08/24/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Virgin Mobile's FreeFest Aims to End Youth Homelessness

Here are two of the hardest things to accomplish in modern-day America: getting something for free and engaging young people in giving back to their communities.

Virgin Mobile USA is doing both with their Virgin Mobile FreeFest, a free music festival featuring Blink-182, Weezer, Public Enemy, The National, Taking Back Sunday, Franz Ferdinand and Mates of State at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. Though the 35,000 free tickets to the show are already gone, Virgin Mobile is planning to give away hundreds more to people who commit to public service in major cities across the country. In cities like Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston and New York, FREE.I.P passes will go to the people who contribute the most time to service (with a minimum of 13 hours) in each city. As far as dangling carrots those, this one is pretty tempting.

The FREE.I.P sign-up form makes it easy by giving you volunteer opportunities that you can check off. Volunteers host a "Service Kit" drive, collecting much needed supplies for homeless youth, and dropping them off at one of Virgin's participating charitable partners.

The festival is raising money to combat youth homelessness, especially in the Baltimore/D.C. area, through their charitable initiative, The RE*Generation. According to Virgin Mobile USA, two million young people face the prospect of being homeless each year, and The RE*Generation seeks to empower this generation to lead healthy lives and make smart decisions. Their Text2Donate initiative will make it easy for a mobile-oriented generation to literally put their money where their mouths are.

So, if you want to help, here's how you can:
1) Commit to at least 13 hours of community service; 230 volunteers in Baltimore and D.C. will win tickets, 10 in Philadelphia, 20 in New York, 20 in Boston and 20 in southern California (Los Angeles and San Diego). The winners will receive FREE.I.P tickets. Winners from Philly, New York and Boston will get roundtrip bus transportation via Megabus. Oh, and if you win from California, you'll get to fly on Virgin America's FreeFest Express, which is essentially Air Force One, except with free wi-fi.
2) Text FREEFEST to 20222 to donate $5 to youth homeless centers. Remember to reply YES to the confirmation message to process your donation.

Youth homelessness is a real problem, and we should all do our part to empower frightened and abused youth to make changes in their lives. Even if you only text FREEFEST to 20222 and donate $5, it's more than most are doing. Visit The RE*Generation to discover how you can best take action.