ellohay! West Michigan

Geek-a-thon, August 15, 2009

Posted in events, good news, laptops, pilot, sponsors, volunteers by forgr on August 2, 2009

First off, the ellohay! West Michigan team invites you to read our new blog, at http://www.ellohay.org. We’ve been posting there lately, so if you’ve missed us here, check us out there!

So the next order of business—

August 15, 2009, Geek-a-thon, 6pm at the Brassworks Building, 648 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

The Geek-a-thon is ellohay! West Michigan’s first annual install-fest. This evening event that will bring geeks from all over the area together to help prepare 100 computers to be given away, free of charge, to at-risk and impoverished high school students in Grand Rapids, MI.

We are expecting approximately 100 guests for an evening of games, robotics demonstrations, food and drinks.

Poster for the event:
8.5 x 11 ellohay! West Michigan Geek-a-thon poster

Guests and vendors include, Geek-Aid West Michigan, MadCap Coffee, Astronomer Rickey Ainsworth from the Grand Rapids Public Museum Planetarium, the Lego Mindstorm Robotic youth group presenting their Robo-Sumo match, Intelligent Interactive Technology from Jason Sosa’s Immersive Labs, Comprenew Environmental eWaste truck, and more

We are working directly with Geek-Aid of West Michigan, who is holding their Geek-Aid 2009 concert the same day in Riverside Park to raise awareness of youth poverty and digital exclusion in West Michigan.

We need the geeks and nerds of West Michigan to come together and volunteer a few hours of their time to a great cause that will help stimulate job growth, foster community, increase school participation, fight poverty and digital exclusion, and create new jobs!

For more details, visit our facebook event page, http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=57803959897

Map to the Brassworks building:

What does ellohay! West Michigan do?


Ellohay! West Michigan is built around three principle goals; Earn a Laptop, Technical Literacy, and Tech Support.

As participants make their way through the program, they will be provided a laptop donated to the organization by West Michigan businesses, loaded with Linux Ubuntu and other open-source software by volunteers.

In order to obtain ownership of the laptop, participants will participate in 8 hours of community service, as well as attend workshops to meet prearranged technical literacy benchmarks that they have created for themselves with an ellohay! Volunteer Counselor.

Eventually the hope is that the community service will continue beyond the program, and graduating individuals will share their new skills among homes and neighborhoods as a grass-roots line of tech support.

If you have a gently-used laptop to donate, please call (616) 446-3622, and we’ll pick it up. It will go to a good home and live a new life in West Michigan!

We also need sponsors for our upcoming pilot program with West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) this Fall.

You, your group, or business can sponsor one student for three months for just $170. She’ll receive a laptop, hands-on workshops, a mentor, and technical support.

If you have questions, email me Marie-Claire at marie-claire (at) ellohay.org. Cheers!

ellohay! West Michigan featured on Rapid Growth

Posted in Uncategorized by forgr on May 20, 2009

ellohay! West Michigan featured here on Rapid Growth!

The article Closing the Digital Divide written by Keith Essenburg, photos by Brian Kelly.


Nerd Alert

Posted in events by forgr on April 3, 2009

Nerd alert: This is Marie-Claire from ellohay! West Michigan. I’d like to invite all of you our Launch event (June 25 @ 5:00) and Geek-a-thon install-fest (July 2 @5:00). RSVP on Facebook when you have a minute, and invite all your friends, nerds and non-nerds.


We’re in need of volunteers to man stations and be community advocates for each event, so email me personally to sign up for either night (you’ll get a free t-shirt out of it too) at marie-claire @ ellohay.org.

ellohay! west michigan video update, episode 1

The first rough-n-tumble installment of our video update for ellohay! west michigan. ellohay! west michigan is dedicated to making positive differences in the lives of under-served individuals within the West Michigan area through healthy, sustainable, meaningful, connections with technology.


It’s so much, but the thing is… it feels right.

Posted in organization, physical presence, pilot, planning, programs, strategy, volunteers by forgr on March 8, 2009

As it turns out, the more work that I do behind the scenes, the less time I have to share cool stuff with the outside.

I always wanted to make sure that if I was involved with an organization, it would be a priority to keep things as transparent and honest as possible. And it’s not that I’m not being honest, I just can’t do everything that needs to get done all by myself.

Right now, I’m learning so much new stuff, and all at the same time to boot:


Nonprofit administration
Building a board of directors
Mission-based for-profit ventures
Building a budget
The details of becoming a tax exempt nonprofit organization
Special needs education methods
Grant writing

Familiarizing myself with Ubuntu, Open Office, Picassa
Donor management systems
Commercial real estate jargon

And easily 100 other new, exciting, things.

Natasha, Tom, and I have been meeting weekly to get programs fleshed out, and get a plan for the months ahead hashed out, visiting potential workshop spaces.

I have my Friday afternoons (my new dedicated ellohay! West Michigan time) jam jacked with meetings, visits, tours and conversations.

It’s so much, and it’s everywhere, but the thing is, it feels right.