GIVE

By: Daniella Cohen

Information Access , Techie

Every child deserves a world class education with a student-body that treats them with equal respect and empathy, regardless of their race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion, or socio-economic status. Yet according to Gallup's 2014 Student Poll -- which surveyed more than 800,000 U.S. public school students -- HALF of U.S. students (elementary through high school) lack hope for the future.

If there are millions of American students who do not feel empowered to use their strengths to positively contribute to their learning environments, consider how many more students there are around the world who share similar challenges?

Despite cultural differences, most students can identify common societal traits that are part of the human experience. Our organization, GIVE, challenges students to reach outside of their comfort zone and connect with someone living in a completely different situation. Through the process of learning about others, we learn about ourselves. More importantly, we are empowered to close educational gaps by learning peer-to-peer.

GIVE was first founded as a letter-writing project. Hundreds of letters from schools across the US have been sent to schools in India, Uganda and Rwanda. Letter-writing fosters incredible bonds between students that develop empathy and cultural understanding. As we grew the project, we have also elected to give books and thousands of flip-flops signed with messages of hope to partnering schools in need.

More recently, we were inspired to provide computer-based educational content to partnering schools in Uganda. While many second and third world countries have access to electricity, there are considerable limitations to accessing the world wide web. To address this challenge, G.I.V.E. is now pre-loading resources such as Khan Academy videos, guided lessons and Wikipedia articles onto netbooks and laptops to provide “offline” internet accesss. That means our solution can be used anywhere in the world, even in rural areas without any connection. All that is necessary is a power source and a curious mind. The potential is limitless!

To fulfill our mission of promoting cultural understanding among students and strengthengthening the education at our partner schools, we also ask students to build educational video lessons and projects. This peer-to-peer learning is an amazing opportunity for both "teacher" and "learner."

Here my co-founder and I explain how it works:

 

The general public can help support this project the following ways:

PRIORITY #1: Become A Pen-Pal

This is what GIVE is centered around: students building friendship, empathy and cultural understanding leads us to a better world (who knows, maybe friendship is the answer to war, too!)


PRIORITY #2: Fundraise

We are raising money to get laptops and educational content to schools


PRIORITY #3: Make Educational Videos

You could help us transform the education of a student in Uganda.


Team Members

  • Daniella Cohen

    co-founder

    Hi, I'm Daniella Cohen and I like to think of myself as a girl who loves to make new friends. In fifth grade I started a pen pal connection with a school in Bangalore, India and learned the importance of friendship through my pen pal, Suma. My passion for friendship and cultural understanding led her to co-found G.I.V.E. -- a project with the goals of promoting empathy and enhancing education. We have sent thousands of letters and flip flops, signed with messages of hope, from schools across the US to schools in India, Uganda and Rwanda. With recent funding, G.I.V.E has also been able to install internet and send laptops to some of their partner schools. Daniella has been invited to speak at several universities including Harvard University, Princeton University and Northwestern University. I have lead several workshops at the Ashoka's Youth Venture Summits in Washington D.C. and Wisconsin.  I have also received the Build-a-Bear Huggable Hero Award, The Presidents Volunteer Service Award, Princeton Prize in Race Relations, and The Prudential Spirit of Community Award. I was featured in a Belgian documentary: “30 under 30 International Social Entrepreneurs” by GoYoung.  I am also on the Global Youth Council for Ashoka's Youth Venture and the Youth Advisory Board for The Born This Way Foundation. Currently a senior at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois I am on the Girls Varsity Golf Team, Math Team, and Mock Trial Team.

  • G.I.V.E.

    the project

    Go.Innovate.Volunteer.Educate is a project supported by numerous incredible students. We have two main goals: to promote cultural understanding among students and to strengthen the education at our partner schools. We have sent thousands of letters and flip flops, signed with messages of hope, from schools across the US to schools in India, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Impact

Three Dot Dash Nominee!

Dec. 11, 2015

My friend Jennifer Ebaugh nominated me for Three Dot Dash® -- a global initiative of the We Are Family Foundation® designed to recognize and support the efforts of Global Teen Leaders around the world who are actively working on projects that promote a more peaceful society by addressing issues related to basic human needs: food, water, health, shelter, safety, education and the environment.

Read more here: http://threedotdash.org/the-summit/global-teen-leaders/2016-global-teen-leaders/1047-daniella-cohen#.Vm4TheMrKqA

Meet the GIVE team

Nov. 25, 2015

PARTHA RAJENDRA, co-founder: 

A recent Computer Science graduate from UVA, and co-founder of GIVE, tirelessly working on the project from the inception in 2010 through 2013. Partha is also an important member to SEED (Student Entrepreneurs for Economic Development). He also is involved with many technology ventures at UVA. Partha applied his extensive knowledge when installing the computers and internet in India. Partha is passionate about bringing the internet to offline schools being that he has seen the need first-hand. Since 1999, Partha traveled with his family to help at the Sahasra Deepika Institute for Education, a residential school for impoverished youth in Bangalore, India.  


HANNAH CHONKAN-UROW:

Hannah loves writing letters and learning about new cultures with her pen pal Triveni who lives in Bangalore, India. In her free time, she also loves to travel! Hannah recently spent time in Israel learning the culture and spreading empathy across the world! When she isn’t writing letters, traveling, or studying, she swims fast on the Highland Park Varsity Girls Swim Team. Her signature stroke is the butterfly.


GABE SMALL: 

Gabe is passionate about biology and chemistry, which is great because he wants to engage students across the world in science! When he isn't researching microbes or bioengineered plants, he plays soccer for the Highland Park Varsity Soccer Team and the Chicago Fire Juniors Soccer Club. He is also an avid yogi.


ZOEY MELINGER: 

School is very important to Zoey and she feels it's necessary to share her love of learning with students who don't have access to the internet. In her free time, she runs on the Highland Park Track Team and Field Hockey Team.  Zoey also enjoys spending time with her two sisterster and their fluffy white dog, Walter.


ALLEN WEHNER:

Also known as GIVE's chief science nerd, Allen wants to spread his love of science to schools in developing countires. Allen also participates in the Highland Park High school theater program and chorus.


COREY NOVICK:

Corey loves to find new ways to involve his school and community through makreting, serving as bot our marketing and public relations agent. Corey is also a star DECA-er as he made it to internationals ofr his marketing category.

 


BENNETT PRESKILL:

As a recent Catapult Incubator Entrepeneur, Bennett offers a unique perspective that is critical to GIVE's growth. He is also very athletic: a key player on the Highland Park Soccer Team, Vollyeball Team, and most importantly, the Math Team!


JUSTIN MILLS:

Justin is a star-athlete who loves football and baseball. He brings leadership from the field to the GIVE team everyday. In his free time, he loves to read and learn about history, which is why he wants to connect and share with students abroad.


FRANCESCA BLOCK:

Better known as "Frannie," she is our professional problem-solver, tackling problems with a "can do" attitude and innovation. Frannie wants to shre her passion for learning with schools abroad. When she isn't studying like the proud nerd she is, you can find her figure skating like an angel on the ice.

Chicago Tribune

April 2, 2015

The video we built was honored at the White House Film Festival

The Chicago Tribune did a full page spread on G.I.V.E. check it out here!

Teaching Empathy In Schools

Oct. 2, 2014

Hannah, Bennett and I presented to one of our partnering classrooms.  If you want to see what our peer-to-peer learning programs looks like, check this out!

Forbes Article mentions G.I.V.E.

July 31, 2012

Entitled Millennial Social Entrepreneurs Are Making Their Own Education, Forbes looked at the gap between our world's structures and the needs of youth worldwide.  As we pair schools around the world to promote friendship, G.I.V.E. earned a special mention. 

Make Your Mark

Dec. 13, 2011

We earned some media coverage for our pen-pal program with the SDIE School in India!

Many of the children at the Sahasra Deepika School (SDIE) are orphans or they were abandoned by their parents. These 53 children have experienced tragedy in their young lives and creating bonds of friendship across time zones and oceans hopefully will open the minds of my peers and the SDIE students to the world. 

Read the full article here

How GIVE got started

Why we are banking on youth:


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