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Mar 17, 2020

Coronavirus and The Digital Divide

Emily
Emily

Your financial contribution is urgently needed today, and please consider making an immediate contribution today. www.teamchildren.org www.teamchildren.org

This is an email I received his morning. 

Good afternoon! I am a 6th-grade middle school teacher in a Title I school district. Many of my students do not have computers at home, and some of those students are Latino, and parents would not be able to fill out your applications. Now that schools are closed, I’m struggling with how to continue their education, and they don’t have access to technology or the internet. Is there anything that you can do to help support these families during this pandemic?

For over 23 years with minimal funding and often only an all-volunteer staff  www.teamchildren.org has distributed over 18,000 low cost refurbished computers to families, schools, organizations, veterans, and senior citizens throughout our region and as far a Kenya. 

Since we are a Microsoft approved refurbished each computer comes loaded with Windows 10 Pro, open office suite, over $500 worth of learning software and links. As well as early development links. 

With this software, anyone from a baby to a senior citizen can learn anything they want with the click of their mouse

These computers have helped accelerate the academic, economic, social and physical development of our recipients.  

Domestic abuse and the digital divide. Meet Emily, a 32-year-old survivor of severe domestic violence from childhood. She has a 9-year-old daughter (that witnessed her being pulled out of her car by her hair and beaten in the street) a one-year-old that two days after he was born was in a shelter. While in the shelter he developed respiratory problems that persist today. She is 7 months pregnant and essentially homeless. she is crashing at a woman's home she met through her shelter. The car she just spent $1,000 on is falling apart, and she lives from crisis to crisis from dollar to dollar. 

Literally, y thousands and thousands of women around the country are in similar or worse conditions. 

Many years ago, in May of 1966 in my 2nd tour in Vietnam, I ran our Battalion's civil affairs program. We were initially giving a couple of cans of food to three or four places. I decided that it would make the most difference to provide all the aid we could to one orphanage. So the same is now. There is no way we can at the moment help the hundreds of thousands of kids that need our help but if we can demonstrate a replaceable way of helping as many as we can and hope this idea can spread around the country and throughout the world as fast as this coronavirus is doing. 

Your contribution will make a direct contribution to a kid you may never meet. 

PS our new book www.handsonparenting.org is beginning to make a worldwide difference. 

Kids in an orphanage Vietnam 1966
Kids in an orphanage Vietnam 1966
Kids at 9th & Indiana North Philadelphia
Kids at 9th & Indiana North Philadelphia
TeamChildren pictures
TeamChildren pictures
Hands on Parenting
Hands on Parenting

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Dec 17, 2019

Domestic Abuse and the Digital Divide

Technology for abused mothers and their children
Technology for abused mothers and their children

 

When women leave an abusive relationship they usually do so with the clothes on their backs and what little they can carry. seldom is it a computer. 

Over the past 23+ years, we have been distributing computers many of them have gone to survivors of domestic abuse or abandonment by the fathers of their children.

Recently we came across a number of these women at one time

Emily is 35, she has a 9-year-old daughter, a 10-month-old son and a baby on the way. the father of her youngest children beat her so badly she was in the hospital for two weeks. She recently received a computer.

Karen her friend was in an abusive relationship for 10 years. She has a 9year old and 16 year old she is now raising on her own. She recently received a computer.

Another Karen is unemployed and has four children. Two of them were taken away because she was homeless for three years after leaving an abusive relationship. She recently received a computer.

A grandmother raising her 9-year-old grandson because her daughter is a drug addict and the father is in jail. She recently received a computer.

Another woman is raising 6 kids by herself. She has had two spinal fusions and a bad hip. three of her kids are adapted and three came from foster care. The mother is a drug addict and does not want her children.

 

Here is one story to hard to read. your contribution makes a difference for real people. 

This is my story and these are my words. And I don't care who likes it or not.

 I started my journey giving the benefit of the doubt.

  ~ My heart is starting to speed up as I'm only just starting. Do I have enough time to get this all out? I'll never get this all in one writing. Why am I shaking already??~ I got this. Breath.

 He was really handsome. In my eyes. Had this charm about him. He was exciting. The way we met was even funny. He took my phone from me and called himself. Then he had my number. Lol silly guy.

 I met his adorable little kids soon after. I just loved them from the start. I already have a ten-year-old boy at this time I had been raising alone. Everything started out not so bad... Of course. Because I was someone that knew what to look for to make sure I picked a good person to bring around my son. I'm an advocate for abuse after all. Especially for children. I love children. He even seemed to be ok with my pets and love of animals too. Cool!

 In no time at all, I saw the red flags. I saw them. But it's ok because he's from the inner city and he just needs time to adjust in the suburbs, that's all. I can definitely stop him from punching his little 4-year-old son across the room or throwing his beautiful 6-year-old girl in the house up against the door cause you know... She was scared of the bee outside. It's cool though. I can teach him. I'll never allow abuse in my house.

 ~Breath. Stop shaking. You got this.~

 

I knew in time the bond would come between my son and him. It would come. It just needs time. He needs time to adjust. I can protect my son in the meantime and have him stay in his room as much as possible. We were so close. He was my world. My baby boy. I always knew I would be a great mother. I just didn't know that my life would not be what I envisioned because I chose the benefit of the doubt. I'm a good mother. I am. I love my son more than anything. He's my hero after all. I probably would have been a drug addict had I not gotten pregnant young with him. I was going to be the best mother to him ever. My mom and I struggled with our relationship so I knew I would do better. I wish I could go back in time now. 

~stop tearing up. Seriously. It's over now~

 

I have a baby girl now with him. I wanted this baby since my son turned two. He's 13 now. Just didn't want to be a single mom again. I did it right this time and got married first.  The pregnancy was equally as horrible as the first. Not a preemie this time so I felt so lucky. I'm not really sure how much he wanted her. He definitely said some painful surprising things when I was pregnant. I'm not including that in this story cause she may read this one day. She's 9 now. They don't really have a relationship. He's never established a connection with her. I know he loves her and she loves him. But I think that's just because you’re supposed to say that. It's hard to see it. Breaks my heart honestly. But maybe it's better that way. I don't know. My little girl and I have been very close. We stick together. It's safer that way.

She loves him. But expresses her fear in him. She'll tell you he makes her "shiver". I know what she means. He makes me shake too. After all, she did watch him punch her oldest brother, my baby boy, three times in his face and head. Dislocated his jaw. It's cause he slammed the door while taking his little sister away from her father instead of leaving her "shivering" in the corner listening to him belittle her because she missed me. I had suggested he take a walk with her until I got him from taking care of my mother. She has FTD now and can't talk or take care of herself. I love my mom. I miss her so much even though she's still here. I'll be ok. I will. He guesses he didn't want to take our 6-year-old for a walk. I should have known anyway. He was busy with his beer or whatever he was drinking. Who knows? Who cares? He won't stop anyway.

My son called me yelling before this happened. Yelling at me for help because he was drunk and flipping out of his little sister. I'm the one that told him go downstairs and get her and bring her to me. I felt so powerless. My son said "he's gonna hit me, mom! He's gonna hit me!!". "No he's not!! Just get her and bring her to me!!!" That next phone call I was panicked. He really hit him. Like he REALLY DID! I told my son he wouldn't. I told him he wouldn't!! I had no choice. I had to call the police. I wasn't home to protect them this time!! I couldn't rip his jacket or clothes up and off of him this time if he trampled over me again trying to get my son! I couldn't stop it this time. I couldn't. After all these years and how hard I showed him, I can love him and be his ride or die, wife. I could show him how to teach his children without beating them. I can do that. Because abuse is wrong. I” ve told all my friends this when they went through their abuse. Leave them!! Don't stay with him!! Don't put your kids through that!! I couldn't tell them that all of this was my story too. I know better. I won't allow that in my house. I love children. 

 How did I not realize how lonely I was? This is marriage? Me protecting myself and all the kids every day? Every night? Why?? He says he loves me. Sometimes he even shows me. I can't even put some of my stories into writing. My family might read this. I'm private. I just can't. I wish I could though. He's wrong. He's wrong in so many ways. 

I let him sit in jail. Two weeks. Until he called. I backed down. I felt sorry for him. He could change. He promised me again. This time he will. He loves me. He even writes my dad a heartfelt apology. He loves me. He does. I'll bail him out. But he can't come home right away. Well.... Ok. Come back home. I'm not ready to let you go yet. You promised you'd stay sober and work on everything. It's gonna work this time I know it. 

 It's all my fault. It always has been. He reminds me of that in every fight. I should know by now it's gonna be my fault. After all, I'm sick now with Crohn's disease and some other health issues that had me hospitalized. Surely he was gonna help me through this and show his love to me now right?! Ha! I should be a comedian! That's my fault too! Or am I faking? I don't know. He can't decide. He can't be there emotionally to me either about my ailing mother. After all, his mom passed away. He had a very traumatic life. It shows. It definitely shows. 

 Last year I kicked him out. I had enough. I'm tired of hiding in my bedroom with my daughter every night so we can avoid you when you decide to come home. I'm tired of you not caring that we all suffer because of the abuse you have put us all through. I didn't let myself go! My health has improved since I made you leave. My hair is growing back and is getting more beautiful than ever! That steroid and diabetes weight came right off without me trying as soon as that was diagnosed and treated and I came off the steroids while starting my new infusions from my new home nurse. Yes. They give you home nurses to give you infusions of scary biologic cancer type drugs for people who fake chronic illness like apparently I do. Whatever. But damn. Look at me! I look good now! I didn't let myself go! I'm more beautiful than when I met you! And I thank my lucky stars that I know now, after 11 years of this, 11 years of loss friendships, isolation, countless tears and traumatic fights, damaged relationships with my kids, and so many more things that I just don't want to list, I know now that I'm free from him. And so are all these kids. My stepson still lives with me. It's where he wants to be. He will graduate in 2022. I love all these kids. Our relationships are so much better now. We are free and we still remain a family. Without him. It's better that way. 

 This is my story. Or part of it anyway. There's so much more.

With this computer I'll be able to do more with my little business I'm trying to start. I'm an artist. I lost my creativity through these years and have found it again since beginning free. I have become overwhelmed with how much my art is impressing people that see it through social media. I create art with knots. The Art of Knots. 

Thank you for reading and thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to share it. I didn't want to write it..... But I'm glad I did.

Sep 16, 2019

A solution to the early childhood education crisis

Hands on Parenting
Hands on Parenting

 

When I got married and had a child my son's mother took the course and together we implemented much of what we learned coupled with my knowledge of how Rolfing and massage could improve the neuromuscular development of babies. we implemented the techniques with our son. 

 

By the time Bray was one he could count to 100 in English and Spanish, he could read over 1,000 flashcards words and could identify hundreds of flashcards of President, primates, great art masterpieces, and much more. 

By the time he was around 2 1/2, he mastered turning on a computer and playing learning programs like reader rabbit, math rabbit, learning express and many more. 

 

He had a dedicated computer in every one of his classrooms from preschool through 8th grade. 

 

Despite the fact that I am not a college graduate and his mother passed away when he was 10 graduated 2nd in his class from high school. He was one of the first 400 kids accepted into Georgetown early acceptance. At George town, besides being in a Fraternity and being in the PEP Band (quite well rounded) he made great grades. Since he majored in English and turned himself into a news writer/editor.

 

After Georgetown, he worked for a number of years for EDWEEK and national education publication. While there he created a blog sports in education. At one point he took on writing about concussions in sports. Hw wrote so many articles that EDWEEK turned it into an ebook and it is still available. Google Bryan Toporek Sports in Education concussions. 

Now he is a senior copy editor for a major sports web site. 

 

But it gets better. A number of years ago I was able to get that program into a Preschool program of a major Hispanic Charter school. Over 30 teachers were able to take the course at the institutes and began implementing the program in their classrooms. 

 

Then I discovered a program developed by KL Wong in China that makes the fundamentals of early learning available online and we have distributed thousands of copies of the program on our lowcost refurbished computers we have distributed

 

OUR NEW CHALLENGE IS TO RAISE $250,000 to fully fund, staff and expand our efforts. 

YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE.

Our Volunteers make the difference
Our Volunteers make the difference
The First kid we gave a computer
The First kid we gave a computer
Kids with their flash cards
Kids with their flash cards
 
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