Uncategorized catherine-dave-and-geoff-cook

Published on May 13th, 2009 | by Shirley Siluk Gregory


Teens’ Virtual Yearbook Raises Thousands for Charities

Catherine, Dave and Geoff CookHow neat is this? Two kids — brother and sister Dave and Catherine Cook — decided the age-old tradition of school yearbooks was just dumb … and decided to create an alternative that was not only more useful, more entertaining and more interactive for today’s up-and-coming generation, but could also help make the world a better place.

The Pennsylvania-based creators of myYearbook have gone beyond mere social networking to cause-based social networking. Their site’s Causes section encourages teens in the 10-million-member-and-counting network to turn their lunch money into real money for charity.

The Cook siblings write, “The genius of Causes is in connecting these three very different groups — Teens, Sponsors, and Charities — and bringing them together to make a difference in the world. We currently cap our total monthly donation from myYearbook at $20,000 US dollars per month — which makes us … one of the largest sources of donations from young people — and we intend to increase that limit as we get more sponsors to support this endeavor.”

And what has Causes achieved so far? According to the site, participating teens have so far:

  • Removed 33,084,500 ounces of CO2 from the atmosphere;
  • Saved 27,965,962 square feet of rainforest;
  • Bought 58,785,012 calories of food for animals in need;
  • Bought 604,303,459 ounces of clean water;
  • Provided 14,684,784 square inches of blankets for the homeless; and
  • Bought 6,450,795,576 milligrams of teddy bear stuffing for children.

By the end of this month, myYearbook’s Causes is expected to have generated more than $150,000 in “lunch money” for a variety of charities, according to another brother, Geoff Cook, who serves as the company’s CEO.

Let’s see your standard-issue, old-fashioned print yearbook rival that.Keep up to date with all the hottest urban planning news by subscribing to our (free) newsletter.

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About the Author

Shirley Siluk Gregory, a transplanted Chicagoan now living in Northwest Florida, represents the progressive half of Green Options' Red, Green and Blue segment. She holds a bachelor's degree in Geological Sciences from Northwestern University but graduated in 1984, just when the market for geologists was flatter than the Florida landscape. Just as well, though: she had little interest in spending her life either in a laboratory or, heaven forbid, an oil field. So, of course, she went into journalism. After extremely low-paying but fun and educational stints at several suburban Chicago weeklies and dailies, Shirley and her then-boyfriend/now-husband Scott found themselves displaced by a media buyout and spending the next several years working as freelancers. Among their credits: The Chicago Tribune, a publication for the manufactured-housing industry, and Web Hosting Magazine, a now-defunct publication that came and went with the dotcom era. Shirley's always been concerned about nature and conservation (and an avid pack-rat, as her family can attest to), but became even more rabidly interested in the environment primarily due to two factors: the growing signs that global warming was real and threatening, and the birth of her son, Noah, in 2003. Suddenly, the prospect of a world that might not be quite as habitable in 40 or 50 years took on a whole new, and personal, meaning. Living where she lives now also helped light the fire of Shirley's environmental awareness: her hometown was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and beaten up again by Hurricane Dennis in 2005. That, and the fact that she and her family were vacationing in New Orleans until the day before Katrina -- and spent 12 hours driving home for a trip that normally takes 3 -- has made Shirley deeply appreciate how fragile our lifestyles are, and how dependent they are on sound management of natural resources and sustainable living practices. That's why she's become a passionate reader and writer about all things green and sustainable.

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