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:

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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.

http://www.twitter.com/ellohay

An incredible vote of confidence (at Christmas)

Posted in donations, fundraising, good news by forgr on December 26, 2008

My brother-in-law, Alex and his girlfriend, Anna gave us $200 towards our startup ChipIn fund this Christmas. I was quite overwhelmed with this donation and teared up on Christmas morning.

It’s still incredible to me that others could believe in this project (and have confidence in me) to give money to us.

I am thankful to Anna and Alex for their incredible vote of confidence in us. This new year will no doubt be filled with new opportunities for the organization, and in turn the community.

ellohay! West Michigan ChipIn

If you’re feeling like you might have a few extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket, chip it in here. We’re working to make something really cool happen in the community, and your dollar can be a part of it.

$1 is the minimum amount, and trust me when I say that every dollar makes a genuine difference.

Thank you again Alex and Anna,  have a Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

One Laptop per Child XO Laptop (Give a Laptop, Get a Laptop)

Posted in donations, education, good news, hardware resources, laptops by forgr on November 17, 2008

You can purchase an XO Laptop on Amazon.com today. Absolutely brilliant.

If you’re looking for a way to give to the world, buy one for a child in a distant land and get one for yourself for $399. Or if you feel like you have too many toys in your office…

XO Laptop

Now is the chance to place an XO laptop in a loving home here in West Michigan. We’ve started an Amazon Wish List for the Digital Inclusion Project/Ellohay! West Michigan, so when you buy from our Wish List, it will go directly to an under-served child here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

You can browse our list here:

My Amazon.com Wish List

If her guardian agrees, we’ll interview, post video and pictures to track her progress with her new laptop here.

We have a high hopes, so we have 100 XOs, 100 EePCs, laptop sleeves, and a few printers, and optical mice in our Amazon.com Wish List too.

If $399 is a little too much for your budget, you can put a child in charge of her own data by purchasing a usb drive for just $4.

Some XO testamonials from the OLPC page on Amazon.


“I use my computer very carefully so that it will not spoil. I use it to type, I use it to write, I use it to draw, I use it to play games… I’m using my computer at home to type assignments.” — T. (Primary 4), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“I like the laptop because I always snap pictures… I snap pictures and I play games; we use… Google [Internet]. I put it in Write and use it in class work.” — S. (Primary 4), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“Sometimes I play football and sometimes I stay in the classroom… I operate my laptop: I write, draw, and record music… At home, I go turn on the television and record music.” — C. (Primary 5), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“I think the laptop is very good. It helps us to find some words, like our uncle [teacher] will teach us… The things we didn’t know, we go check on the laptop.” — T. (Primary 6), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

What Teachers Are Saying

“With the laptop we can say that our school is really elevated because the children are really learning more… They see themselves discovering things that they have never been doing before.” — Mrs. M., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“Pupils go even beyond what I can teach in the class. It’s a very interesting thing to use. I personally have a better idea about teaching… We discovered that giving them time to discover something and to do it in their own way, they feel more happy and they are so excited in using it that, ‘Yes, I discovered it! Yes, I can get it!! Yes, I can do this on my own!!!’ Teaching is getting more interesting and less stressful.” — Mr. O., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“Some children are naturally faster than the others; we discovered that they go ahead of the class. They can teach their mates that, ‘Look I got it, this is how you do it, this is how you do it, this is how you do it.’ This way the slower children also are catching up. When the children can learn on their own, apart from what they can learn in class, they go faster above their mates in other places.” — Mr. O., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

See the One Laptop per Child XO Laptop on Amazon.com.

UK study says digital inclusion makes people more confident

Posted in data, education, good news, membership benefits, research by forgr on October 10, 2008

Google Reader brought great news to me this morning in the form of an article from 24dash.com titled “New research links digital inclusion and social impact”. Yes, you read it correctly. An excerpt,

More than 12,000 people took part in the social impact demonstrator projects between January 2007 and March 2008. By the end of the project, participants were more likely to feel confident, and 40% had progressed into further training, employment, information, advice and guidance.

Working with the computers helped to improve people’s maths and English, and they were more likely to spend time with friends and family, and more likely to connect with and help out in their communities.

Published by Hannah Wooderson for 24dash.com in Communities, Wednesday 8th October 2008 – 3:38pm.

So in other words, this is really good news. It proves what I’ve been (just) insisting over the last 10 months. And yes, it’s just the beginning, I’m sure there will be ongoing studies to discover the long term impact, and more studies that out-right contradict it. However this is one more juicy juicy morsel that will help convince future partners, collaborators and potential funders that what we’re doing is good for our community.

Keep it coming, we need all the proof we can get.