Care and Hope Through the Adoption of Technology

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Setting the Stage for Entrepreneurship

Research shows that when a student is engaged with meaningful entrepreneurial ventures they gain valuable skills and are more likely to contribute positively to the labour force. This project will evaluate a business venture coaching network that will partner existing entrepreneurs and a project manager/mentor with high school students. In many fields, the coaching approach has been used to provide opportunities for people to share skills, experiences, and network with others. For youth, coaching may provide opportunities to learn from others who have experience in working in an occupation or business that matches with a student’s career interests. This approach will also provide opportunities to make valuable contacts in the local community who may have influence over employment or other opportunities.

This project seeks to address the following labour market issues:

  • Lack of entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, and the authentic use of said skills.
  • Lack of understanding about culture, the globalized world, and how to navigate globalized business.
  • Deficiencies in 21st Century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, and communication.
  • Apathy, poor attendance, disengagement, and poor work ethic.
  • Branding awareness of New Brunswick as an advanced, entrepreneurial, inclusive, educational innovator.

The attached report showcases the results and data from our two years in New Brunswick classrooms.

Uganda/New York Blog… by Amy Rosenstein

“I think the most interesting part was when the Skype call started and we had to wait because the kids were getting water from the well,” said New York third-grader, Jake.

Connecting cultures from one place in the world to another is a deeply powerful experience. Students learn about their similarities and differences first-hand, by meeting children across the world. Speaking to them, learning their language, singing songs, taking outdoor tours…All of this brings the reality of others immediately into the realm of our students’ own experiences. Reading about children in another country getting water from a local spring does not have the same impact as meeting, face to face through technology, the very children who just returned from that daily chore.

For the last eight years, my third graders and I have had Skype sessions with children and adults around the world, on every continent and over 30 countries. After one especially emotional session, my third graders met a group of children in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, in Kenya. As we sang songs together, and swayed in unison, it was difficult to keep emotion at bay. After the call, upon reflecting on the experience, I decided it was time to take the next step. How could my students not only learn about kids like these, but how could they help? And how could they help us? Learning about each other is fascinating and Skype sessions are clear steps toward understanding the world. But becoming social entrepreneurs by coming up with ways to make an immediate impact would surely lead to us becoming global citizens.

Three years ago, I was lucky enough to connect with Adam McKim, Executive Director and Founder of CHAT to the Future on Twitter as we began an incredible journey together. After partnering up with another third grade teacher and colleague in Ardsley, Alison DiGregorio, our students learned about CHAT to the Future and the children at CHAT House in Uganda. We came to understand the ingenuity and hard work that has gone into its development.

We spoke to our students about the opportunity of meeting children in the Ugandan orphanage and we brainstormed ideas of how we might be able to help them. For quite some time, the children there did not have indoor plumbing. They did not have an indoor toilet.

We arranged Skype sessions between the Ugandan kids, and our students in Ardsley, New York. (PBS Video). Our two classes partnered up with the Amnesty International Club at the Ardsley High School and along with the high school students, conducted a read-a-thon. Students collected sponsorships during a three week period. This all lead up to the day of our read-a-thon which took place on our school’s “International Day.” For 100 minutes, students read internationally focused books with the high school students, with administrators, with parents, with reading buddies, and independently. The time flew by, and after 100 minutes, students had earned their sponsorships.

Several days later, with a goal of $300 per class, we were hoping to collect $600. In the end, we raised $1,200! The following year, two more third grade classes in our school joined in and this year, during the spring of 2016, all seven third grade classes took part in the Skype sessions and read-a-thon, with a grand total of $2,187!

From a seed of an idea, can come something so great. Our kids have learned about jackfruit, aloe vera, and how to say “how are you?” in Luganda. But most importantly, they’ve come to understand that they can make a difference in the world. There’s no need to say that they’ll help people when they grow up. Why not do it now? And they did. And they will.

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CHAT to the Future & Brilliant Labs on CBC Information Morning Saint John

This week we were fortunate to have the chance to talk to Hance Colbourne on CBC Information Morning Saint John about the Student Super Power Challenge. Our Entrepreneurship Mentor, Philip Sweezey, and the Executive Director of Brilliant Labs, Jeff Willson promoted the importance of this province wide initiative, and why it’s important for the next generation to become creators.
Following the interview earlier in the week with the author of Growing up digital, Don Tapscott, they discussed merger of technology education and social entrepreneurship, and why this generation needs to become prosumers, utilizing technology to solve the tough problems they are inheriting. The world’s biggest problems will require inspired and supported problem-solvers. Ones who embrace failure instead of fearing it. Read more

The Moonshot Blueprint: Why the #SuperPowerChallenge matters to New Brunswick

The world is familiar with JFK’s eponymous moonshot.  His call to action in 1962 at Rice University demonstrated his confidence in American innovation and ingenuity, and his belief that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  I recently found an article on Medium, that was penned by Astro Teller.  It had me reflect on the purpose of taking moonshots, and what we can learn about it in New Brunswick.

Astro Teller leads a team of scientists, programmers, engineers, military personnel, and dreamers, all of whom share a vision; that no problem is too big or complex to avoid.  In his article, he shares some of their stories, but more importantly, he talks about their failures.  Astro describes in detail, the main ingredient of their secret sauce, “We spend most of our time breaking things and working to discover that we’re wrong.  That’s it.  That’s the secret.  Run at all the hardest parts of a problem first.” Read more

Super Power Challenge applications are open!

Calling All High School Students—It’s Time to Dream Big, Get Creative, and Use Technology to Change the World!

Brilliant Labs, CHAT to the Future, the CBDC, and Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge are joining forces to help students come up with a big idea to win the Student Superpower Challenge. Three (3) student teams, or individuals, from New Brunswick will win up to $5,000 in supports to help develop their idea into a working app, prototype or service. The three (3) selected finalists will also bypass the YEC regionals and head straight to the provincial Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in May. Read more

Global Hearts

Global Hearts Company

Sir Charles Tupper School

Halifax, Nova Scotia

 

Why Global? Why hearts? We entered our fourth year in partnership with C.H.A.T. to the Future this year with a renewed sense of purpose. With some of the same students from last year present, we began to think of what we could make as part of our business plan. Since we were studying soils, rocks and minerals we had a trip planned to the pottery lab. Once presented with the idea that they could make this year’s product with our own hands, the students jumped at the chance to roll up their sleeves and began making clay hearts that would become ornaments that we could sell.

 

Almost as if they were assembly line professionals, the students took on different roles and very soon, one hundred hearts were on the shelf ready for the kiln. Two weeks later, we were back at the pottery lab not only painting the hearts, but opening up our field trip experience to our friends at the C.H.A.T. House.  Skype is truly a remarkable tool to use in welcoming students from one continent to travel with us to the pottery lab in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  We showed them the steps of making pottery from the kneading, rolling, shaping and painting of the final product.  We were happy to show the Ugandan students some finished pieces that were shiny and  brightly coloured. A quick song and loads of waves and we were happy to be part of our second intercontinental field trip with Michael and his friends.  Sometimes it is easier to show rather than just tell what you are doing and Skype is the opportunity that helps us to do that.

 

Our next steps in the process came when we were back in the class. What were we going to call our business? How much would we sell them for and where would they be sold? These questions became our focus. Along with working on a business name, we decided that we needed a snazzy logo that would help identify who we are and what we are doing.  We enlisted some high level help in the form of another Skype session.  This time it was a little closer to home but still far enough that would make it impossible otherwise. In the great State of Texas, we connected with an MBA program director who has a passion for small business, local action and global thinking.  Charles Gillis and the students who had visited Nova Scotia for the first time last year became our mentors. Giving their time and interest to our project helped us to formulate our plan further and thus Global Hearts Company was born.

 

Upon receiving our finished hearts from the pottery lab, we carefully displayed them and posted the first few shots on social media to alert our local school community that we were up and ready for business.  Our math skills came into effect when we figured out a cost that would be reasonable and how much we would yield when all the hearts were sold. Repeated addition and multiplication came into effect as the calculators and paper came out in full force. Later on data management opportunities found their way into our discussions as we noted the rise in sales based on the number of products sold. Each student not only had their hands literally in the project in the making of the hearts, they helped to prepare them for sale. Tasks included cutting and threading ribbons on the hearts, folding craft tissue paper, carefully wrapping each heart and putting it in cellophane bags and then paper sacks of alternate colours.  Each step was taken with care and problem solving opportunities were dealt with along the way. So many connected conversations led us back to curricular outcomes.

 

We decided to offer the sale of hearts to members of the class first and then we would widen our reach to the rest of the school.  Well, when we were met with such a demand that we were almost sold out by the third day, we knew that our goal would be reached sooner than later.  With the added benefit of being able to sell holiday card packets that were leftover from last year, we had double the product options to offer our customers; which they took advantage of in great numbers.

 

Remembering our Dallas friends, we were requested to send our hearts and cards to the US market.  With a quick lesson in dollar exchanges, the students were quite willing to oblige Mr. Gillis in his request.  Within two weeks of our launch, our parcel was America bound.  We were thrilled to see that they had arrived safe and sound AND early considering the high demand on the postal service at this time of year. Mr. Gillis tweeted pictures and a very encouraging comment about our work to which we replied on the spot.  Great thought went into what the class wanted to say in the retweet.  This is just another example of how technology in its many forms has helped us to promote our ideas, our communication and our learning as we connect with so many people toward a common goal.

 

We are happy to say that at last count, and there is still more to count, that we have met and exceeded our goal of $300.00 this year. We hope that Jess and Pierre at Martell Homes are still offering their ‘match funds’ program again this year.  We excitedly await news of the new home in Uganda.

 

What CHAT got for Christmas

What did CHAT get for Christmas over the last month?

1) The birth of a sister organization – the autonomous and registered CHAT-U in Uganda that will reach out to the community and support school fees and women. It can also own land.

2) This incredible site plan from the genius social entrepreneurs over at Acre Architects in Saint John, New Brunswick.

3) A new board member, Stephanie McAnany that has a Master Degree in International Development and employment at the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation.

4) A sustainable egg business! The chickens came first and were funded by folks like you last Christmas.

5) A professional donor management system from CanadaHelps that immediately issues tax receipts.

6) Generous donors, new and old!

Would you like to support CHAT’s mission to engage students in their learning, through empathy and technology, to develop global citizens and social entrepreneurs?

Then like, share, sign up for the newsletter, talk about us with friends, and/or make a holiday donation today. CHAT U donations will even be matched by Martell Home Builders.

Merry Christmas indeed! Merry Christmas to all!

The CHAT team 

CHAT-U: The Next Chapter

Five years ago a Ugandan woman named Florence Kanyunyuzi (far right) asked if CHAT to the Future could help her launch a dream – one that would see hope restored to orphaned and vulnerable children who were too poor to attend school. Children who were suffering through a kind of poverty that doesn’t exist in North America: extreme poverty. With her Master Degree in Business (project management), good references, and Rotarian experience, CHAT decided to embark on this adventure with her.For five years she served as a volunteer and shared a house with more than a dozen children and Teacher Naomi (standing) – CHAT’s only employee and the tutor who kept supporting the solid home reports that are shared with sponsor schools.CHAT U Board pic

After mountains of paperwork, lawyer fees, demonstrated successes, a required visit by CHAT’s founder, criminal record checks for Canadian board members, and a whole lot of waiting, CHAT-Uganda officially became a registered charity this fall.

It is with great honour that we now introduce Florence to you as the Executive Director of CHAT-U. Her board also includes Bannet Tumuhaise (land surveyor, right), Justine Dungu (preacher-in-training, left), and Adam McKim (CHAT-Canada executive director, far right and tiny). Together they will create budgets and steer community-centred action in Uganda. Their organization is also allowed to own land. CHAT-C has had $30,000 saved up for a land purchase since a major 2014 fundraiser in Vancouver. The time has finally come to put down roots. Already, CHAT-U has confirmed their desire to support children in the community with school fees and, later, to provide microloans and internet access to women in the community. They also submitted some written ideas for the facility that will support this work and the continued security and education of the CHAT children. Our partners at Acre Architects in Saint John, New Brunswick took these ideas and, after many hours of creative hard work and a pair of Skype sessions to Uganda, freely gave us the following as a Christmas present last week. (3D models will follow)

Building this home and community centre isn’t just about providing children with a more suitable (and rent free) base that, for the first time, would include things like desks, drawers, air flow and solar power. This is also about fulfilling a Ugandan requirement.You see, you can’t remain a registered Ugandan charity without putting down such roots. Martell Homes out of Moncton, New Brunswick is committed to supporting this project by matching $50,000 of school and donor raised funds. They envision their own volunteers paired up with local experts to breathe reality into these site plans. Their recently married owners, Pierre and Jess Martell, just forwent wedding presents and instead directed their family and friends to this project.

We look forward to watching this fundraising effort take shape in 2016 and invite you, dear reader, to lend us your support, financial or social, by visiting www.chattothefuture.ca. To keep current, you may want to sign up for our newsletter or turn on notifications for our Twitter and Facebook pages.

We suspect our North American students have a lot to learn about architecture, construction, budgets, and green energy. Such Skype sessions will take our focus on North American learning and engagement to a whole new level. A lot has happened in five years thanks to volunteers, teachers, students, donors, and social entrepreneurs like those at Acre Architects and Martell Homes. We couldn’t be more excited about the next five years.

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CHAT Kids on PBS!

CHAT KIDS FEATURED ON PBS!

First, an explainer: What is CHAT to the Future?
(Care and Hope through the Adoption of Technology)

CHAT is a New Brunswick-born, registered education charity that engages students in their learning, with empathy and technology, to develop global citizens and social entrepreneurs. Read more

Martell homes visits CHAT House

Last Fall, Pierre and Jess Martell went with our Executive Director, Adam McKim, to visit our students at the house in Kasangati, Uganda. Since their return, we have had many conversations with our new friends the Martell’s, and are excited about what to the future holds.

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