Behind the Scenes at #Digital4Good 2019

“Nothing is impossible – you just need to have the passion and heart to give back. I strongly believe that, even if you have nothing else to give to someone, your kindness will mean the world to them. It’s always deep in my heart to do that for my community, it will always be a part of my life, and I hope it will become part of yours too.”  – Shreyaa Venkat, co-founder, NEST4US

On September 15th and 16th, students, educators, and industry friends gathered at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park to celebrate the power of kindness, giving, and positivity. Organized by the California-based nonprofit #ICANHELP, #Digital4Good is now in its third year of honoring notable student achievements in positive tech and media use.

The students featured in this year’s event have led initiatives that feed the homeless, fund innovative pediatric cancer research, focus on suicide prevention, and so much more.

Aside from a selfless desire to help others, the thread that binds all of these students together is social media. Each of them uses a variety of social networks to amplify their reach, share their initiatives, and help their communities. Today, it’s more important than ever that we provide online spaces where they are free to share without fear of harassment or abuse.

Two Hat has been lucky enough to attend #Digital4Good for the last three years, and we are happy to report that it’s only getting better with age. #Digital4Good 2019 was the biggest and best yet, full of powerful speakers, inspirational stories, and one unifying message: When used for good, technology has an unparalleled power to connect us in meaningful ways.

An opportunity to connect

Speaking of connection, there was an added dimension to #Digital4Good this year. #ICANHELP founders Matt Soeth and Kim Karr paired industry experts with winners to mentor them through their #Digital4Good journey, providing insight, feedback, and encouragement as they prepared for the big day.

In our experience – and in speaking to other mentors, we’re not alone – the student winners were the real mentors. They inspired us to spearhead charitable works in our own organizations and they re-energized us to take action and inspire real change in the world around us.

Two Hat was honored to mentor Shreyaa Venkat, co-founder of NEST4US. A senior at Broad Run high school in Virginia, Shreyaa began her community service in the fifth grade and has since logged more than 850 hours of volunteer time.

A young woman stands in front of a sign reading #Digital4Good
Shreyaa Venkat, co-founder of NEST4US

She founded NEST4US with her younger sister Esha to help feed the homeless and reduce food waste. Since founding the 501©3 non-profit, they have expanded to provide tutoring services and “Birthday in a Box” for underprivileged kids through Nest Buddies, their latest initiative.

[Read more about Shreyaa’s work in Lessons in Kindness: How NEST4US is Giving Back to the Community]

Behind the scenes at #Digital4Good

On Sunday, September 15th, winners and mentors gathered at Instagram for an afternoon of conversation, roundtables, and even a Shark Tank-style pitch competition.

Winners met with experts from a variety of disciplines and learned marketing techniques, how to expand their reach, the best ways to use social media, and how to pitch to corporations. The Shark Tank judges (including previous #Digital4Good winner Karah Hopgood and Trust & Safety expert Anne Collier, and more) presented the #DigitalRockStar Awards.

#Digital4Good student winners pose on a stage with Matt Soeth and Kim Karr
The winners with #ICANHELP co-founders Matt Soeth and Kim Karr

Monday, September 16th was the big day. We gathered at Facebook HQ and went live at 9:30 am. About 300 teachers, students, and industry representatives from across the country joined us at Facebook. Thousands more tuned into the live stream. Hosts March For Our Lives co-founder Tyah-Amoy Roberts and Count Me In founder Shane Feldman introduced the winners and kept things lively between presentations.

Two young people in front of a #Digital4Good sign holding microphones
#Digital4Good hosts Tyah Amoy-Roberts and Shane Feldman entertaining the crowd

Speakers included “Ten Feet Tall” speaker and author Brandon Farbstein and Instagram comedian AdamW. We watched the debut trailer for a short student film about the power of social media on teens’ life and learned how to manage a social media crisis.

Brandon Farbstein stands on a #Digital4Good stage
Inspirational speaker Brandon Farbstein shared his story of severe cyberbullying

At the end of the event, Matt and Kim got on stage and led us in the #ICANHELP chant – “I can help, I did help, I will help!” After that rousing declaration, there were hugs, thank you’s, and goodbyes.

We had planes and Ubers to catch, and work and school to get back to.

But everyone who attended walked away with the same feeling – there is no limit to what we can achieve with a little kindness, a willingness to give, and the technology that allows us to share.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?What is your idea of the perfect day?

A message of hope

At #Digtal4Good, we were reminded that social media is one of the most powerful tools in the world. Our job at Two Hat is to ensure that everyone – student, child, or adult – who uses online communities to share can do so without fear of harassment or abuse.

We are more inspired than ever to continue our mission – helping social networks build safe and healthy online communities by removing negative social interactions to make room for positive human connections.

But we can’t do it alone. Will you join us? 

Two Hat believes that everyone should be free to share online without fear of harassment or abuse. We also believe that making this vision a reality is a shared responsibility.

That’s why we have allied ourselves with diverse organizations including non-profits, government agencies, private companies, and industry alliances to share best practices, produce online safety resources, and spread the word of proactive, purposeful content moderation.

Does your organization share a similar vision? If so, we would love to hear from you at

Learn more about the #Digital4Good 2019 winners: 

Shreyaa Venkat – NEST4US
Riley Damiano – The Blue Lollipop Project
Olivia Rush – Sunshine Loves You
Clementine Chamberlain – Tampon Tuesday
Gabby Frost – The Buddy Project
Michael Pascal – Vets Van
Christina Mazzi – Project WOC
Ashley Lin – Project Exchange
Shreeya Aora – Tracking Our Heroes

How #ICANHELP is Empowering the Next Generation of Digital Citizens

Two Hat believes that everyone should be free to share online without fear of harassment or abuse. We also believe that making this vision a reality is a shared responsibility.

That’s why we have allied ourselves with diverse organizations including non-profits, government agencies, private companies, and industry alliances to share best practices, produce online safety resources, and spread the word of proactive, purposeful content moderation. One of those organizations is the California-based non-profit #ICANHELP.

We recently sat down with Matt Soeth, co-founder and executive director of #ICANHELP to discuss the organization’s upcoming initiatives with the NY Yankees, his thoughts on social media legislation, and #Digital4Good, their annual event celebrating student achievements.


Carlos Figueiredo: Tell us about your organization, #ICANHELP.

Matt Soeth: #ICANHELP educates and empowers students to use social media positively.

We train students how to be digital first responders. When they see something online we want them to know how to report content (when necessary), how to respond to negative content, and in the words of students, how to respond to all the “drama.”

At the same time, we work with students to build positive social media campaigns. We train educators and admin best practices around modeling and guiding students in developing their digital identity.

CF: What initiatives are you working on right now?

MS: We are excited to announce our partnership with the NY Yankees as part of their Bronx Education All Star Day. About 9000 students and educators were at the game on May 29 being recognized for academic achievement, civic engagement, and leadership. We will be working with Bronx schools in the fall with our curriculum and resources to help students develop social projects for the 2019-2020 school year.

We have two new online courses for teachers and administrators we are excited to share. Our teacher course walks educators through building up their social media presence, managing student social media teams, and the best way to model and guide students in creating and managing content. Our admin course will help anyone looking for policy examples and guidance on how to respond and investigate social media incidents. We walk everyone through how to create an incident response plan related to a social media incident as well as how to work with law enforcement, social media companies, and gaming companies to get content removed that violates a platform’s terms of service.

We are excited to announce a collaboration project with the Well Being Trust, the foundation for Providence/St. Joseph Health, to create mental health and wellness curriculum around digital wellbeing. So much of what we see in digital wellbeing currently is focused heavily on devices and we are looking to develop some tools for young people and educators to help them talk about stress, anxiety, and online negativity.

CF: How can people get involved?

MS: Check out our website. You can always contact us through our site. We are very active on social media, @icanhelp on Twitter, @icanhelpofficial on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. We are sharing content all the time, so if schools are looking for ideas, that’s the place to connect with us.

That being said – share! So much of what we do is word of mouth and we have students all over doing some amazing work. We’d love for more people to know those stories.

If you are an educator or parent and care about this topic, please reach out and share our resources, invite us to your community or school, help us grow the conversation and keep it going.

CF: What is your take on the social media legislation being introduced around the world – Online Harms and Duty of Care in the UK, Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material in Australia, the Christchurch Call?

MS: All of these actions are leading to new policy and regulation to hold companies accountable for the content on their site. The challenge will come when trying to enforce these laws and regulations as that part is still unclear. The intent behind these actions is clear, making the internet a better and safer place for users, particularly youth.

The one challenge I do have with all of this is the emphasis on government regulation and corporate responsibility. Whenever there is a major social incident – offline, that then goes viral and plays out online – we as users react. In this case, with a landslide of recent incidents, we got the white paper, identifying and removing terrorist content, and so on. It solves the problem now, but I often wonder if gets to the systemic underlying issue causing all of these problems. For example, there is so much talk about cyberbullying, but kids are still more likely to be bullied in person than online. Responding to cyberbullying is good, and needs to happen, but regulating companies is not enough. If the internet is going to be a better place, it needs to be a collective effort: users, nonprofits, content experts, education institutions, companies, you name it. It takes all of us.

CF: Can you give us a sneak peek at #Digital4Good 2019?

MS: We are really excited about #Digital4Good 2019. It’s being held at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, CA. We have our winners selected and will be sharing more about them soon. It’s a diverse group of students from all over the US covering a range of topics and projects around bullying, race, homelessness, robotics, leadership development, and cancer research.

These students will be sharing their stories live on September 16, 2019. We’ve invited a few schools to attend, though seating is limited. You can tune into the live stream and see the event as it happens (or watch again later). To get notified about the live stream, fill out the form on the page. We will tell you when the event is happening and share out the schedule of student speakers.

CF: Thanks for sitting down with us, Matt!

MS: My pleasure, Carlos!