Education  Japan Project #33595

Digital Citizens

by YouMeWe NPO
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The premise of starting YouMeWe and the Digital Citizenship focus was around 21st century learning for children whom will live until the 22nd century. Using technology which has not been invented yet, applying for jobs we know nothing about yet as they too have not been invented.

Communication, Collaboration and CREATivity with an emphasis on CREATE has been our three pillars which have tested the passing of time and will continue to do so well into the future.

This morning while looking at the then brand new laptops first purchased in 2013 and rolled out to Tohoku and Tokyo homes and then the other day the children at St.Francis carried in the new CHROMEBOOKS given to them by their school district.

The task was to draw their favorite image as we were going to turn the image into a coaster for their desk.

They quickly decided that tracing the image was far more accruate than their artistic skills free hand. They then searched for the image online. They then took pieces of A4 white paper and taped it to the monitor which they turned the lights up on. When they started to trace due to the fact that the screens where touchscreen, without a complaint or sigh...they left the room and came back wearing white cotton gloves knowing that if they could wear them, the screen would not detect their hands and make the image woobly as they then held the pencil in their now gloved hand and went to work.

We sat back quietly and smiled as they kept finding solutions in their own toolkits of experience to solve new "modern" challenges of using a touchscreen which did not exist in the 2013 models.

Then we start to sit back and realize, we may not be here in the 22nd century but we are helping them be exposed to challenges now and in technology which open their eyes and minds to solutions which is hopefully a skill they can use for their entire lives.

I often tell them, we may not be here for your entire lives, but for the rest of ours, we will be available to you.

Thank you for your support over the years. Digital Citizenship was our first project on GlobalGiving and since then we have raised over $300,000 USD on the platform to help us fund our work. 

Thank you!

Regards,

Michael Clemons

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YOUMEWE Digital Citizenship for a new generation.

 

One of YOUMEWE’s main goals has been to bring technology and the internet to orphans around Japan. Everyone at YOUMEWE wants to empower the orphans of Japan to develop a healthy relationship with technology and benefit from the opportunities that technical literacy can bring. Early on we found that many of the orphans in Japan had very limited access to computers. Many of these kids had never seen a keyboard and mouse. So, our early attempts at teaching computer literacy became basic introduction lessons to using a mouse and keyboard. If it was not for organizations like YOUMEWE it is entirely possible that many of these kids would age out of the orphanages without knowing anything about computers or modern technology. This is the type of disadvantage that can set someone back for a lifetime. 

As part of our digital citizenship program and computer literacy initiative, we have started offering computer programming lessons in a number of orphanages across the country. Our approach to teaching programming is very unique. It's not just about teaching the basic principles of computer programming. It’s also about empowering the kids to make what they want to make and to think about the holistic concept of software development. When these kids were separated from their families they lost a lot of their freedom and autonomy. We want them to gain some of that back by being empowered in digital spaces. We want our kids to see technology and the digital world as a set of tools that enables them to create amazing things.

We started small with just one orphanage in Nagoya, teaching a couple of young kids some introductory lessons. Now we are teaching kids in homes across Japan. We have students from ages 7 to 14 learning about programming and software development. YOUMEWE regularly teaches four programming lessons in Wakamatsu Ryo, Okuura, Onchoen, and Taiyo Gakuen. We hope to expand on that number in the coming months and years. In our recent lessons in Okuura Nagasaki, we found that not only did the children benefit from the lessons but the younger staff in the home were also eager to develop their programming skills and improve their understanding of computer technology. 

A digital realm is a place where no one is forgotten and everyone has a voice. YOUMEWE is dedicated to bringing the wonders of digital citizenship to the most disadvantaged and forgotten children of the coming generation.

 

Thank you for your support,

 

YouMeWe NPO 

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We continue in our endeavor for the Digital Citizens program which is really the umbrella over everything we do.

Coaching is probably the only thing above this.

Since this program started we have seen the kids graduate high school and some of them went on to vocational school joined us as part-time trainers. They will be moving to permanent jobs this year as they graduate.

We are now focused on the next generation of "Tech Leads" in the home who show promise and need that added bit of encouragement.

Whether it is teaching the principles of coding to the youngest of students, English Language training, game making, Microsoft Office skills, and being published, the children are being exposed to a wide variety of possibilities.

We are now most focused on Home Coordinators and volunteers as well as companies who have been donors to connect with the homes and make more of a permanent team dedicated to the kids as they also grow and graduate.

Thank you again for all of your support in getting this off the ground and we will keep you posted on future progress.

 

Regards,

 

Michael Clemons

Founder

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This was our first project on GlobalGiving which has now led to us being able to raise close to $500,000 for the NPO not only on GlobalGiving but through our generous donors and sponsors. 

 

I remember when I was refreshing the screen like a dreamer when we launched the first fundraiser to get $5,000 and 50 donors and in the last hour, I refreshed and we hit the target thanks to an angel who said, "it was a no brainer, you needed $1,500 to hit your target so I donated that!" 

 

It is hard to believe we have accomplished since then.

 

It is beautiful to just think that something that was only an idea at one stage is now operating from Tohoku to Nagasaki, 1,000 computers in the field, and many more homes joining and asking for PCs.

 

It warms my heart to walk into the office and see the Ambassadors who were 15 when we met in the homes, now graduated from high school, going to university but working with us part-time to bring the programs and computers to the youth like them in the homes.

 

Thank you for your believing in us from the beginning and your continued support.

 

Regards,

 

YouMeWe NPO

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We continue in this space and are finding the children we support are able to pick up on new ideas and run with them quickly.

While we are not an English language NPO, we use English software to bring the use of computers alive.

The younger kids are still learning where the keys are on the keyboard, they are adjusting their motor skills to be able to use a trackpad, mouse, and type code.

We currently have lessons both in-person and online. In many cases, the classes are going on in tandem. Monday's we teach Digital Citizenship with the translated material from CommonSense.org and then have the children use the vocabulary which is being introduced. In the latter part of the class, we have them play games online.

Saturdays we have HTML classes, language classes, and conversations between US teenagers who volunteer to teach children in Japan. We have in-person classes in Nagoya as well as weekly online classes with Ruth from JOEE who teaches the younger children with her puppets.

Recently we were approached about hiring our aged-out children to work on tech projects which helps them connect with real-world challenges.

We are also happy to report another 19 years old was just offered a role in a large tech company in Japan when he graduates from his vocational school next year.

It is only with your support we are able to the constant in young children's lives and highly satisfying by working with them throughout their youth and celebrating their victories like a job offer.

Thank you very much for your continued support.

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Organization Information

YouMeWe NPO

Location: Nakano-ku, Tokyo - Japan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @YouMeWe7
Project Leader:
Michael Clemons
Nakano-ku, Japan
$11,616 raised of $15,000 goal
 
122 donations
$3,384 to go
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