Video Volunteers join Mayor Fischer’s Give A Day Week [Opinion: The Arena]

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Taryn, video volunteer, 55,000 Degrees

This is Give A Day Week in Louisville, and students from more than a hundred public, private and Catholic schools will be tackling community projects, during this week of community service, April 14-22.  Mayor Greg Fischer’s goal for the Give A Day week is to set a world’s record for caring – with at least 55,000 volunteers and acts of compassion.

To kick the week off, more than a dozen local educational institutions are hosting videotaping sessions this week, to collect student testimonials to post on You Tube. The “video volunteers” are part of a project coordinated by 55,000 Degrees, the community’s collaborative movement to add 55,000 more college graduates in Louisville by 2020.

Students from universities, colleges and high schools across the region are posting scores of brief video messages on the 55,000 Degrees’ You Tube channel. The messages are both inspirational and informational – everything from personal stories of overcoming obstacles to insider tips for paying for college.

“On-line videos and social media are important sources of information that are motivating people to take action today,” said Fischer, who is chairman of the 55,000 Degrees board of directors. “By sharing their success stories, student volunteers will help us convince more people to finish college and earn their degrees.”

Back in 2003, when the city and county governments merged, our community was at a crossroads.  With unity came a community consensus to take stock of our city's strengths and our challenges.  Whether the issue was attracting new jobs or improving quality of life for all residents, the top priority for the new city of Louisville to flourish became increasingly clear: Education.

The Greater Louisville Project, an organization that has benchmarked the city's progress since merger, consistently listed education as the most important deep driver for positive change. And the community had united behind a number of education initiatives including improving reading and graduation rates.

In October 2010, a new public-private partnership called 55,000 Degrees took on this mission with the support of local foundations to launch Louisville into the top tier of our competitor cities with the bold goal of adding 40,000 bachelor's degrees and 15,000 associate's degrees by 2020.

55,000 Degrees invites you to get inspired by the videos of future, current, and alumni students on the 55K YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/55Kdegrees.  For more information about 55,000 Degrees, go to www.55000degrees.org

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