As 2011 draws to a close, we are inspired and thankful for what we have accomplished through your generous support. Your donations have provided for a computer room for grades K-6 at Les Bons Samartitains and for a newly installed computer room at the recently opened James Stine College, both in St. Marc. Thanks to you, the poorest of the poor in Haiti have educational access to the world through the Internet and classroom interactive white boards. As you can see from the pictures and video (see link), students have been able to engage in amazing learning experiences like interacting with a human skeletal system on the interactive white board. You continue to provide hope for Haiti’s future sustainability through the development of Haiti’s greatest natural resource, its children.
We continue to need funding for sustainability of our technology and projects. Internet connectivity, technology maintenance, and student and staff training are just a few of the expenses our project incurs. Please consider an end of the year gift to close out 2011 and to look forward to an even more productive 2012.
Thank you for your continued support and happy holidays!
I’m certain you can think of caring teachers who have made a profound impact on your life. Likewise, I’m equally sure that the Internet and recent technological innovations have also made a profound impact on your life. When we combine skilled, thoughtful teaching with the power of Internet technologies, impactful learning flourishes.
In the United States, we take access to highly trained teachers and the Internet for granted. When we send our children to school each day, it is certain that they will be guided by teachers who have a college degree, ongoing continuing education, and in most cases, a graduate degree. In addition it is almost certain that our children will have direct or indirect learning experiences through the Internet and computer technology. In Haiti, it is extremely rare to have a school with highly trained teachers combined with Internet access. Our partnering schools in Haiti have that unique combination. Imagine what a difference those combined elements can make in the lives of Haitian students and the potential for positive change within a challenged country. In fact, with access to the Internet at school, Haitian teachers can engage in their own professional development which will further enhance the education potential of their students.
Our Palmyra-Haiti technology project has had the good fortune to have been originated and sustained by caring teachers. These teachers have seen the value of education and technology in their own lives and those of their students. They see what a unique opportunity this project has been in transforming lives in Haiti. Our teachers have donated over $4,500 to this project to date! In addition, they have given their time and talent to related education projects, fundraisers, and humanitarian aid drives for our peers in Haiti. Our teachers are modeling the importance of education and technology along with importance of caring for others. Our students, both in Haiti and Palmyra, are being influenced by the positive examples of teachers.
On Wednesday, October 19th, you have a great opportunity to honor and sustain the good work of the teachers associated with this project. GlobalGiving is having a 30% donation match that day. In addition, the Technology for Education Fund continues to match donations to our project 100% until their matching funds are depleted. Your donation has the potential of being matched 130% on that day! Please consider a donation of any amount this Wednesday. Your support is planting seeds in fertile soil, which will bear a rich harvest of fruit. This fruit has the potential of sustaining a challenged population.
Thank you for your continued support!
It has been a busy summer for our students in Haiti. The summer does mean a brief break from school however, student learning continues through summer camps run by students from the United States. It is a great cultural exchange as you can see from the photos below.
We are proud of our most recent graduates from Les Bons Samaritains as seen in the photo below. Your help in providing technology for these students has contributed greatly to their success. Many of these students will be moving on to our newly completed school this fall, the James Stine College. Though your generous support we will be able to purchase technology for a computer room at the James Stine College that will be similar to the computer room at Les Bons Samaritains.
Once students have completed the curriculum at the James Stine College, they will be ready to enter medical school, law school, and other graduate programs and technical schools. The technology and training you continue to provide for them will be critical to connect them to the Internet based, global marketplace. Through this, they will have the capacity to effect positive, sustainable change in Haiti for generations to come.
Intel Corporation, through the Technology for Education Fund, continues to match any contribution to our project dollar for dollar. Please consider an additional one time or recurring contribution to our project to sustain this positive momentum. As always, thank you for your continued support, for without it, none of these achievements would be possible.
It is hard to believe that we have recently had our one-year anniversary with GlobalGiving. We are very thankful for all GG has done, for your support and the help of countless others to facilitate the growth and development of our project. In this update, I’d like to present some of our achievements over the past year and to preview an anticipated expansion of this project for our second year of partnering with GlobalGiving.
In June of last year, we saw hope in a time of uncertainty. Our project helped students and staff rebound a bit after the effect of Haiti’s devastating earthquake. Our project offered a positive distraction and a future of hope during the daunting task of earthquake recovery in Haiti.
During the summer of 2010, volunteers went to Haiti to construct and paint the computer room at Les Bons Samartians that would be used to house the laptops from our project. As the summer progressed, our project was the focus of a Central Pennsylvania local morning radio show. For an hour, our students were interviewed about the good things our project was accomplishing and the future potential of our project.
During the fall of 2010, the computer room at Les Bons Samaritains was outfitted with Classmate PC computers along with a classroom interactive white board. On GlobalGiving we were selected out of the nearly 3,000 projects hosted by GlobalGiving for their “Project of the Month” club for our project’s “high impact and innovative effects”. Our project started to grow in popularity on the Internet receiving nearly 500 new hits a month on our Palmyra-Haiti Pilot Wikispaces account. We were featured as one of the “Best of the Best” Glogs on the GlogsterEdu site as well.
During the winter of 2010-2011, our Palmyra-Haiti wiki club remembered the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Our club, consisting of student and teacher volunteers within the Palmyra Area School District, continued to build a learning and collaboration platform on our wiki. The club also raised funds for this project and humanitarian aid for Haiti. The club gave our Palmyra students a taste of what it is like to run a non-profit organization. Industry professionals from the central Pennsylvania area gave their time and talent to our project in areas of marketing, web design, video production and more to help our project grow. We continue to be grateful for the generous support of our volunteers.
In the spring of 2011, our club posted a variety of YouTube videos to market our project to a larger audience and to capture the flavor of how this project may impact the people of Haiti. One of those videos can be seen on the links below. We also created a Facebook page for our project to help expand our reach. That link can be found below as well.
We ended the combined school years of Palmyra and Les Bons Samaritans with a touching Skype exchange between our students, which is noted in more detail on our previous update. We have grown our wiki popularity on the web from nearly 500 new hits per month in the fall to nearly 3000 new hits in June. In addition, Intel has generously kicked off a dollar for dollar matching campaign for our project, which continues as I write this update.
In a later update, I will expand on the future potential of our project but I would like to highlight one important, anticipated event that will be happening this fall. Les Bons Samaritains has been so successful that a secondary school has been built and will be opening this fall. The James Stine College (link below) will continue the great work started at Les Bons Samaritains. Our project has raised enough funds to start a computer room at the James Stine College and we hope to move forward with it in the coming months.
I would like to conclude this anniversary update with a few notable quotes from the year.
“Nice work. We need all the humanitarians we can get.”
~Johnny Colt, CNN iReporter and The Black Crowes guitarist.
“This is the best idea”
~Lisa Landis, WJTL morning host
“Nous sommes tous heureuses pour les ordinateurs et pour ce projet.”
“We are all happy for the computers and for this project.”
~Johnson, Cirius, Carmelle, Nadia, Fédeline, Chriscy, & Dieula
“I’d just like to say thank you to everyone involved in the project for making this a life-changing experience for me- and I hope that through this I’ve made a difference in others’ lives, too. “
“Through my communication with the people of Haiti, my respect for them has grown and my appreciation for the life I live has been prevalent. These lessons are extremely important for my future and this amazing project is helping me to develop them now."
As you can see by these quotes and by this anniversary update, your donations are making a deep and lasting, student-driven, impact. I would urge you to consider making an additional donation today of any amount during Intel’s dollar for dollar matching campaign for our project. Together, we can expand and sustain the accomplishments of this past school year and build for the future.
Since the beginning of our technology collaborative, Skype has played an important role. In 2009, we successfully conducted our first Skype conference between the Les Bons Samaritains School in Haiti and the Palmyra Middle School in Pennsylvania. I was in Haiti during that first Skype conference and witnessed the exuberance in the exchange between the Haitian students and my students back in Pennsylvania. At that moment we realized the cultural awareness and educational potential of this communication medium.
A few weeks later, the students of Les Bons Samamritains Skyped my students in Palmyra to show us the Haitian custom of Carnival, a Mardi Gras like celebration. Our Palmyra students were given a live glimpse into a world that they would not have known otherwise. A connection with a lasting impression was made. You can view a video showing Carnival at LBS through one of the links in this update.
As our program continued to grow and develop, our Skype experience continued as well. During one of our Skype™ sessions, we gathered over 100 of our Palmyra Middle School students in an auditorium to Skype with Les Bons Samaritians. During this session, we exchanged ideas about our program and sang traditional songs to each other. It was a touching experience that brought two cultures closely together. This conference can be viewed through one of the links in this update.
Recently, we had another notable Skype experience. During the fall of our school year, we were fortunate enough to have a Haitian student enroll in our school. Laurie was born and raised in Haiti. She speaks Creole and French fluently and has been learning English since she has been with us. She participated in our most recent Skype with Les Bons Samaritains students and was able to give them perspective on what life is like as a Haitian student in an American school. This conference can be viewed from one of the links in this update.
Thanks to your support, you have made these great experiences possible. Through your continued financial support, we can change lives in the dramatic way that is only available through education and the opportunities it provides.
June provides two exciting opportunities for increased funding for our project!
On Wednesday, June 15th, you have an opportunity to stretch your donation to our project through a GlobalGiving matching offer. Starting at 12:01 am EDT, GlobalGiving will match any donation of $1000 or less to our project by 30% until their matching fund pool of $75,000 runs out. Please make a note of this and donate early this day.
In addition, GlobalGiving’s Technology for Education Fund is contributing to classroom technology projects like ours! Throughout the entire month of June, a matching funds campaign is in effect that will match donations to the Tech for Education fund which supports our project!
As always, thank you for your continued support! I have seen first hand the lives that have been changed by your generosity!
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Teacher / Project Director