Togetherville Gives Kids
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Togetherville(TM) Gives Kids a Voice With New "School Communities" Platform
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Togetherville(TM) Gives Kids a Voice With New "School Communities" Platform

until now, thanks to Togetherville™


MENLO PARK, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 10/01/10 -- In the face of declining school budgets, program cuts and over-worked teachers, rarely do we get to hear what kids think -- until now, thanks to Togetherville™. Togetherville, the social community for kids and their grownups, today introduced "School Communities," the first real platform for kids to express their thoughts on a centrally important component of their lives: their education. The introduction of School Communities is also accompanied by a sweepstakes, "Heart Your School," that will reward a United States primary, elementary or middle school with $10,000.

"As a parent, I've seen firsthand how challenges in the school system leave kids without a voice to advocate for their own education," said Mandeep Singh Dhillon, co-founder and CEO of Togetherville. "With the introduction of School Communities, we've combined the three core tenets that make Togetherville unique -- education, entertainment and expression -- to create an unparalleled platform for kids to share how they feel and make a difference. Through School Communities, we hope to galvanize community support and give kids and their families a forum to contribute to the improvement of U.S. educational systems."

Togetherville's School Communities are a natural extension of kids' Togetherville individual neighborhoods, which prohibit anonymity and consist only of real-world friends and family. Now, School Communities allow parents and kids to connect around their local schools and include school friends in the child's Togetherville neighborhood. Just as in each child's Togetherville neighborhood, parents have complete control over who in the School Community can connect with their child. These communities are designed to help strengthen a family's bond with a school, which enriches the community's overall educational experience, online and off.

Joining a School Community is easy: Togetherville has created a comprehensive database of 90,000 U.S. schools (Pre-K through eighth grade) in partnership with GreatSchools.org, and parents simply select their child's school when they create an account for their child on Togetherville. As more people join the specific School Community, more features will be enabled and added, with an emphasis on applications recommended by users.

With School Communities, Togetherville kids and families can share their opinions on issues surrounding their education, both locally and nationally, on their school's community page. Kids can also share their thoughts and opinions through Trumpets, which are conversation-starting questions (multiple-choice polls or open-text responses) that encourage kids to speak out on a variety of issues. Trumpet responses provide an opportunity for kids to communicate their sentiments on everything from their favorite school subject to which school programs could use $10,000. Responses are first screened by Togetherville moderators and must be parent-approved before public posting. Togetherville aggregates kids' trumpeted proclamations for each School Community on the "Kids Say" tab and through each member's neighborhood news feed. A real-time and dynamic snapshot of Trumpets can be found at http://www.togetherville.com/what-kids-say. Togetherville will also provide aggregated geo-location data on what education factors are important to a child from region to region, by gender and by age.

In addition to providing kids with a tool for self-expression, Togetherville has partnered with DonorsChoose.org to give kids and their parents the chance to reward their school.

Kicking off October 1, the Togetherville "Heart Your School" sweepstakes offers a grand prize of $10,000 for a school. Adults and Togetherville kids can vote for their school with a "Heart" daily; each Heart is an entry into the grand prize drawing for $10,000. In addition, $1,000 will be given to the school with the largest number of unique voters and another $1,000 to the school with the most total Hearts.

Anyone can nominate a school for the Heart Your School grand prize. For Togetherville users, each parent and child can vote once every 24 hours, and each subsequent vote accelerates the number of Hearts the school will receive (+1 each time an adult votes, +2 each time a child votes). Non-Togetherville users can also participate, and are permitted one vote per email address over the course of the campaign. The sweepstakes runs through November 14, 2010, and the winner will be announced to the Togetherville community on November 15. Throughout the sweepstakes, Togetherville will share real-time voting results, including details on how specific schools are performing within the sweepstakes.

Togetherville accounts remain free for kids and their grownups. Since the site's launch in May 2010, parents, kids and other trusted adults from around the globe have used a parent's Facebook network to create neighborhoods within Togetherville. In addition to the U.S., Togetherville neighborhoods have been created in more than 20 countries, including Indonesia, Canada, Australia, India, the United Kingdom and the Philippines.

For more information on Togetherville, visit www.togetherville.com.

ABOUT TOGETHERVILLE

Togetherville is an online community developed for kids and their grownups, where kids are free and safe to be themselves in their very own online neighborhood. Togetherville places parents and other trusted adults inside the child's experience to foster online interaction and learning, and to help them grow into responsible digital citizens. Togetherville fully complies with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and offers a wide range of activities, including controlled messaging, artwork creation, videos, learning apps and fun games. Backed by its co-founders and several angel investors, including FLOODGATE, Togetherville was developed by experts in social Web technology, child development, learning and online safety, and works with officials from ConnectSafely.org and the Family Online Safety Institute. For more information, visit Togetherville.com.

For past news coverage and product screenshots, visit blog.Togetherville.com/news.

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