October 29, 2010

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, education leaders and students visit United Nations to attend launch of Virtue Foundation / iCivics Citizenship, Philanthropy & Digital Storytelling Initiative

On U.S. Election Day, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is visiting with students and education leaders at the United Nations to discuss the importance of civic engagement in the 21st Century. Joining Justice O’Connor is Joel Klein, Chancellor of NYC Department of Education, Geoffrey Canada, CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, and Drs. Joseph Salim and Joan LaRovere, Co-Founders of Virtue Foundation.

This event also marks the launch of the Virtue Foundation/iCivics Citizenship, Philanthropy and Digital Storytelling Initiative. This initiative creates curriculum and uses online games and digital storytelling to teach children about citizenship, philanthropy and civic responsibility. “iCivics is an initiative to inspire the next generation toward positive civic engagement,” said Justice O’Connor. “I am delighted that iCivics is partnering with the Virtue Foundation on this innovative program which will provide access to technology while teaching citizenship and philanthropy to children across the country.”

Designed to take advantage of 21st Century technology and encourage youth to connect through meaningful topics, the project gives children the opportunity to tell their stories of community service, citizenship and the positive impact they are making. “We are proud to be partnering with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and iCivics on this initiative, which builds upon the Virtue Foundation’s success in providing a learning environment in which students are acquiring essential technology skills, engaging in community service, and being empowered to make a difference,” said Dr. Salim. “Giving students access to cutting-edge technology while encouraging children to tell their own stories of community service advances not only individual students’ education, but has the potential to transform entire communities [through viral philanthropy].”

Today, the first pilot of this initiative will be launched in five NYC schools with the goal of expanding the project nationally in 2011 to include children from the United States and around the globe. In collaboration with Justice Georgina Wood, this initiative will also be launched in Ghana through the Virtue Foundation Institute for Innovation and Philanthropy in Ghana, a new center for interdisciplinary collaboration aimed at achieving high-impact sustainable development solutions.

About Virtue Foundation: The Virtue Foundation is a non-profit organization with Special Consultative Status to the United Nations. Its mission is to increase awareness, to inspire action, and to render assistance through healthcare, education and empowerment initiatives. Comprised primarily of volunteers, Virtue Foundation is guided by the principle that true global change must begin within each of us – one person at a time, one act at a time. www.virtuefoundation.org.

About iCivics: iCivics (formerly Our Courts) is a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy. iCivics is the vision of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is concerned that students are not getting the information and tools they need for civic participation, and that civics teachers need better materials and support. www.icivics.org.