Virgin Mobile USA
announced its decision to extend the popular “Free I.P.” volunteer program to the Monster Ball Featuring Lady Gaga Tour this summer. First introduced last year, the “Free I.P.” program gives participants the chance to win VIP tickets by volunteering at a homeless youth shelter. Fans will also be able to donate funds for the youth shelters through text message in each of the 33 U.S. cities Lady Gaga will tour.
The “Free I.P.” program was established in 2009 at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest as an attempt to have more people involved in the continuing problem of homeless youth. On the 22nd of April 2010, in a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., the carrier was awarded for its pro-social activity by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Dan Schulman, president of Sprint
's prepaid group, said, “Through our various programs, we hope to build awareness of the issue, raise funds and motivate people to get involved, a commitment we have embraced for the last four years. We greatly appreciate this honor, but we know there is so much more to do in order to help turn the homeless youth issue around.”
According to Schulman, the “Free I.P.” volunteer program will continue at Maryland's Merriweather Post Pavilion this year, the place where this program was first introduced. People that volunteer at homeless youth organizations will have the opportunity to take part in one of this year's biggest music events. In its effort to raise awareness on the homeless youth situation, Virgin Mobile
will extend this program in sports by sponsoring the young tennis star Melanie Oudin. Tennis fans will have the chance to attend the U.S. Open in New York this year by offering to volunteer their time to one of the homeless organizations.
“These exciting partnerships enable us to reach millions of people with incentives to volunteer,” Schulman added. “When we conducted ‘FREE I.P.’ as part of FreeFest and Lady Gaga’s earlier tour, we were able to generate more than 30,000 hours of community service, and produce more than 9,000 personal hygiene kits for distribution by homeless youth organizations.”
Virgin Mobile USA will receive the NAEH 2010 Private Sector Achievement Award for its ongoing struggle, leadership and involvement in putting a stop to youth homelessness. In 2007, the carrier teamed up with numerous groups as well as The National Alliance to End Homelessness and convinced the Congress to declare November as the National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. One of the most prolific programs launched by Virgin Mobile, Txt2Clothe, has managed to provide more than 200,000 articles of new clothing to youth agencies.