My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for iEARN-USA (International Education and Resource Network) , New York, NY, USA
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH IEARN: I started volunteering for iEARN, the International Education and Resource Network, in January 1993 -- which is when my ongoing relationship with, and lifetime commitment to, iEARN's ideals and life- and world-changing work began. I have been honored to form close and lasting ties with iEARN's US and worldwide staff and volunteers -- and the participating teachers and students around the world. Most of my volunteer work in 1993 was for one project and, despite having a salaried part-time position with a nonprofit organization in Michigan that required frequent travel from my home in rural Virginia (my residence at the time), plus extra hours of work, beyond the 20 hours for which I was paid from my home office, I volunteered at least 50 hours per week in 1993 for iEARN. iEARN's exciting and compelling projects, professional and dedicated staff, and growing, dedicated, and embracing on-line international community left me energized by those 50+ volunteer hours/week in 1993 -- and I am still as excited about iEARN in 2012 as I was in January 1993.
(NOTE: I am an ordinary person who is neither noble nor especially selfless, but iEARN's important work is so captivating. iEARN has paid me for some consulting work, but Dr. Ed Gragert and the iEARN-USA staff know that I will do any project as a volunteer, if iEARN needs me and if I am qualified to do the work.)
BRIEF OVERVIEW OF IEARN: The introductory paragraphy at iEARN.org states that "iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is [literally] the largest nonprofit global network in the world that enables teachers and young people to use the Internet and other technologies [and to help educators and students with no -- or minimal -- access to various technolgies] to access technologies, regardless of their location and financial limitations] to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world." (The text in brackets is mine.]
Although the number of participating students and teachers -- and new, exciting, unique projects -- worldwide increases with awareness and time, as of now (January 2012) an estimated 2 million students and 40,000 teachers in 130 countries, speaking 30 different languages (with English, translated or as a second language, being the common language for on-line collaboration) are participating in iEARN's projects. Please note that I have not viewed these participation statistics since some time last year -- 2011.
Please, I invite you to visit the iEARN-USA Web site at US.iEARN.org and/or the iEARN worldwide site at iEARN.org to learn about the current status of iEARN's impressive number of ongoing projects. To learn about iEARN's projects and programs in your country -- and abou iEARN's dedicated country coordinators and language resources -- I recommend that you visit the countries section of iEARN's Web site (iEARN.org/countries); you can select your country from a drop-down list or by selecting a region on the small world map on the main countries Web page; if you cannot locate your country on this Web page, new projects may just be starting (or be in the planning stages) and your help and support would be invaluable and gratefully accepted: Please send an e-mail message to 'ec AT iearn.org' if you cannot find your country.
iEARN offers both face-to-face workshops and on-line professional development courses for teachers who want to integrate on-line global project work into their classrooms. If you are not an educator, however (which is my situation), and wish to help iEARN in any way, I can tell you from personal experience that getting involved with iEARN will change your life and you will truly help to make a difference in the world; you *will* have an impact -- and iEARN will have an impact on you!
P.S. -- NOTE ON IEARN'S BEGINNINGS: Since 1988* iEARN has equipped more than 100,000 teachers all over the world with the technical, collaborative, and organizational skills they need to participate fully in a global, extremely interactive, and collaborative Internet-based learning environment.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
seeing the worldwide, personal and professional, impact that iEARN continues to have -- and that its teachers are able to make beyond their own classrooms. Alumni of iEARN's projects stay in touch with their former teachers, and often remain involved in the projects, even after they have graduated from high school. I personally know students who have made career choices because of the impact of their participation in iEARN projects.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
discover an untapped resource to provide iEARN with more donations and other resources. I currently am exploring some nascent ideas of ways to use Linux and free and open-source software. I am also finding out what technical skils iEARN needs so that I can enhance my IT skills so that I am qualified to help iEARN in those areas. I do not have any desire to change iEARN: Peter Copen's original idea and project, and the sound pedagogy and international-community-based collaboration of iEARN "simply work."
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?
I wish I had funds to make a major donation, as well as more advanced skills and more time to volunteer/
Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)
As my ongoing involvement with iEARN continues, I learn just how deeply iEARN has changed -- and continues to change -- my life for the better. I also have friends that will last a lifetime (regardless of their location in the world and native language).
How did this volunteer experience make you feel?
I cannot describe the professional, personal, and even philosophical and spiritual benefits I gain as an ongoing volunteer for iEARN.