August 27, 2008

The Louisiana Children’s Museum Days of Hope

Virtue Foundation Donates Digital Education Computer Station To Louisiana Children’s Museum To Encourage Children’s Use Of 21st Century Multimedia Tools To Support Their Dreams For The Future

During Days of Hope program at Louisiana Children’s Museum, the Foundation collaborates with Louisiana Voices to present digital storytelling workshops for children that highlight Louisiana’s rich cultural history.

NEW YORK & NEW ORLEANS – August 27, 2008 – On the 3rd anniversary of Katrina, Virtue Foundation (The Foundation) is proud to partner with the Louisiana Children’s Museum (LCM) to deliver a message of hope by donating a permanent digital storytelling computer station to the Museum. The Foundation will conduct introductory digital storytelling activities, workshops and professional training during the “Days of Hope” event at the Museum on August 29-30, 2008.

“We are so excited to offer new ways for children to express their feelings and build literacy skills. Opportunities for families to learn together are the richest experiences we offer at the Museum, and to be able to take that experience home, in a cutting-edge, digital format–that is really exciting! This new resource means that repeat visits to the Museum can offer extended chapters in storytelling,” says Julia Bland, LCM Executive Director.

“By providing an accessible platform at schools, museums and other venues for children to share their vision, hopes and dreams using a technology rich format, the Virtue Foundation hopes to bring national and international awareness to the critical need of providing each and every child with a 21st Century education,” said Dr. Joseph Salim, the Executive Director of Virtue Foundation.

Connecting with Students
Friday’s “Days of Hope” events at LCM include The Foundation working with Pre-K students from William J. Fischer Elementary School (Fischer), a charter school in Algiers. In collaboration with Louisiana Voices, The Foundation’s project introduces children to Louisiana’s rich cultural and folkloric heritage while engaging them in a playful, digital learning experience that encourages the expression of their creative and storytelling abilities.

Beginning with this school year, Fischer’s Pre-K students will use Apple iBook laptops recently donated by The Foundation to enhance the school’s ability to provide digital education tools to its students. The children will receive a copy of their digital stories on CD so that they can continue to develop their stories either at school or at the Museum throughout the year.

“Young children who have the opportunity to incorporate technology into their everyday lives really have a head start on later skill building. Using computers also develops fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and it creates more visual-cognitive connections. Digital storytelling creates a dynamic visual-auditory learning experience. We can’t wait to explore this technology with our students,” says Rose Williams, Fischer head teacher and Pre-K Grade Level Chairperson.

Throughout the event days, Museum visitors can create mini-movies about their hopes and dreams using the permanent state-of-the-art computer installation.

Connecting with Educators
The “Days of Hope” events include several opportunities for professional development on 8/29/08 and 8/30/08. These include hands-on training workshops provided by The Foundation on the use of digital storytelling tools in the classroom.

The Virtue Foundation
Since 2005, The Foundation’s Louisiana Education Initiative (“LEI”) has sought to inspire children post-Katrina and Rita by introducing 21st Century education tools into the classroom while at the same time linking their experiences to positive and inspiring themes.

In December 2006, The Foundation donated 660 laptops and software suites valued at over $1 million to schools impacted by Katrina and Rita. The Foundation continues to conduct digital storytelling workshops, professional training and sponsor other innovative events to encourage creativity and innovation in the use of digital educational tools.

Virtue Foundation is a public charitable and nongovernmental organization with special consultative status to the United Nations. The Foundation’s mission is to increase awareness of prevalent global issues, to inspire people to action, and to render humanitarian assistance through healthcare, education, and empowerment initiatives.