We work a lot with many educational organizations around the country but few have the understanding of what it means to work with youth nor a commitment to using technology to empower youth like MOUSE. They are also a tremendous joy to work with.
I have been involved with MOUSE since its inception - as a volunteer, former staff, and currently, as an advisory board member. I also had the recent opportunity to create a video for MOUSE's 10th anniversary and was able to spend time with both students (middle and high school) and educators involved in MOUSE programs. The passion with which the students and educators spoke left such an impression on me. MOUSE had changed the students' lives - it had changed their thoughts about what was possible for the future, it had opened their eyes and opened doors to a world that they had never thought they would be a part of. MOUSE programs gave them hope, gave them confidence, and helped them find their way - regardless of whether or not they pursued technology. These testimonials are the mark of a truly great nonprofit!!
As and evaluation consultant, I have been working with MOUSE for the past six months. This organization is impressive on two levels. First, they are a strong and vibrant learning organization, committed to constantly examining and reflecting on their practices and outcomes. The staff are amazingly open and willing to do whatever possible to improve their practices and increase the quality of programming for youth. Second, they are simply doing amazing work with young people. Specifically, they have managed to create unique learning environments within schools that are respectful and offer opportunities for youth to truly lead and educate adults. I applaud MOUSE for creating a curriculum that radically challenges the adult/youth and teacher/learner paradigm.
As a newly appointed board member of MOUSE, I am excited to say it is an honor to participate with an organization of the highest quality, and most sincere paricipants. Our most recent interns excelled and have continued to prove that the MOUSE "experience" in these tough economic times makes a difference.
MOUSE is unique on many levels. They grow annually, every person who works there is at a high level, the amount of money going towards staff is a small percentage of the overall budget. Over 90% of the students that work with MOUSE go on to higher education. They have not only used technology but have become leaders in their own communities. MOUSE's program, through engaged student, keeps technology up and running in schools across the globe by teaching the students skills to run their own systems. Most schools don't have the budget for a person to do that. MOUSE has quickly grown over the course of 11 years to be the leader in their field. MOUSE is the "go to" organization on how to incorporate technology into the school system. That is extremely valuable particularly in the world we live in today. I could go on and on but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that MOUSE is making a difference in peoples lives who might have never had the opportunity that MOUSE gave them and through that opportunity they go on to become engaged thoughtful working citizens in their community. What could be better than that?
MOUSE has been the cornerstone of systemic change in schools across this country for over 10 years, and it has been my distinct pleasure and honor to be a part of the extended "MOUSE family" for 5 of those years. From its inception MOUSE has truly empowered students to become leaders, creators, and collaborators for the greater good of their personal development and that of their wider school communities. MOUSE has impacted the lives of students and teachers in ways no other organization has (or can), and continues to be one of the greatest advocates for student achievement in the broadest (and most relevant) sense that I have encountered in my 13 years as an educator. The premise that our greatest and most meaningful resources are indeed our students is the driving force behind MOUSE. By acknowledging and harnessing the skills and desires of our students, they have changed the nature of education and how technology is and can be used in schools. Their impact is indelible. And, in turn, by providing an array of support structures to leverage and develop the necessary skills to use technology, MOUSE ensures students are able to succeed in the colleges and workplaces of the 21st century. My total admiration for MOUSE comes from the fact that in an era of high-stakes testing, students who participate in their programs are provided with a resource that is 100% relevant and meaningful to their futures.
I have been involved with MOUSE.org since it's inception; the last 4 years as a board member. This is an amazing organization that maximizes resources like no other non-profit I have worked with. They have relationships with and deep understanding of education. Their programming is terrific for schools, educators, administrators, kids and their parents. It's also a truly sustainable form of philanthropy for donors, as it contributes to a tech-ready 21st century workforce.