Youth Venture Hits the Big Screen

Social entrepreneurship projects get the red carpet treatment at the annual Youth Venture Year-End Celebration, held at Kendall Square Cinema.

On a warm May evening, teams of youth from across the Greater Boston area pooled in the lobby of Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge. The theater, known for its run of art house and indie films, was the venue for another unique showing: United Way’s Youth Venture Year-End Celebration.

It was a night of acknowledgement and excitement, as youth spread the word about their year-long social impact projects. Whether it was an anti-bullying campaign, the self-esteem fashion show, an initiative to promote inter-generational mentorship or even a “Save the Honey Bees” project out of Dorchester, the goals for all the youth were the same: make a difference in their communities.

The journey to the silver screen began last year, when the teams, many of whom are affiliated with United Way partner agencies, “pitched” their projects to a panel of community volunteers.

The panels offered feedback and constructive criticism, then approved the requested seed money to get the projects off the ground. Throughout the year, Venture teams accessed volunteer mentors and adult allies to launch their visions.

The end point: that night at the theater, where youth, staff and volunteers alike gathered together to celebrate the achievements of these young entrepreneurs.

And for the evening’s finale, the audience took their seats in one of the theaters, munched their popcorn, sipped their soda and took in a movie: