More recently, however, I have been realizing the power of the network. My laptop project has drawn in thousands of dollars in donations and countless people providing their moral and emotional support. The most important part of this experience has been learning that there are people out there who want to support what I am doing and help. After all, if it takes a village to raise a child, I want to make sure my village knows I have 160 children to raise in my classroom.
About a month ago the City of Philadelphia created a platform for the purpose of connecting people with ideas to people who can support them. Change By Us Philly is still in its nascent stages (it's also officially in Beta testing phase) but has already lead to a fruitful connection for me that may help actually provide netbooks to my students at significantly less cost than I had expected. It runs on the platform of connecting people who can provide resources, volunteer hours, or help of other kinds to those who need it. As a social-emotional mammal, I love the heck out of this website!
While the concept of a village may have eroded quite a bit (especially in large cities like Philadelphia), the digital village is one that is easily connected. Websites like Change By Us Philly and Donorschoose.org are only two of a new wave of connected tools to help people get what they need to support their dreams. If more people use these tools collaboratively I truly believe we can actually make a change here for the better.