Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Help NYC Public Schoolers with GrayMatter

Guest post by Jeremy Meyers

Last year, my friends and I were NYC public high schoolers who needed resources for our own educational interests. Soon after we learned that many of our friends at different high schools similarly needed resources to ace AP tests, research microbes, and attend debate conferences. We had to made due without the materials we needed for our classes and extracurriculars and then focused our time on creating GrayMatter so that other innovative students like ourselves would be able to get the resources they need to learn.

GrayMatter enables anyone to help NYC public high schoolers get resources they need for school. All they have to do is visit www.graymatter.it to contribute to a project of choice, and get photos and thank-you notes from the students you reach.
Above: Screenshot of GrayMatter’s website. Choose a project to donate to and give--it’s just like an online shopping cart. Current projects are requests from NYC public high schoolers, and we look forward to reaching more students in the future.

An innovative teacher seeks creative ways to impart her knowledge onto her students. However, as students grow older, moving into secondary and higher education, they need to be innovative for themselves. As students develop into unique people, they develop unique ways of learning along with unique goals and interests. Sometimes those interests aren’t represented in the curriculum or in the selection of existing after-school activities, especially with budget cuts demanding larger class sizes and fewer extra programs. Innovation on the part of students is required.

Expressing these unique interests requires resources and funds. Tausif of Staten Island learned this when he realized that his school couldn’t afford to quench his yearning to enhance his knowledge of the bass. Tausif soon realized he had to be innovative to embrace this interest which was gradually becoming a passion. He turned to GrayMatter for help. Other students who have used GrayMatter have similar stories and came to the same conclusion: schools are not capable of catering to individual needs, aspirations, and interests. GrayMatter channels students’ innovative ideas and interests into an effective way to bring them into reality.

Jim, president of a community service club at his high school in Brooklyn, wanted to improve his club’s reach and leadership by attending a regional training conference. His school couldn’t provide him with the funds necessary for himself and a fellow officer to attend. Jim visited our website, www.GrayMatter.it, signed up for an account, and created a project by writing an essay about himself, his school, and how participating at the conference would impact himself and his club. After Jim’s project was approved by a the club’s teacher advisor, our team reviewed it and posted it on our website for anyone to contribute to.

So far 19 donors have contributed almost $400, all of which goes to Jim’s project (and none of which goes to support our organization). When Jim’s project is fully funded in the next few weeks, our team will use its funds to pay for the two students to attend the conference. As they attend the conference, the pair will take pictures and upload these pictures and a thank you note to the donors on our website. GrayMatter enables anyone to become a philanthropist and directly see the impact they have made and the educational innovation they have sponsored.

Please help these students in need: www.GrayMatter.it/projects
Like us on facebook: www.facebook.com/GrayMatterfdn
Follow us on Twitter: @GrayMatterfdn

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