inquiries about their soon-to-be Ventures. The local reps were local celebs, with information they sought. I kept hearing, “I want to start a program for this and I need that,” and “I have this idea but I don’t know what to do next.” I sensed this general attitude among people at The Garage that doing something positive for their community was less the exception and more the rule. “Oh yeah, everybody is in something that does good stuff,” one girl told me. “Why wouldn’t we be?”

After fielding a solid 30 minutes of questions I sat down with three of the local superstars to learn more about their Ventures. The first, Latinos Unidos, was a group set up to offer an outlet and community support for Latino youth in the community. “It’s a great way to build a sense of togetherness and understanding between us,” the current leader told me. “I think it’s so important to have that outlet, and I want to give that to people here.”

The second, called Girl’s Support Group, was set up for young women in the community to have a place to air their problems and differences while offering a safe space to share their own personal struggles. “I’ve been through a lot – probably more than most 30-year-olds and I’m only 12. I had so much anger and I needed an outlet – a place I could share what I was bottling up inside. This lets me do that, and it feels good to offer the same to the rest of the girls here. We do our best to avoid drama, but hey, we’re teenage girls. It’s normal,” she said. “At least this way we’re dealing with it.”

The third, formerly called Show Stoppaz (they are currently coming up with a new name and seem to be working through a Prince-like state of “formers” and simple, “the group”) came around to offer a positive outlet for young girls and boys to both express themselves and gain ownership over something. “I’ve been through a lot too,” the current leader said, “and the only time I felt happy for a long while was when I was dancing. A lot of other people around here feel the same way, and it also just feels good to be looked up to by people and know that what I’m doing is helping them.” Their next goal? Start competing across the state and across the country.

More than anything, The Garage shows exactly what happens when you tip the attitudes of an entire community. Expectations change and young people respond, demanding more of not just themselves, but everyone around them. Indeed, it has definitely become a culture of positive action, and I hope it serves as inspiration for other groups to give youth the same opportunities.

26 February 2008


American Classic

Keep track of us. It's really really easy! There are two ways:



2. We're on Twitter! Go to my twitter page, sign up, and follow me! You'll get all the juicy roadside details as they happen!

The link: http://twitter.com/KYLETAYLOR

Basically, there's SO MUCH happening, and up-to-the-minute updates are THE DEAL. Join us in the car!

Playing Catch-Up! Pictures To Be Seen!

Wall Drug Sign - All Over South Dakota!
Ok, so we're in Minneapolis now and had a great site visit today, which I'm going to write all about tomorrow, along with more on another one of our awesome teams here in Minneapolis! Today, I wanted to play catch-up to get you to Minneapolis with us, and what better way to do that than with pictures? Above you'll see one of TWO HUNDRED signs positioned throughout South Dakota leading weary travelers to the now World Famous Wall Drug, home of the world's largest free-standing dinosaur and rabbit/elk fusion creature (bazaar, yes). The rest are below, so, here goes:

Photos from our pit-stop on the Llama farm are here:


Photos from our amazing site visits in Seattle are here:


Photos of Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and the rest of our Northern crossing are here:


Needless to say,

22 February 2008

Mount Rushmore!

From Seattle To St. Paul/Minneapolis we had to make a few pit-stops. It turns out that Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore were just perfect! Here are a few snapshots of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. I also included one of Crazy Horse and the lunar eclipse that took place last night. Good stuff! Onward to Minnesota, Don't Cha Know!

20 February 2008

Yellowstone is GORGEOUS

Spent the day in Yellowstone National Park! It started in Gardiner, Wyoming with super American-size portions for lunch, then we cruised into the park. Only the North Route was open, but it was snowy and absolutely gorgeous. Just too beautiful for words, so here are some pictures:


Some awesome new bloggers caught a glimpse of us in Seattle and decided to give us a shout out! It's called faceblogging.com I've reprinted it here, as they use a mask so I can't link to the exact article. Still, check out their homepage and see what else they've got!

Video Recap - Seattle

Just a short recap of our time in Seattle. Are we ridiculous? I think YES. Enjoy...

In case it doesn't embed:


19 February 2008

Seattle Supersonics? How About SuperChangemakers?!?!

Corny, I know, but pretty darn true. Malena and I just wrapped up three days in the Space Needle City (you know, it’s not that tall…), complete with delicious pasta, a visit to Pike’s Fish Market (they really launch those fish), lakes, trees, mountains, general fantasticness (can you tell I liked the place) and some absolutely incredible teams.

The first was started by a college fraternity called Sigma Beta Rho. They’ve partnered with the city’s homelessness reduction team to support those individuals most in need ofassistance and activity. The agency places mentally and physically handicapped homeless men and women in subsidized housing where they pay a fixed portion of their Social Security benefits toward rent, allowing them to live the rest of their lives in dignity. Still, these individuals lack a great deal of activity in their lives.

Sigma Beta Rho decided to fill that gap by developing community gardens at a number of these facilities across the city. Last year brought one garden and this year they’ll be expanding to five locations, engaging over a hundred college students in their organizations and hundreds of the community’s residents!

The second team, Kill The Chill, has partnered with Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission Homeless Shelter and Rehabilitation Center to provide hand-made scarves and hats to the residents in what has become Seattle’s coldest month – February. “We really saw how donations poor in during Thanksgiving and Christmas but once New Year passes, we seem to forget that there are still people in need. We’re working to fill that gap,” said Julia, the organization’s Director, who also serves as the Key Club President at her high school. So far they’ve donated over a hundred scarves and are planning a round of hats next. “It’s just the right thing to do,” the group explained.

Our final Seattle visit was with a group called Richard’s Rwanda. Started by 12-year-old Jessica last November, Richard’s Rwanda raises money to pay for tuition, books and clothes for girls in Rwanda who suffered from the 1994 genocide. A man named Richard stayed with her family last summer while doing fundraisers in the Seattle area and Jessica was moved by the stories of young girls in the country who did not have access to education. “I just felt like I had been so lucky my whole life, and I wanted to do something to give young women in Rwanda a chance at being powerful leaders in their country,” Jessica told me. So far they’ve raised $7,000 through fundraisers and bake sales.

We actually stopped by one of these fun-filled affairs. Imagine six 12-year-old girls behind a table covered in cookies, brownies and lemon bars selling for a cause, one of whom was sipping Tab. I mean, Tab? I thought people stopped drinking that in 1986. Their pitch? “Would you like to buy a cookie and support young girls in Rwanda who suffered from the genocide?” How does any decent-minded person say no?

Jessica will be returning to Rwanda in August to hand-deliver the money she has raised so far. Her next target? “I want to build a school for girls in the capital city. We’ll get there. I’m confident we’ll get there.” Oh yeah, did I mention she’s twelve?

On to Missoula, Montana next – a pit stop on our northern crossing…more soon!

Finally, a funny pic - Molly, friend of YV, attempted to feed the seagull, who decided Molly wasn't so great...

-Kyle Taylor