MTV and ServiceNation's 'Be The Change: Live From The Inaugural' To Celebrate Young People Around the World Taking Action in Their Communities

Jan 11, 2009
By ViacomCBS Staff

Anchored from President Obama's official "Youth Inaugural Ball," MTV and ServiceNation today announced "Be The Change: Live From The Inaugural," celebrating the massive youth voter turnout in the 2008 Presidential Election and an active commitment from America's youth to impart social change through volunteer service. The show will feature live remarks from newly inaugurated President Obama as he addresses young people across the globe from the "Youth Inaugural Ball," and calls on them to be the change and continue to engage in national and community service. His remarks will be made available to MTV's around the world, reaching a potential global youth audience of one billion people in 162 countries and 33 languages. Additionally, the program will air exclusive performances by top recording artists live from the official "Youth Inaugural Ball," which will take place at the Hilton Washington in Washington DC. The show airs on MTV in the United States on January 20, 2009 at 10 PM ET/ 7PM PT.

"MTV is thrilled to celebrate not only the extraordinary number of young people who participated in the 2008 presidential elections, but who are engaged in activism efforts globally," said Stephen Friedman, General Manager of MTV. "This generation is distinctly unique- they're not just witnessing this historic moment - through their commitment to service and passionate spirit, they are the catalysts we need to continue to drive our nation forward."

"The President-Elect has made his commitment to service a priority throughout his life, during his campaign, and it will continue to be a priority in his Administration," said Emmett Beliveau, Executive Director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "There is no better way to follow up the Inauguration's national campaign for service, "Renew America Together," than having MTV anchor its coverage from our Youth Inaugural Ball. We are truly pleased that MTV has chosen to highlight the importance of service and is helping to bring that message to millions of young people."

In addition to being made available to MTV channels globally, the special program will premiere live across all MTV platforms in the United States including MTV,, MTV2, MTV Tr3s, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams and MTV Mobile January 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm ET, and will re-air immediately following. Hosted by MTV News' Sway Calloway with reports from MTV News Correspondents Kim Stolz and Tim Kash and MTV Tr3s VJ Carlos Santos, the program will include footage from service activities around the country on Martin Luther King Day, in addition to showing young people imparting change real-time through major service projects taking place in the United States and in Kenya.

Service Projects to be Featured:

Washington D.C.

MTV and ServiceNation, in collaboration with CityYear, Heart of America and D.C. Cares, will lead a group of 200 young volunteers in a makeover project at Simon Elementary School in Washington D.C. The school, which serves approximately 322 children, is located in Ward 8, the Southern-most ward in Washington D.C. 76 percent of students at Simon Elementary come from low-income households, and the High School drop-out rate for this community is over 50 percent. Research shows the first step to getting a college degree is learning how to read by the third grade. Thus, in real-time during "Be The Change: Live from the Inaugural," young volunteers will complete the school beautification project, including a new library, and unveil their work. Target has partnered with ServiceNation and MTV to support the volunteer activities at Simon Elementary School. During the broadcast, MTV will also share the story of a young community volunteer who's been inspired by the recent election to commit to service and change.

New Orleans Three years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita rendered uninhabitable all 27,000 homes in St. Bernard Parish, less than 50% of the population has returned. Out of those homeowners who have returned, more than 1000 families are still living in FEMA trailers. Youth volunteers with the St. Bernard Project, a community based nonprofit in St. Bernard Parish that has rebuilt 166 homes to date, will work around the clock to rebuild the home of the Albers family, who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. For the first time in three years, live during "Be The Change: Live From The Inaugural," Robin Albers and her teenage daughter will walk into their completed home with the encouragement of nearly 200 supporters.

Lihanda, Kenya Africa has the greatest proportion of people living in extreme poverty-- more than 40 percent or roughly 300 million people living on less than $1 a day. With rural communities stuck in a poverty trap, they're unable to make the investments in human capital and infrastructure required to achieve self-sustaining economic growth. Millennium Promise, an organization co-founded by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, offers a bold, holistic model for helping rural African communities lift themselves out of extreme poverty by focusing on agriculture, health, education and infrastructure.

For the inauguration special, MTV will work with Millennium Promise in Lihanda, Kenya - roughly 20km from the western village of Nyangoma-Kogelo, where Obama's father grew up and where his grandmother still lives. The region is one of the poorest parts of Kenya, where chronic hunger and diseases like malaria are commonplace. The show will follow a Columbia University student who volunteers with the Millennium Villages Project as he helps build a computer lab at Omindo Primary School which will give young Kenyans some of the tools they need to expand their education. By using readily available technology and Internet connectivity, the computers will also help an entire community end their isolation by bridging the digital divide. This is done by improving healthcare records, providing educational materials, creating business, banking and a host of other information services. Once completed, the new lab will provide computers and Internet access to more than 500 students at the school and to the 5,000 other members of the community.

"President Elect Obama has inspired our nation with his bold and visionary plan for national and community service. Everyone involved with ServiceNation is committed to helping the President-elect and bipartisan leaders in Congress pass new legislation to launch this new era of service in which millions of Americans are provided the opportunity to serve their communities and our country," said Alan Khazei, CEO of Be the Change, Inc., a lead organizer of ServiceNation. "America is always at its best when our citizens answer the call and unite in common cause."

The official "Youth Inaugural Ball," is intended for young Americans aged 18-35 and will celebrate the inauguration of the new president and the role young Americans can play to serve their communities. The PIC is handling all ticketing requests.

About MTV

MTV is the dynamic, vibrant experiment at the intersection of music, creativity and youth culture. For over 26 years, MTV has evolved, challenged the norm, and detonated boundaries--giving each new generation a creative outlet and voice that entertains, informs and unites on every platform and screen. On-air, MTV has been the number one rated 24 hour ad-supported cable network P12-24 for 16 straight years. Online, scored double-digit growth in 2007 and MTV launched 15 dynamic online communities and eight new virtual worlds. On the go, MTV Mobile is the #1 music brand in the wireless space - delivering 90% more streams than in 2006. And MTV's successful sibling networks MTV2, mtvU and MTV Tr3s each deliver unprecedented customized content, super-serving music fans, college students and young American Latinos like no one else. MTV is part of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Wanna know more? Come on in. . .

About ServiceNation

The goal of ServiceNation (, which currently includes 120 organizations who collectively reach some 100 million Americans, is to mobilize a grassroots movement that will inspire America's leaders to expand voluntary community and national service opportunities for all Americans; use proven service strategies to create targeted service corps that will tackle some of America's most chronic social challenges; and call on all Americans to make citizen service a bedrock ideal in our democracy. The ServiceNation coalition is co-led by Be the Change, Inc., City Year, Civic Enterprises and The Points of Light Institute.

Web Site:

Janice Gatti, +1-212-846-8852
Jeannie Kedas, +1-212-846-4629
both of MTV Communications
Amy Weiss, +1-202-203-0448
Debra DeShong Reed, +1-202-528-4214
both of ServiceNation