Standing up to bullying, one tweet at a time
According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, one in four young people says they've experienced hurtful behaviors online — which can lead to low self-esteem, anger, frustration, and suicidal thoughts. As part of our efforts to fight online bullying and promote positive online behaviors, we supported the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital in launching postingpositive.org and yllub.org ("bully" spelled backward), which encouraged teens and their parents to stand up to online bullying and promote stories of good.
The sites invited social media users to share photos of acts of kindness, celebrate positive actions that praise people rather than put them down, and post affirming comments such as these:
Making memories with a friend is never a waste of time. #friendship
"U can only watch injustice go on 4 so long until you're compelled to say something. To speak out against it." @macklemore #postingpositive
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see — Mark Twain #postingpositive
The sites were part of our anti-bullying efforts in 2014. In October, we launched a Social & Emotional section on our award-winning Parent Toolkit website. Produced by NBC News' Education Nation and sponsored by Pearson, the world’s largest education company, the section features guides — broken down by grade level — to help parents improve their children’s emotional competency, relationship building, and social skills. The section also features insights and advice from teachers, academic experts, and renowned research centers, including the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab.
The good neighbor app
People say close-knit neighborhoods make them feel safer and more content. Yet busy schedules and changes in neighborhood design can make it difficult to stay connected. We set out to change that in January 2014 with EveryBlock.com, a free website and mobile app that gives users the full scoop on everything that’s going on in their neighborhoods.
Launched in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Philadelphia, and the Boston area, EveryBlock’s personalized news feed makes it easy for users to communicate with neighbors, share what’s happening on their block, and discover interesting content from around the community. EveryBlock gathers tidbits such as neighborhood-related news, restaurant reviews, event information, crime data, blog posts, and more.
Supporting champions for change
After witnessing too many of her friends being harassed online, Jasmine Babers made it her mission to build the self-esteem of teenage girls. At the age of 15, she founded Love, GIRLS Magazine, which features articles about the struggles and accomplishments of individual girls in addition to exercise, fashion, school, and life tips.
Jasmine was among 10 recipients of our 2014 Characters Unite Awards, inspired by USA Network’s award-winning Characters Unite public service program. The annual awards honor extraordinary individuals who promote tolerance, acceptance, and respect in their communities. Honorees received $5,000 grants from USA Network and participating distributors and were featured on air in PSAs, at charactersunite.com, in social media, and at hometown award ceremonies.
Along with running her magazine, Jasmine leads community-wide anti-bullying events, produced an all-female theater production called Lessons in Love, and coordinates the annual Love Awards to honor the achievements of local girls. Her fellow Characters Unite honorees included Jerald White, founder of the New Orleans Loving Festival, which challenges racism through outreach and education; and Tashmica Torok of the Firecracker Foundation in Lansing, Michigan, which provides support and resources to children who have survived sexual trauma.
Helping military families take control of their finances
From logging in to U.S. accounts while overseas to maintaining a balanced budget during their deployment, military families face complex financial challenges. NBC News and Citi are helping service members navigate the financial impact arising from deployments and relocations with the free e-book Operation Money: A Financial Guide for Military Service Members and Families. Authored by Jean Chatzky, financial editor of NBC’s TODAY, the e-book features a step-by-step guide to reducing debt, information on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and tips on military service clauses in lease contracts.
Video brings United Way campaign to life
Sometimes the most meaningful media we produce are the stories we share with and about our very own employees. In the case of our commitment to United Way, a compelling original video connected with employees and inspired them to donate — for very personal reasons.
The video profiled three Comcast NBCUniversal employees who did more than just share their stories of how each of them benefited from United Way. They put real and familiar faces on some of the challenges facing our communities. Veronica Wright, an administrative assistant for XFINITY Home in Philadelphia, was one of those faces.
Twenty years ago, Veronica was raising a family as a single mother, juggling everyday expenses like rent, day care, food, and utilities, when she learned about Habitat for Humanity, a United Way–supported organization that helps families find safe, affordable homes.
She applied to the program and soon found herself working alongside Habitat volunteers to renovate what would become her new home. Veronica’s personal connection to United Way is one reason she still participates in the annual campaign. "I give because I know firsthand the impact that United Way can have on a person’s life," Veronica says.
Veronica’s story and those of two other employees stirred tremendous response and outreach from Comcast NBCUniversal employees everywhere. "I was so touched by the emails and phone calls, especially from people I’d never met," Veronica says. And in 2014, our employees set a company record with $7 million in pledges. These donations, along with $1.9 million in matching grants from the Comcast Foundation, resulted in $9 million in support to United Way and the local organizations it supports.
Comcast’s founder, Ralph Roberts, chose United Way as our first community partner in 1963. This relationship — and our pledge to communities — keeps growing. Since 2001, our employees and the Comcast Foundation have given United Way more than $67 million in total support.
When our employees give to United Way, they may never know the people they are helping. Or in some cases, they might be helping someone who works just down the hall.