ellohay! West Michigan

What does ellohay! West Michigan do?

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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!

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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

ellohay! West Michigan officially has volunteers

Posted in support, tech support, to-do list, volunteers by forgr on January 25, 2009

I’d like to welcome Tom and Natasha to the ellohay! West Michigan team. They have both been giving oodles of time towards our growing to-do lists, helping with organization and providing a multitude of ideas and improvements.

It’s really great to see this project grow, to see people believe in it right along with me, and to know that it can and will advance, get better, get stronger.

This has the potential to be an extraordinary thing, thank you for working to make it happen.

If you have a little time and want to volunteer too, here are three ways to take the next step. Email me, Marie-Claire Camp, call me (616) 446-3622 and we can talk about what you might be interested in doing, or write a note to ellohay! West Michigan P.O. Box 1994 Grand Rapids, MI 49501.

Thanks for being awesome guys.

What motivating factors would make a tech support person want to volunteer his services in his free time?

Posted in strategy, tech support, volunteers by forgr on September 1, 2008

A month ago, I asked, “What motivating factors would make a tech support person want to volunteer his services in his free time?”

Highlights from the community’s answers,

Renato Simoes Batista, System Analyst at Accenture writes:

Many reasons are possible, for example:
– Opportunity to learn or to be in contact with new technologies;
– Build a network connection;
– Feeling of social responsibility about helping others;
– Recognition of his work (in some level. e.g.: Publication of his name in the organization website, as a volunteer)

In the bottom line, the person needs to feel that it would be good for him to volunteer.
For example, the PMI’s Chapters have a lot of volunteers that just want to develop project management skills.

Hope this helps.

Cheers.

Thierry Charles, Finance Manager (NGOs)

Hi Marie Claire,

I have been having several experiences with tech volunteering in my NGOs, an auditor, water engineers, a cost killer consultant, a coach, bankers, a dbase programmer etc…
None of them wanted to do this for living

Basically their heart was the first motivating factor (as student they used to volunteer, or members of their family or friends do it)

They chose to help but did not want to do the usual business (answering the phone, meeting with people).

They chose to help with their skills
because it was simple efficient and with the best leverage (of their time)

Though, all missions were not a success.

Good points to have a successful experience are

– A mission with a clear begin and a clear end
– A light time table with a negociated dead end (lack of pressure)
– Large autonomy (they should be able to work home)
– Higher rate of success if they work on new projects
– One and only one correspondant within the NGO (with a backup)

Care about the reward
A presentation in front of the board or honor membership were surprisingly highly rewarding.
But this should only be speaken of at the end of the mission.

They in general are pride to work for you, but they tend to be modest.
They are recognized as a specialist within your organization, which gives them confidence (it is not always the case in their normal life)
They like to choose, do not hesitate to present various missions.
The first two meetings are important, If you do not feel the guy, stop.

In France a good experience is passerelles et competences (enclosed)

They offer mission from ngos and professionnals (in activity) propose their service
The split of their mission is the following
31% marketing
28% HR
19% finance law
14% IT
19% strategy organization

hope this helps

Links:

  • http://www.passerellesetcompetences.org
  • Ask a question on LinkedIn and get genuine answers

    Posted in feedback, support by forgr on August 9, 2008

    I asked: What motivating factors would make a tech support person want to volunteer his services in his free time?

    I got 16 answers, and they weren’t cheap, blow off answers either. I was genuinely surprised at the care and time each person took to write answers to this question. Check out the answers here.

    ‘Laptops for Sixth Graders?’

    This is a great article to come across while surfing… I’m actually glad that it was written. I need to hear this kind of stuff.

    Take a minute to read an excerpt from this article written back in 2004 titled ‘Laptops for Sixth Graders?’ about a grant offered through Michigan’s Freedom to Learn initiative (FTL), which allocates $68 million for school districts to lease laptops to kids for up to four years:

    Placing computers in classrooms is, of course, only the latest educational fad, designed to divert our attention from the real issue, which is what our children actually know once they leave school. Sure, technology is important and students will have to be able to work with computers to be successful in the workforces of today and tomorrow.

    But computer skills can be learned without handing out personal computers. They are skills a good percentage of children already know and use on home computers by the time they are in the sixth grade. Bringing any child up to speed who has no computer at home should be a matter of selective targeting, maybe even by giving out a small number of personal computers.

    But this should never be confused with measures aimed at improving student academic achievement, particularly when studies have failed to reveal any such relationship. This appears to be another program where money is being spent, simply “because we can.”

    Read the entire article posted here on Apr. 6, 2004 by Jeff Steinport

    Jeff Steinport is a computer network administrator for Advantage Sales & Marketing of Walker, Mich. and treasurer for the Grand Rapids Board of Education. Jeff is also a member of the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority board.


    Alright, so the challenge is to do what? Make sure that when we design this project, that it’s genuinely good, advantageous to be involved with, different. It shouldn’t stink up the place with poor planning, ill informed recommendations, or inappropriate goals.

    The frustration is palpable in this article. It would be a terrible thing to evoke similar sentiments in our future clients.

    I’m going to speculate (this is only a guess) of the potential downfalls of this program at this time:

    • Potentially, the computers were leased, not donated
    • Potentially, there was no curriculum in place to integrate the computer as an effective tool
    • Potentially, there was no infrastructure for tech support
    • Potentially, the training sessions for teachers, students, parents were not in depth enough, or of limited use
    • Potentially, there were no clear goals for the introduction of these tools into this environment
    • Potentially, students weren’t using them appropriately
    • Potentially, they were intrusive in the classroom

    If we’re going to do this right, we need to do some serious homework. We need to know needs, desires, concerns from all parties involved. Our goal should be to make this program as seamless as possible, useful, accessible, sustainable, measurable.

    Here’s another article titled “Giving Laptops to Sixth Graders Won’t Improve Their Education

    Here’s an article discussing why the “State laptop program [was] erased

    And last, but not least, the infamous Freedom to Learn website

    What other kinds of things would make a program like ours go sour? What could we go so wrong in our plan so far, that would make you as a potential client feel as frustrated as Jeff was?