Virgin Mobile USA and YouthNoise announced today the launch of Ghost Town, a made-for-mobile-phones short story told in chapters of 160-character text messages, and designed specifically to raise awareness about the plight of homeless teens among Virgin Mobile's youth audience.
Virgin Mobile users can sign up now to receive the story via two text messages a day over the course of five weeks, starting on August 14. Readers will also have the opportunity to determine how the story ends, choosing between two options via text message poll. The novella focuses on the experiences of a 17-year-old boy who, with the support of his counselor and girlfriend, is able to rise up and overcome many of the hardships he faces being homeless. For more information, check out http://www.youthnoise.com/page.php?page_id=2475.
The leading wireless youth network is working together with YouthNoise and StandUp For Kids in creating The RE*Generation, Virgin Mobile's movement to connect youth in need with youth who want to help. Through a variety of programs, support, funding and awareness-building, the issue of youth homelessness is tied into every aspect of Virgin Mobile's activities.
"The innovative platform for 'Ghost Town' demonstrates how text messaging is revolutionizing even the most time-honored forms of communication," said Dan Schulman, CEO of Virgin Mobile. "We are very excited to combine this new method of engagement with the important work of raising awareness of this complex and troubling problem. The RE*Generation is just one of the many ways Virgin Mobile is giving a voice to the causes that teens care about most."
The plight of homeless teens is a sad reality faced by thousands of kids throughout the United States. "Our partnership with Virgin Mobile not only supports our efforts to make today's teens aware of this important issue," said Ginger Thomson, CEO of YouthNoise, "but also introduces a 'novel' way to bring the facts directly to teens in an innovative and entertaining format."
Subscribers to "Ghost Town" will also have a chance to become involved with the novella by texting a character's name to receive his or her bio, and by visiting the YouthNoise website, which will host a blog and discussion board focused on the story and the issue of teen homelessness. Readers will also periodically be asked thought-provoking poll questions and get to see how their responses fair with others. Normal texting charges apply to receive episodes of "Ghost Town."
The RE*Generation's Text Novella exposes the prevalence of teen homelessness to a captive youth audience, and was written with the input of StandUp For Kids and YouthNoise staff and counselors, some of whom were homeless at one time.
"There are hundreds, possibly thousands of high school kids who are homeless. Ghost is not unlike many of the kids we find on the streets, under bridges and in abandoned buildings. Our partnership with Virgin Mobile is helping us introduce new and challenging ways to build awareness about the plight of these young people," said Rick Koca, Founder & CEO, StandUp For Kids.