EXCELLENT!!! We made it to our initial goal of $2,500 with 13 days left. Now it is time for:
Just because we reached our initial goal of $2,500 does not mean we are done... it means we are getting started. We have the following stretch goals:
$5,000 - More Key Features including Messages of Support via text messaging
If we can get to $5,000 we will be able to add additional features to the site including customizing messages of support and allowing messages of support to be sent via text messaging. These features will significantly increase the engagement.
$10,000 - Apps in the Apple/iOS and Android App Stores
If we can get to $10,000 we will be able to develop mobile apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. If we really want to impact college students we need to be where students are ... on their phones.
$20,000 - Increased functionality of mobile apps AND Risa and Matthew will dye their hair Orange, Green, or Blue for one week
We really need $20,000 In order to really build the functionality and automation we need to make the website and mobile app a great product. If we hit this goal, we will not only build a fantastic website and mobile app, but the founders of the GenU will dye their hair. We will do a survey of all of our backers to determine the color. It could look something like this:
"This is important and compelling." Brad Feld, Managing Director at Foundry Group, co-founder of Techstars
“I feel completely badass having shared my video. It’s like, ‘This is who I am!’ It’s a very empowering feeling.” Jordan, college student
WHAT IT IS
GenU will be a robust website and mobile app where college students can view videos of other college students with lived mental health experiences. Students feel safe knowing every video is prescreened and there is no opportunity for negative interactions or comments.
Research shows that students prefer to reach out to and value hearing from peers - even unknown peers - more than counselors or their own parents. Unfortunately, the peers they desire to hear from have no uncomplicated way of offering validation and support.
We are creating a platform that allows peers to provide encouragement and advice to one another in a safe and positive environment.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
We are concerned about the rising rates of mental health challenges impacting college students. It is devastating that a majority of young people suffer during what ought to be one of the happiest and most productive times of their lives. Tragically, many of these young people, an average of 3 college students every day - feel so hopeless and helpless that they resort to suicide.
REMOVING THE STIGMA OF MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES
Unfortunately, many who suffer, do so alone. Due to the stigma surrounding mental illness, many students never receive validation that they are NOT alone and they end up isolated while their problems intensify. These young people - our sons and daughters, our students, and our future employees - must be empowered to support one another. Everyone recognizes that when we hurt emotionally, encouragement from others who have been through what we are going through, is invaluable. In fact, for college students, it may mean the difference between life and death.
Fortunately, there are young people anxious to share their journeys to provide the support they know their peers quietly crave. In his video, Colin describes how reaching out to others helps him cope:
Sharing their journeys is beneficial for students like Colin; research shows that people who do so bolster their own mental health. But, Colin conveys this better than we can:
The problem is, these students currently have no uncomplicated means of sharing. But now, through posting his video at GenuineU.com, Colin and others like him, are able to support a multitude of peers at once.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE OF THE PROJECT
Right now GenU is a minimum viable product (or MVP) and we are testing the concept and soliciting feedback. You can check it out at GenuineU.com.
WHY WE NEED THE FUNDS
So far, we have built this project in our spare time and funded it out of our own pockets. We need to raise at least $2,500 to finish the first iteration of the website, add valuable features, and defray the costs of establishing a nonprofit corporation.
If we can raise $10,000 we can get a version of the mobile app into the app stores.
Our commitment is to students. None of the money we receive will go into our pockets - 100% of your contribution will fund and build GenU.
Thank you so much,
Risa and Matthew
Risks and challenges
To maintain the safety of all individuals involved with GenU, there will be no opportunity for "likes" or comments. The last thing students want or need is the creation of complicated relationships or internet trolls. In addition, every video will be screened before being uploaded to the site to ensure the message fits with our mission. Also, Send a Note of Support emails will be sent directly from the site with no opportunity for alteration of the message or idenification of the sender.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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