This year marks the 5th anniversary of our project being posted on GlobalGiving, which brings an opportunity to reflect and celebrate our accomplishments over the past five years. We hope to do just that in the next few posted updates.
To kick off our five-year anniversary on GlobalGiving, we thought a student trip to the GlobalGiving headquarters in Washington, D.C. would be appropriate. While we were at it, we thought a trip to the Embassy of Haiti would also be a great way to celebrate our partnership with two schools in Haiti.
Our Palmyra-Haiti Technology Project applied for a local grant from the Palmyra Area Education Foundation (PAEF) to fund our trip to D.C. After nearly a year’s worth of planning and logistics, we arrived in D.C. on March 14th with ten students representing the many students involved in our project.
Our first stop in D.C. was the Embassy of Haiti. The embassy staff demonstrated “Haitian Hospitality” to it’s fullest. If you ever have the good fortune of visiting Haiti, then you will understand the concept of Haitian Hospitality. The embassy staff could not have been more generous with their time and attention on our visit. Staff gave us a tour of the embassy complete with displays of art, culture, history, and education. We presented the history of our Palmyra-Haiti Technology Project to the embassy staff as well.
In addition, the staff fed us delicious Haitian patties, which our students thoroughly enjoyed. To top off our visit, His Excellency, Paul Altidor, generously spent a significant amount of time visiting with us. We shared a local taste of Central Pennsylvania with ambassador Altidor complete with Seltzer’s Bologna and Hershey products.
Our next stop on our D.C. visit was the offices of GlobalGiving, just a few blocks from the embassy. We jokingly called this a “Reverse Site Visit” because GlobalGiving frequently visits project sites all over the globe to validate what the projects are doing. In this case, we were the project validating what GlobalGiving does. GlobalGiving passed our site visit with flying colors! Our students met in the meeting room and learned about the history and culture of GlobalGiving along with the concept of “Unmarketing”. It was an awesome experience putting names with the faces of people who have been working with our project for the past five years.
Our last stop before leaving D.C. was the Old Post Office Pavilion Tower to take in a breathtaking view of the city before leaving for the Metro and home. All in all, it was a pretty spectacular way to spend a day celebrating five years of bringing help and hope to Haiti.
There is a great opportunity to continue the successes of our project on April 16th, 2014. Microsoft’s Youth Sparks initiative will be matching all donations to our project by 50% that day starting at 12:00:01 PM (noon) EDT. Please consider a contribution to our project on April 16th and please spread the word of the good work being accomplished.
In the United States, we have endured a winter of record cold and snow. In Haiti, the Caribbean sun continues to provide warm breezes with no snow in sight. Students at Les Bons Samaritans and James Stine College continue to work hard on their schoolwork with the technology you have helped to provide for them. This technology affords them the opportunity to learn 21st century skills and to be globally connected.
Recently our Palmyra-Haiti Science and Technology Project was one of the featured presentations at the Pennsylvania State Teachers Association’s (PSTA) annual convention in State College, PA. At the convention, our project was part of a workshop on how to build STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) collaborations with developing countries. In April, we will take this presentation on the road to the National Science Teachers Association’s annual convention in Boston.
Our Palmyra students have been promoting our project at district sports and music events during the past three months. Students staffed display booths at the events complete with video presentations and display items from past accomplishments of our project.
The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners (link below) is the latest book from author Homa Sabet Tavangar (link below). In this newly released book, co-authored by Becky Mladic-Morales, Homa highlights our Palmyra-Haiti Science and Technology Project. Her book has been acclaimed by many, such as well known Harvard Educator, Tony Wagner. Our project is honored to be included in this exciting new book. Homa’s previous, highly successful book, Growing Up Global, has been acclaimed by Jane Goodall among other respected educators.
Every spring, GlobalGiving holds a matching funds day in which they will match a percentage of money donated to our project on that day. The matching day will be Wednesday, May 7th starting at 9:00 am EST. Please mark your calendar for this date and please share this opportunity with others.
Thank you for your continued support!
As we write this update, we cannot help but to be overwhelmed with gratitude at your support of the technology and science educational opportunities being provided to the students in Haiti. One piece of our exciting news is that on this #GivingTuesday, Microsoft YouthSpark is supporting our project with 100% Matching funds starting at noon today! Microsoft has $250,000 in matching funds, but shared among projects supporting children, it will go quickly. What an awesome opportunity to double our impact at our schools in Haiti!
Since our last update, staff and students at James Stine College have formed a committee of five to establish further opportunities for educational collaboratives with students in the US. We look forward to updating you on the educational connections that result!
Stateside, the Palmyra Haiti Technology Club has been busy organizing a load of soccer shirts donated by the CPYSC Soccer Club to be sent to Haiti. (The shirts are sure to be appreciated among all of the Haitian youth soccer fans!) Palmyra’s Haiti Technology Club has also been busy arranging opportunities at local school and community events to raise awareness of the beauty of the Haitian people and their educational successes and challenges.
In our trips to Haiti, we have seen first hand so many young people that have the desire, dedication and drive to make the most of their educational opportunities; so much so that classrooms have filled on Saturdays for study sessions and peer teaching. The students at James Stine College and the Good Samaritan School are deserving examples of Microsoft YouthSpark’s hope to close the divide between young people who have access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. Thank you for partnering with us close the divide for these deserving students!
Today’s noon 100% Match (up to $1,000 per donor) through the vision and generosity of Microsoft YouthSpark will go quickly! If you are interested in this unique opportunity to double your impact, please give your gift as close to noon as possible! (Donations may be designated as a ‘Gift’ or ‘In-Honor of’ for Christmas Giving) We and the students of the Good Samaritan and James Stine College thank you for your support!