HATCH Youth To Steer Online Outreach, New Web Design

With the generous support of The Simmons Foundation and partial match from CapitalOne, MCC’s HATCH Youth program is launching a youth-driven social media project aimed at increasing HATCH’s presence in cyber space and connecting GLBT and questioning youth across the greater Houston area to their peers and allies, resources and support.

This month, HATCH youth will be asked for their input to find out what they would like to see in a new website, including content, interactive features, style and navigability. But that’s just the beginning of our joint venture. The re-launching of www.hatchyouth.org is but a component of a larger social media campaign taking place throughout the first half of 2011, one that will be orchestrated by none other than the youth themselves. The campaign will make use of targeted ads, plus a variety of sharable media, instant messaging, blogging and microblogging (á la Twitter) and so on. The goal will be to encourage a viral expansion of the message. In terms of what the actual message will be and the media outlets to be used, participating HATCH youth will have the creative freedom to decide how they want to tell other GLBTQ youth that they are not alone, and that it does get better, and where to find help.

With resourceful and relevant web content aimed at GLBTQ youth, parents, educators and service providers, www.hatchyouth.org has always been an important anchor for HATCH in terms of online outreach. However, the recent tragic loss of Asher Brown and the other highly publicized GLBT youth suicides make it clear that more can and must be done to restore hope for those who feel isolated and are tired of being victimized at home and school. We are so thankful that The Simmons Foundation and CapitalOne recognize the need as well and granted  funds to realize this effort.