Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Week's Inspiring Pop Culture Moment: Friends for Change

Photo by Rick Rowell/Disney Channel

Each week we take a look around our pop culture world and try to find one moment that stood out as the most inspiring. It might be a celebrity who is doing charitable things, a TV shows that inspires us to be better or a philosophy that we should all strive to live by. Here is this week's most inspiring pop culture moment.

Disney recently announced the 2012 Friends for Change initiative, to inspire kids to make a difference in their communities. The teen stars of the Mouse House channel who have signed up to be this year’s Ambassadors are Debby Ryan from Jessie, Bella Thorne and Zendaya from Shake It Up and Ross Lynch and Laura Marano from Austin & Ally. They will take part in volunteer opportunities and work to encourage kids to do their part for their neighbors and the world at large.

Friends for Change Promotes Helping in Your Community

In the PSA promoting the 2012 Friends for Change program, Ryan stated, “I am going to roll up my sleeves and help a community in need.” And Lynch added, “Friends for Change is making a huge effort to change the planet… Change has to start somewhere. It can start with you.” Thorne and Zendaya commented, “We’re going to discover what it means to be a leader and how speaking out for what you believe in can create the greatest change.”

Disney Donates $750,000 to Friends For Change Partners

Disney has partnered with three non-profits to help spread their messages with the help of the teen Ambassadors. Each organization will receive a grant from Disney to aid in the efforts with funds totaling $750,000. The initiative started to take place in three phases which began on June 29. Disney Channel, Radio Disney and will show the teen stars in a series of interstitials as they travel the world to make it a better place.

In the first phase, running through August 16, Ryan will collaborate with Free the Children, the largest non-profit established for the purpose of kids helping kids with over 1 million youth involved worldwide. In this “Helping Communities – Volunteer” phase, Ryan will share her stories about volunteering to help build schools in India. will chronicle her journey and encourage kids to volunteer to help someone or some group in their local community.

In later phases, Thorne and Zendaya will take part in “Helping People – Be a Leader” with Free the Children from August 17 to September 27. Then Lynch and Marano will spearhead “Helping the Planet – Green Your Scene,” in partnership with TreePeople, from September 28 to November 30.

Kids Are Encouraged to Become Friends for Change

Kids are encouraged to go to the Friends for Change website and pledge to do various actions in order to “help people, communities and the planet.” They can promise to do an outdoor makeover, volunteer at a local charity, buy organic clothes, start a kindness patrol, honor a local hero, visit at a senior center or hospital and so much more.

In a recent press release, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, stated, “The bond our viewers have with our talent is deep and powerful. As ambassadors of Friends for Change, our talent can serve as a megaphone for the importance of pro-active community involvement, motivating kids and their families to discover the many rewarding ways we can all make our world a better place to live.”

For more information or to find out how to help in your community visit the Friends for Change website.

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