Remember ‘penpals’? If you’re of a certain age, you probably were encouraged as a kid to find a ‘penpal’ somewhere in the country or the world with whom you could share your stories and life.
‘Networking Kids’ is a 21st century version of the Penpal idea. It is a program designed to connect small teams of similar ages around the world to each other, to learn about their countries, their culture, their struggles, and their triumphs. Inspiring and learning from each other and connecting on this level builds understanding and an awareness of the world in which they live that goes far beyond their own community. Building this awareness is essential to advancing social rights, empathy, and individual responsibility - all vital for generations who will be our future leaders.
On an individual level, we anticipate a broad range of advantages to each participant: learning to analyze and research, a growing confidence in public speaking, writing and editing, and developing social skills beyond their immediate circle.
The program includes:
- An initial project will require each group to make a short video about themselves. The video will be edited and uploaded to a site where all teams can view them.
- Live Skype conversations between small groups will follow as they get to know each other. A list of suggested questions will be provided to guide the conversation, but groups will be encouraged to use their own curiosity and initiative.
- An ongoing, recurring project will be to discuss something that is happening in their community, raising awareness for themselves, as well as other groups. Discussions will be moderated to analyze and find possible solutions or alternative ways of looking at the issue.
- Examining each culture through the lens of art will be also be included: teams will be encouraged to read a book, see a film, and listen to the music of another country.
- Teams will be asked to create a “newscast”, where they can research and report on stories that impact their community. This opens up possibilities of developing social and public speaking skills, and where advised, enterprising kids can conduct interviews to enhance the video. Videos will be shared, and open dialogues encouraged. The added benefits is in teaching participants to research information, analyze the accuracy, understand the main points, and write a cohesive story.
We are looking for teachers and facilitators in any country to join this effort. Due to time differences, it would be ideal to match up teams with those in similar timezones. Please contact Leigh Barrett at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in getting involved, or use the Contact form below.
Minimal funding is required - although our dreams are big!
All funding will be allocated to building a dedicated website, equipment and editing software, and some administrative costs, .
We recognize that not all schools will have access to a suitable laptop or wifi, and we would love to include as many institutions in this program as possible, across the economic spectrum. Material donations will be gladly accepted in the form of a laptop, dongle, smartphones, or software - please contact us directly.
Fundraising options are either through GoFundMe, or directly through this website, with a series of exciting perks to you.
LONG-TERM PLANS: Once the program is running, additional funding will be allocated to a cultural exchange program for participating teams.
Please consider supporting this initiative and
expand the world of these teens
beyond their imagining.
KINDNESS = $10 – Thanks on the website and a virtual hug.
CURIOSITY = $25 – Our grateful thanks, and a subscription to the newsletter to read about the initiatives, discussions, and achievements.
UNDERSTANDING = $75 – Thanks on the website, a subscription to the newsletter, and a personal video from one team.
CONNECTION = $150 – All of the above, plus a live social chat with your chosen team.
AWARENESS = $350 – All of the above, plus an opportunity to host a live chat between two teams on an approved topic of interest.
FUTURE = $1000 – All of the above, and participation in the cultural exchange program.
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