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Back to their future – together!

August 11, 2011 1 comment

This was part of my speech on August 7 at Portland, Oregon during the 8th Annual AERO Conference — Transforming Education & Our World and was originally posted at the TEDxKids@BC website. I hope you will enjoy the video I made for the occasion – bear in mind that this was my first attempt at video editing! ;-) I am looking forward to your feedback on my thoughts around bringing the kids into a partnership with us adults and making a social change and shaping the future together

Try to imagine a future without kids. It hurts to even think about this, right? It’s a nightmare we better never see! How about kids without a future? Unfortunately, the world in which many kids have no future already exists — we live in it every day.

I am not talking runaway climate change roasting the biosphere here — from poverty, to no access to clean drinking water, to diseases, to no basic human rights — examples of this kind abound. But the kids also face problems like outdated school systems, inefficient healthcare, disconnectedness from nature, society that values conformity over authenticity…

In our world, adults decide for the kids: From serving chocolate milk during school lunch to opting out from vaccines… From cutting school budgets and enforcing standardized testing to choosing energy sources and CO2 limits… From what to learn and whom to learn with to when and how to play! Read more…

Be sure of your dreams!

May 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh,” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw,
“I just wanted to be sure of you.”

NOTE: This was originally posted at the new TEDxKids@BC blog. I invite my readers to check the blog out as we’re trying to bring various authors to share their stories and ideas around empowering kids, nurturing passion, fostering creativity, supporting authentic learning! 

There were many times in my life when I would dream, often with my eyes open, but it wasn’t until sometime last year that some of those dreams popped out of my head and started running in front of me. It wasn’t something I did that brought them to life. Nor could I control them once they were on their own either. All I could do was to touch them to be sure of them. Read more…

Dale J. Stephens, a 19 years old entrepreneur and unschooler, wants to revolutionize higher education!

March 20, 2011 5 comments

“I have never let school interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

With the above quote from the great American author, Dale J. Stephens, a 19-year old entrepreneur and unschooler, opens the movement to bring unschooling concepts into higher education — UnCollege!

Dale J. Stephens -- 19 years old entrepreneur and unschooler

After initially following the curriculum in a traditional school setting, Dale began unschooling in 6th grade. As an unschooler he lived in France, started a photography business, worked as a campaign photographer, spent a summer at UCLA, and worked at a venture-backed education technology startup, Zinch.

Last fall, after finishing ‘high school’ in his own unschooling way, he followed the societally-accepted path and enrolled in college. After his frustrations with college compounded recently, he realized how little he appreciated the opportunities to learn from life that he had whilst unschooling.  So he decided to revolutionize higher education by bringing some of the ideas of unschooling to college. Read more…

Amazing kids & amazing dreams!

March 2, 2011 Leave a comment

We at World4Children are passionate about helping kids live their dream and apply their own passions to build a better future for themselves. Luckily, we’re not alone and many organizations around the world share similar values. We’re happy to have one of them as one of our greatest supporters and hopefully partners in the future to help more kids follow their dreams!

Amazing Kids! is a children’s non-profit organization offering fun, challenging, and self-motivating educational enrichment for kids and teens worldwide! Their online magazine is created by kids and highly respected by many kids, parents and educators. Their programs are helping kids with opportunities to improve their skills or get resources to help them launch their own dreams. Read more…

Thank you for taking part in the Amazing Kids! Perrific Oscar Picks Contest!

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

As the Oscars are unfolding tonight, we’d like to take the time and thank everyone for their participation in the Amazing Kids! Perrific Oscar Picks Contest! World4Children was very happy to join Perry Chen, the 10 years old film critic we interviewed recently and Amazing Kids!, the host of this fun contest.

As you know, the contest invited kids, between the age 6-17, worldwide to predict the Oscar winner for “Best Animated Feature of 2010” for the tonight’s 83rd Academy Awards®. The kids were choosing their own favorite film from the top 3 Oscar®-nominated feature animation films, How To Train Your DragonToy Story 3, and The Illusionist.

We`re excited to see which film did the kids choose as their favorite — and if their choice will agree with the Academy, which voted for Toy Story 3! ;-)

Stay tuned for more information about the prizes and the kids choice! The winners will be announced March 1!

Thank you!!

There’s no age limit for passion — meet Perry Chen, a 10-yr-old film critic, radio show host, animator…

February 4, 2011 6 comments

Perry Chen with Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim post interview at LA Film Festival, June 2010 -- Photo by Zhu Shen -- © Perry's Previews

When 8 years old Perry Chen entered 3rd grade, his teacher was in for a surprise. Perry was an avid reader and was able to understand the meaning of words at high school level. Instead of drilling him with the same homework practice as expected by an average 3rd grader, the teacher encouraged him to write — and changed his life forever!

Today, less than a month shy of his 11th birthday, Perry is famous as the youngest film critic in the world and gets free passes to screenings of the newest films for kids, interviews movie makers and actors, even joins them on the red carpet. As a young reviewer, he has a unique way of rating movies by giving them starfish and is not looking just for the visual effects and their appeal to kids, but is very interested in the story — particularly the moral message coming out of it.

You would think he’s too excited about being a movie critic, but Perry’s passion doesn’t end with film reviews. He already had an interesting career doing book reviews in the past and recently added restaurant reviews to his growing portfolio. He enjoys drawing and essentially turning any kind of materials into art and have recently ventured into doing animation films. Since his interests are far and wide, there’s no knowing what he may end up doing next! ;-)
Read more…

You’re 14 & grandpa needs help to sell his old camera online – What would you do? Ben Lang chose to start a business!

January 24, 2011 4 comments

Benjamin Lang, at age 14 started selling used goods on eBay - now runs a business online and a very successful blog for young entrepreneurs EpicLaunch.com

How do you become a successful entrepreneur and run your business online if you’re a teenager and the world is in recession? In our interview with Ben Lang, he shares his story and inspires other young kids to pursue their dreams!

Your story started with eBay and a blog. Can you tell us a bit more about it? What or who inspired you to enter the world of entrepreneurship?

It all started when my grandfather asked me if I could sell his camera equipment for him online. I agreed because it sounded interesting and the commission was quite promising. The truth is I made quite a hefty sum from the deal which convinced me to continue. Why not sell for my friends, family and even strangers?

From there it only went uphill. I created a website, started marketing to my network and neighborhood, be it through flyers, business cards and Craigslist. Eventually someone from Channel 12 saw my website and decided to interview me on “Surviving the Economic Crisis.” The video was featured on TV and to this day has over 30,000 views on YouTube.

Read more…

Want a chimp for a pet? 10 years old Brandon says you better make one smile!

January 19, 2011 2 comments

Brandon Wood and Dr. Goodall ~ Copyright ©JGI 2010

We are so pleased to introduce 10 years old Brandon Wood — another greatly inspiring kid in our interview series!

As most 10 years old boys, Brandon has a great love for animals, but not in the way you would expect. He is passionate about saving his favorites — our closest cousins among the Great Apes — from captivity!

Back in 2009, Brandon decided he wanted a chimp as a pet. Being curios if that is possible, he decided to research and learn more about these amazing animals, but what he found out caused a change of heart — instead of getting one as a pet, he decided he wanted to help save those held in captivity!

Since then, Brandon has been successfully raising awareness about the bad conditions in which chimps held in captivity for biomedical and other research live. He continually raises money to organize adoptions and transfer for such chimps to the Save the Chimps Sanctuary using his Make a Chimp Smile blog.

Brandon recently spoke at the TEDxYouth@TampaBay conference organized on Universal Children’s Day on November 20, 2010 (see video below) and is actively engaged with people and organizations that are interested in helping these endangered species!
Read more…

What do 1940′s girls do today? — ask 13 year old designer Asya Gonzalez to find out!

January 10, 2011 2 comments

Asya Gonzalez, age 13, entrepreneur & designer, creator of Stinky Feet Gurlz

It has been a while, but now that World4Children is officially registered as a non-profit society with a goal to engage and empower kids, we’d like to restart the idea of regular interviews with inspiring kids and today we’d like to introduce you to Asya Gonzalez.

Asya is a 13 year old designer, who in 2010 launched her own fashion line, inspired by a doodle in her mom’s childhood journal. Armed with her passion for drawing and design and with her mom’s help, Asya successfully launched her own business — Stinky Feet Gurlz, producing and selling apparel and accessory items styled with one of 14 girl characters, inspired by 1940′s era.

Despite being busy with her business as well as school — she is a dedicated student who receives honors from her school — Asya feels socially responsible and recently decided to dedicate part of her time to help prevent Child Sex Trafficking and Slavery! With her foundation — She Is Worth It! — she is trying to help bring awareness and action to put an end to one of the worst possible crimes against children!
Read more…

Sir Ken Robinson and healthy food

December 18, 2010 1 comment

“Had I the heavens embroidered cloths, Enwrought with gold and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet; But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” ~ W.B. Yeats

“And every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson

Image credit: Jamie Oliver (TED 2010)

Recently, I ran into a blog post from a middle school teacher who asked his students to explain how would they reform school. A noble idea to be commended! — you might say. That’s what I thought too, but then I saw the answers, including:

  • Better cafeteria food with real ingredients
  • A monthly educational field trip
  • iPads, netbooks or laptops in classes
  • More freedom in terms of leaving to use the restroom, eating a snack or getting a drink of water, etc.

Something feels wrong! Of course, there were some great ideas in the complete list — like more electives, feedback instead of marks, and community service once a week — but somehow the list suggested that all of the problems with the current education system can be resolved if we buy few iPads, stop making kids suffer with a full bladder till the end of the lesson and throw in a field trip or two?!

Looking at the list made me remember a lesson I learned in my career in software development – and somehow always forget and need to re-learn: Users (don’t!) always know what is best for them! Sometimes it takes someone from outside to notice what they’re doing wrong and show them alternative ways.
Read more…

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