Nonprofit reaches youth with texts

Grand Junction nonprofit The Tree House wants to reach teens where they’re most likely to get the message — in their cell phone inboxes.

The Tree House, 1505 Chipeta Ave., has launched a service that sends positive text messages to teens each day for $5 a month or $50 a year. Kids and their parents can sign up for the service at MyTText.com.

About two-thirds of the messages are just for fun and range from poll questions to quotes from celebrities. The rest, according to Tree House Executive Director Cody Moore, include information about teen issues like drugs, sex, texting and driving, and the “sexting” phenomenon of teens sending nude pictures of themselves to each other. Each fact comes with a friendly reminder not to become a statistic.

Moore said he thought of adding the bulk text messaging service to the list of youth services provided by The Tree House after he read about a 13-year-old Florida girl who committed suicide after sending a naked picture of herself to a boy’s cell phone. The picture was sent to other students who bullied the girl until her death.

“Kids don’t understand the power of the phone in their hands,” Moore said.

Moore wants kids to understand that power and positively influence teens to avoid making mistakes.

A handful of local kids already are signed up for MyTText.com messages, which are written by Tree House staff and sent out by a third party. Moore hopes a direct mail campaign in the Grand Valley and on the Front Range in January and February will help get more subscribers. People from 48 states already have checked out MyTText.com through ads on Facebook and Google. The service is available worldwide.


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