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MARCH 2013

Donated Computers Turn After Schoolers into Bloggers with a Cause
By Rich Monetti

Kid Bloggers

Through the generosity of one very community-minded individual, the Mt. Kisco Childcare After School Program found itself the recipient of five brand new PCs. As the computers appeared, excitement emerged among students and staff. But as the tech was tweaking us toward operation, anxiety replaced my excitement as a teacher at the center. How where we going to put our little neural net to good use?

Duh, you’re a writer Rich, they have something called blogs that makes everybody a journalist now. But who really wants to write unless you’re getting paid?

People who call themselves bloggers, I guess. I didn’t want to set that precedent with my kids. I decided, we’re going to generate some cash, and since (Mt. Kisco Childcare MKCCC a nonprofit, we’d have to follow suit and donate the proceeds.)

Before getting into the business model, let’s begin with content. I see a soccer game breakout in the backyard or one of our Feed me Fresh cooking projects begins, I hand somebody the camera. If the lucky child happens to be an older student, she must blog a story to go with the photo.

So if you ask 4th grader Kiduce Daniel, who drew the first assignment with his friend Stephen Mains, to report on the shiny tomatoes grown in our garden, he’s perfectly honest on what he likes most about the arrival of the computers. “Playing all the computer games,” he says without hesitation.

Why not? And are we [adults?] any different when it comes to work and play?

An educational innovator I sarcastically tell myself, I tie the two together.  “You want to play, you got to pay. Do a story and the games are yours,” I tell them.

I need to get better at this inspiration thing, and bringing them the jar with 76 cents accumulated ain’t quite it either. Stephen’s mom Kris isn’t so worried about that as MKCCC’s kids can be just as mum about their days as any others. “I’m excited to get the latest — especially the pictures — because it gives me a snapshot of what my kids are doing that day,” she says.

The center’s director of curriculum concurs and does that one better. “It’s a great way for parents to see that the things that go on here go beyond this just being a place to keep their kids busy,” says Dawn Meyerski.

And maybe a little print publicity produces enough inspiration that the bloggers ask for the camera rather than the keys to the click that begins their games. “Any encouragement is good, because it feels good to know your work is being recognized,” says Meyerski.

Why not, are they any different than us? I don’t know, maybe they will be.

By clicking the link at the end of each blog entry, a page view is recorded for that specific article on my Associated Content dashboard. This amounts to .16 cents per click. I bring the pennies in everyday and click them into a little glass jar. Once reaching $25 dollars, the money will be lent to Kiva.org, which is a microfinancing organization. Meaning, we will go to the website, chose a small business from a developing country and get the money back just like any loan. At that point, we will relend or donate to another charity. #

You can view the Mt. Kisco Childcare Kiva blog at http://mkcccblog.blogspot.com. To join the e-mail list or send suggestions for directing more traffic to the blog, email rmonetti@aol.com.

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