Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
“We simply don’t have the money to produce big videos every year,” shares Tyler McClelland of Trickle Up, a nonprofit organization that empowers women to break the cycle of poverty by starting sustainable livelihoods of their own.
So they did what a lot of nonprofits do: create a short pitch deck. But through creative use of PowerPoint, the deck became a three-second story-telling animation called: “She’s the Solution.”
McClelland, who serves the organization as Special Assistant to the President, admits he’s somewhat of a PowerPoint whiz. But he insists that anyone can create a compelling presentation using the program.
“If you think about it, a slideshow is the same as a movie reel,” McClelland said. “It’s just a sequence of frames. So it’s possible—anyone can do it.”
So how did Trickle Up do it? First, the team brainstormed the narrative for the video and how to convey the organization’s mission. Then McClelland got to work, making extensive use of PowerPoint’s tools to design the animations.
“I designed the pathways to make the words stack, or when the money flies out of the basket [at 1:57], using the Custom Path tool,” he confides. “The preview function saved a lot of time by letting me see the animations without having to re-do all of them.”
Familiarity with the tool, he explained, made PowerPoint the obvious choice over learning to use a new program. “I’m not familiar with any video editing software,” he said. “PowerPoint is a tool we already had, and rather than spend time researching new software, we were thinking creatively about how to use PowerPoint and accomplish something that needed to get done.”
Arya Iranpour, Communications Officer at Trickle Up, added, “The beauty of Microsoft products, especially PowerPoint, is that you learn them from when you’re in middle school. I remember using it when I was in grade four. Anybody can do it, and you don’t have to be a professional to do it.” Iranpour helped see the video through its final stages, setting it to music and using a format converter to turn the PowerPoint file and accompanying music into a video.
The video has gotten quite a lot of mileage since it was first produced—and it gets noticed for McClelland’s creative use of the tool. “People have an ‘Aha’ moment because they’re familiar with PowerPoint,” he says.
The international organization received donated licenses of the Microsoft Office suite through our partner TechSoup. Trickle Up pushes its resources to go the extra mile to maximize impact where it matters most—in the lives of the impoverished women it serves.
For more on resources Microsoft provides to nonprofits around the world, visit: www.microsoft.com/ngo
"The newest release of Office 365 Education will help bring educators and students together to embrace the ever-increasing opportunities of this new era of digital learning." -Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft
As part of Microsoft YouthSpark -- our companywide initiative to empower 300 million youth through education, employment, and entrepreneurship -- Office 365 for Education is now available to teachers to use in the classroom for free. This enables young people around the world to access to the tools that will help set them up for success later in their education career and beyond.
The cloud-based software provides teachers with technology that lets them to be the architects of their own classroom. It has features ranging from high compatibility across Windows8 and non-Windows devices, to integrated social functions like microblogging, HD multiparty video and Skype.
Read more about Office 365 for Education here.
People’s Choice voting is now open for the Windows 8 Apps for Social Good contest! We have received some great apps that address social needs on everything from nutrition, to disaster preparedness, and mobile fundraising. Now you can vote for your favorite app and decide who walks away with the prize of $10,000 and a Windows Phone.
Public voting is open from March 1-15. In the meantime, a panel of judges are reviewing the apps for two more prizes:
· Best Windows 8 App
· Best Windows 8 Phone App
The winner in each of those categories will receive $15,000 and a Windows Phone.
So vote now! And check our Twitter and Facebook for updates from the contest.
Our YouthSpark Star of the Week is Marquis Cabrera, who was recognized by the Case Foundation as one of their Finding Fearless Award Winners last year. We partnered with the Case Foundation for the initiative and sponsored a Microsoft YouthSpark award to recognize a young changemaker. Marquis won the YouthSpark award, so we caught up with him to find out how he’s using technology to change the world.
Most important question first -- how are you liking your Surface?
[Laughs] I’m Skyping you on it right now! I love it. So far, I’ve been able to take meeting notes, use Office applications, track expenditures, create reports – it’s been very handy and efficient!
How did you get interested in technology?
I’ve always been interested in technology. But my interest started in high school – where I learned how to take desktop computers apart and put them back together. I learned about public data networks, user interface and Steve Case’s role in revolutionizing the Internet. As a tech enthusiast, I am honored to have been selected as one of the Case Foundation awardees.
Tell us about the nonprofit you started, Foster Skills.
While at Northeastern University, I founded Foster Skills, Inc. As a foster kid myself, an adoptee at age 15, and after attending care and protection cases and mentoring foster youth, I knew I wanted to create an organization that would help kids beat the odds and achieve life success.
How do you plan to use technology in your work at Foster Skills?
Foster Skills has big plans to use technology. Because we teach life skills, we want to utilize gamification skills training to pilot a program that will get more students excited about learning. Also, we are working with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families to improve their life skills curriculum and build a web portal of resources for children. We hope to develop a social networking component in the future, perhaps with LinkedIn.
What has been your most memorable moment at Foster Skills thus far?
Man, I have a lot of them. But mainly it is seeing people invest their time and money in the idea to improve outcomes for foster youth – it is incredibly humbling and encouraging. I also love the team here at Foster Skills: we do a lot of ‘head down’ work here, and the small tasks can seem like drudge, but when you add them up, you see big results. We’ve seen some great big results and I’m really grateful for that – and looking forward to seeing even more.
What is it like working with young people?
Once, a young black man that asked me in front of his friends: “Should we hang out with white people?” I answered: “Of course, man!” I’m biracial, and I spoke to them about race relations as if they were adults. They loved it – so much, that they asked me to sign their backpacks. I was like: “Really?” I’m not Lebron James or Kobe Bryant, but they still thought what I was doing was cool. That showed me that choosing to use my education as a vehicle for social change was the best thing I could have done for myself and others.
There are only three days left to vote in the Microsoft Give for Youth Challenge, presented in partnership with GOOD. You can vote for one of 129 youth efforts here and don’t forget to check your email and click-to-confirm to complete the process.
Your vote will help 20 nonprofits move on to Phase 3 of the contest, where they’ll feature their projects on the Give for Youth micro-funding platform and get a chance at $100,000 in matching funds from Microsoft.
Check out below a random selection of micro-projects from the contest. And make sure to VOTE!
Inspire Girls Now in Technology Evolution (IGNITE)
Who does it serve? Young girls of all backgrounds.
What does it do? IGNITE connects girls with women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) industries to serve as role models and mentors.
In their own words: “The purpose of IGNITE is to inspire girls of all backgrounds to envision themselves as leaders in STEM and to empower them to make that vision a reality.”
Who does it serve? Inner-city, at-risk boys between the ages of 12 and 19, most of whom have been court-ordered to our program.
What does it do? Provides life skills/character development, mentoring, tutoring. Provides opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship training.
In their own words: “Born into poverty, fatherless families, violent homes, violent neighborhoods, often taken care of by family members who do not want them, subjected to abandonment, abuse, and neglect; these young men turn to the streets and are often brought-up by the streets. They learn to survive, not live. Empowered Youth is a program based upon positive reinforcement, not punishment.”
Who does it serve? Low-income girls in Atlanta who attend Title 1 schools.
What does it do? Provides life skills development, fitness, nutrition, STEM education, mentoring, community service programs, financial literacy, college preparation and social experiences.
In their own words: “Our program directly impacts the community by decreasing the number of teen pregnancies, providing meaningful opportunities to engage diverse populations and exposing girls to a broad range of experiences. Cool Girls ensures that girls become self-assured and break cycles of poverty, teen pregnancy, racism and sexism.”
Who does it serve? First generation college students in San Francisco, California.
What does it do? First Graduate makes a 10-year commitment to each student and his/her family. They work with youth from seventh grade to senior year of college, providing services aimed at getting first generation college students graduated from a higher education institution.
In their own words: “We at First Graduate believe that a college degree is the best way to break the cycle of poverty within families, build a productive, educated workforce, and foster an engaged and active citizenry.”
Minds Matter of Denver
Who does it serve? Underprivileged high school students in Denver, Colorado.
What does it do? Experiential learning to improve skills in writing, critical thinking, public speaking, interviewing abilities, and math. Provides college prep, as well as SAT prep.
In their own words: “MMD has enabled participating students to achieve phenomenal success; in fact, during the 2010-2011 school years, 100% of MMD graduating seniors were accepted and attended major four-year college programs. Perhaps most amazingly, 100% of those graduating seniors were successful in securing some type of financial scholarship! Incredibly, this has been accomplished with 100% volunteer support.”
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