(from newsletter)

As I write this, I’m flying home from our first Waveplace mentoring workshop, held in Immokalee, Florida. Over the last five long days, I taught our new Squeaky Tales course to a class of eight adults, most of them teachers. The week was enlightening and exhausting!

We also started our third Waveplace pilot with a whopping 42 fourth graders, each of whom received their very own XO laptop. I led the class with a projector and microphone while the eight mentors worked with smaller groups. The kids were absolutely incredible: well-behaved, motivated, engaged. The mentors were equally amazing, working as a cohesive team, guiding each child’s discoveries while keeping things fun. We’re expecting great things from the next nine weeks. I’m hoping we learn as much as the kids.

Our filmmaker Bill Stelzer recorded the whole week on video, both for our upcoming documentary and for our courseware DVDs. Our own Mary Scotti spent the week as well, learning Etoys for St Vincent. Best of all, Larry Abramson from NPR spent a full day with us, so keep your radio tuned to hear his story on Waveplace in Immokalee.

Special thanks to Tithe and More, who funded half the Immokalee pilot, and the Collier County Migrant Student Summer Program, who funded the other half. Thanks also to One by One Leadership Foundation and Naples Social Action for putting it all together.

Immokalee is a study in contrasts. With almost half of its population living below the poverty line, it ranks as one of the poorest areas in the United States, though nearby Naples ranks as one of the richest. Immokalee’s migrant farm workers pick 90% of America’s winter harvest, much of which goes to our fast food restaurants, yet many workers stand in line to receive food themselves since they cannot afford to feed their families. Your ketchup packet likely came from an Immokalee worker who was paid $50 to pick two tons of tomatoes.

Our shared hope is for a better future for the children of Immokalee. This week in class, it felt more than possible.

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