Updated Feb, 26th 2013
Pencils of Promise
RESEARCH: In coming up with an idea for this project, I decided to first dissect the values of education and to dissect what the risks are in the absence of it. In this way, I thought I could uncover some underlying truths about the values Americans (and possible donors) have. If I can make people care, I might can encourage them to act.
:: So why is knowledge important? What are the intrinsic VALUES of education to Americans? ::
Knowledge gives individuals freedom to live a better life.
It is a very powerful social equalizer between men and women, races, sexual orientation, and the disabled.
Knowledge is a currency, granting access to high-profile/cutting edge businesses. It's also an investment. It begets more knowledge.
Guatemala and Education
The people of Guatemala are impoverished and strapped for resources. To help provide care and/or funds to the family, they enlist children to work vs going to school. In the patriarchal society, boys are encouraged to stay in school, and girls are often expected to stay at home to take care of siblings and/or to do household chores. In the communities addressed by PoP, it can be too difficult to find teachers, supplies, housing and even a clear road to access. This does not lead much hope for their lives to improve.
Because of this hopelessness, young girls are often kidnapped or tricked into becoming sex workers (especially in rural communities). They take a chance when someone promises to take them to the U.S. to become a waitress or a housecleaner... only to find themselves transported to a city within Guatemala and forced into a brothel. Pimps take advantage of their vulnerability and hook them on drugs and alcohol so that they remain dependant and continue being sex workers. Some girls are happy to get $4.50 per "meeting" w a client... and feel they are making a decent living. They don't think they have hope to do better. I think this is a social injustice that would alarm many people.
Boys often drop out of school and become peddlers on the streets There is a culture that believes their lives can not be better. They have no ambition to do better, because there is seemingly no hope.
I think the social injustices mentioned above for boys and girls should be mentioned in campaigns. It's what made me raise my brows even more. it's not that they can't just improve their lives, their lives get worse, and they are placed in abusive, dangerous situations. It doesn't have to be this way. There can be hope for them.
:: Campaign Ideas ::
Social Justice/Cause-Oriented/Awarenes (meets donation)::
1) Donation campaign with short Documentary: Using Kony 2012's initial viral success as a model example, an impassioned filmmaker could make a documentary with a simple message about how to save young girls and boys from the cycle of poverty and powerlessness. This would include emotional personal stories, comparisons of girls and boys in America vs those in Guatemala, of families separated, and girls forced into prositution and boys into slums to sell fruit. At the end it could ask for $25 donation to help. Perhaps there could be swag they receive, too. Kony's was to plaster cities with posters of Kony so to bring awareness of what Kony has been doing. Previous participants in PoP would be notified and asked to repost the video -- and perhaps corporate sponsors could donate money for every "Like" the video receives. This could target many different people, because we all value freedom and hope.
2. "They Don't Matter:" A counter-intuitive headline for a campaign that shows children with the type boldly displayed over their faces (and ultimately drive people to a landing page on PoP website for further information/donation possibilities). Could be on busses, bus stops, subways, maybe even wrapped around a newspaper at some point. Since all humanity believes children matter, it might grab people's attention to figure out what's going on. NFC could be utilized for some phones and others could use scanners. The full message would be that their freedoms, and their hope for a better life doesn't matter. Girls in prostitution: their well-being doesn't really matter. It's playing on their subjegation. If it's not too heavy-handed in the imagery (and if it's attractive to look at) it might could work. It's needs to strike a delicate balance so it won't come off as overly preachy. I get turned off by the overly-preachy. I know I am not alone.
3. Our minds are like pencils; we must keep them sharpened. Volunteers within the U.S. could donate their time to tutor children after school—the money going to PoP. This could also apply to Skillshare or other online courses (although I had the tutoring idea, I didn't think to apply it to Skillshare until mentioned by Stephanie Fay - so I give her full credit for that facet).
4. Back to School Sales: Targets: student-age young adults, teenagers, parents. Portions of proceeds from participating corporate retailers could go to PoP. The issue might be explaining what the cause is while people are busily shopping. Perhaps they could download an app and get notices for deals/participating brands of PoP depending on their location... (maybe could be attached to a coupon app they've opted in for?
5. Conversations/Fundraisers/Dinners with high-profile guest speakers on current topics (this is for the wealthy market to hob nob with politicians, etc... to spend large sums on dinners). Intellectual discovery comes from understanding what those did before you and then making your own addition to an ongoing discussion. This communication started with the advent of writing—a fundamental use of the pencil. Through sketching out ideas and passing them on throughout time, humanity has approached questions of Who am I? Who are we? What else can I/we do? What else is out there? There are perhaps monied entities that would like access to these thought leaders... if only for networking reasons.
6. Prom: High School teenagers, both genders, and their parents. Playing on education and that "Prom" is part of the word "Promise," schools donate to PoP. The school that raises the most money overall will get a pop star for a "Prom" (could be the actual prom, or just a concert around the springtime/prom time). Selection of the star would be important to motivate teens to care, so maybe a few different choices would be necessary. Whichever one receives the most money/votes gets all of the money raised by the school in their tally. (Justin Bieber might be a little too young, but there might be other pop stars... Kelly Clarkson... whoever the kids are listening to these days).
7. Apps/Games for Good: Some games available on the internet and on mobile devices donate money to certain charities whenever they're played. If possible to wrangle a game like Drawsome or another game that uses drawing/sketching as part of the interactivity (even Words with Friends for a short period of time?). I'm not sure how the business model works, but perhaps the money could be a percentage of what the advertizers are paying to be featured.
8. PoP Goes the World: Pop Stars sing songs of hope around the hoiidays/New Year (when people are more emotional about Hope and New beginnings given the religious climate at that time). Portions of the sale go to the organization. Maybe the song is a remake of Pop Goes the World.
9. Children's Museums additions: In gradeschool we played numerous games with pencils—using them as slingshots, as arrows to throw up at the ceiling, as tools to break other pencils. Activities like these could be featured on a specific day at a Children's Museums throughout the country (like the Exploratorium in San Francisco... where education about science is connected with fun, engaging activities). Perhaps even minute-to-win-it type games where kids work in teams or on their own to complete physical challenges involving balancing pencils or grabbing increasing stacks of them. Maybe a celebrity is present (Justin Bieber if it's his... Jaden Smith [which could bring Will Smith]. It's hard to say how much money could be made by-- perhaps ticket prices would need to be matched by corporate sponsors.
10. "Give the gift of Freedom" Chase Freedom Card: In the spirit of Freedom, portions of espenditures could go to PoP during high usage seasons, Back to School, or for over extended periods of time. a long period of time.