Ground Breaks in Vietnam

Sunday, March 18, 2012 | posted by Unknown |
Construction of Global Playground’s school in Khe Sanh, Vietnam broke around Wednesday March 14. Although the site clearance and foundation work began at the end of February, the official groundbreaking ceremony was held last week when all government officials could attend.

When construction is finished, the school will serve 140 students in grades 1 through 5 with a total of eight teachers. Global Playground has partnered with the Global Community Service Foundation to make this project a reality.

Global Community Service Foundation Country Director Max Talcott and Central Vietnam Director Mr. Tam Nguyen attended the ceremony.

The community was represented at the ceremony by the Huong Hoa District Deputy Chairman of the People’s Committee (PPC) and the director of the Department of Education. The Khe Sanh township, Ms. Huong, PPC Chairman and the principal of the Khe Shanh school district, were also in attendance. Ms. Huong will manage the school when it is completed.

The ceremony was widely attended by the township, including over 200 children from the local area. The children gave a musical performance during the ceremony.

Global Playground’s logo was displayed on the ceremony stage and Global Playground was mentioned in Talcott’s speech addressing the community.

Global Playground’s fundraising efforts continue in the United States. This upcoming weekend a fundraising event will be held in Williamsburg, Virginia in collaboration with the College of William & Mary’s service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and social fraternity Beta Theta Pi. On March 30, Global Playground will host an “Evening Under the Stars” event in Washington D.C. to continue to raise money for the construction of the school in Vietnam.

To register for the event in Washington D.C., sign up here. More information about the Vietnam project can be found here

Girl Scouts Give Supplies

Saturday, March 17, 2012 | posted by Unknown |
When Rose Smith went to Trash to Treasure Day at Watkin’s Nature Center in Maryland, she met a woman holding a plastic bottle that had been turned into a child’s toy. While the water bottle toy sparked conversation, Christine Ferguson’s water bottle idea was only the first contribution she would make to Global Playground.

Smith sent the water bottle toy idea to Honduras with U.S. Teaching Fellow Ryan Drysdale, but Ferguson wanted to do more. Ferguson and her Daisy Girl Scout troop collected school supply donations for the children at Global Playground’s schools.

“She wanted to have her girl scouts do something as a troop,” Smith said. “I told her that I was the supply person, and we exchanged contact information.”
Ferguson leads a Daisy Girl Scout troop of five kindergarten and first grade girls. She thought her troop might be able to make a donation to Global Playground.

“Rose was telling me about Global Playground when we met, and I thought well my Girl Scout troop can do something,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson and her troop donated an assortment of school supplies to the children at Global Playground’s schools.    
“I gave each of them a brown bag and paint, and they decorated each of their bags and filled them with things to donate,” Ferguson said. “It was colored pencils, regular pencils, a soccer ball, a protractor, a compass, and other supplies.”

Smith was touched by the donation from the girls.

“It wasn’t the quantity of supplies, but it was the thought,” Smith said.

Ferguson explained to her troop that the supplies would benefit other children like them in other countries around the world.

“I explained to them that these school supplies are going to kids in a school in a foreign country where they can’t afford to buy school supplies,” Ferguson said.

Daisy Girl Scout Troop 452’s donations will go to the children at Global Playground’s new school in Vietnam. U.S. Teaching Fellow Ryan Drysdale brought the water bottle toy idea down to Honduras during a recent visit.

“Her idea was to take the plastic drinking bottles, cut the ends off, tether the cap onto the end of the bottle, and swing the cap to try to capture it in the bottle,” Smith said. “Mothers in Honduras would cook lunch by putting open bottles on the fire to cook, and I knew that was toxic. I thought perhaps this might be a better use for the bottles.”

Smith traveled to Honduras with her family and volunteers from Global Playground in 2010. Her son, Doug Smith, is the Corporation’s Secretary.

Global Playground Inspires Active Citizens

Thursday, March 08, 2012 | posted by Unknown |
Global Playground Chairman Doug Bunch and U.S. Teaching Fellow Ryan Drysdale represented Global Playground at the William & Mary Active Citizens Conference on February 18.

The conference, hosted by the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, brought leaders in social entrepreneurship together for one weekend to collaborate and share ideas. Fifteen nonprofits were represented.

“The purpose was to create a state-wide conference for students to gather to discuss issues of shared interest and shared best practices and models in community engagement and to have William & Mary alumni and experts in the field provide mentorship and expertise,” Director of the Office of Community Engagement and Scholarship Drew Stelljes said.

Bunch and Drysdale hosted a session focusing on Global Playground’s virtual playground and the cross-cultural basis of the nonprofit organization. Drysdale had the students perform an activity to better understand differences that exist between cultures and how those play out when different cultures interact.

“The main focus was first just giving background of what Global Playground is all about and then from there focusing on cross-cultural learning,” Drysdale said.

This session was modeled after the presentations that Drysdale has been giving at a number of different elementary, middle, and high schools on the East Coast as a part of his domestic tour.

“Typically when I speak to a school I have between 20 to 40 minutes and for that I just stick to a general presentation with questions and videos and photos,” Drysdale said. “For the longer ones I add activities.”

Bunch presented to students with Cosmo Fujiyama, co-founder of Students Helping Honduras. Bunch and Fujiyama explained the details of how to start a nonprofit, including which tax forms to fill out and how to get it registered with the government.

“It’s a privilege to be able to use Global Playground as a model of how to start a nonprofit.  The secret is passion, drive, and determination.  If you have that, everything else falls into place,” Bunch said.

Global Playground and William & Mary have a partnership to hire a William & Mary Teaching Fellow for 2012-2013.

“It was my third time coming down to talk about Global Playground. It is always good to go down there because Global Playground seems very well received,” Drysdale said. “There is just a good vibe on campus. There are a lot of people involved, a lot of active people.”

While Bunch and Drysdale stopped in at William & Mary for the conference, Drysdale’s domestic tour continues.

“I travel around to schools ranging from kindergarten to college to talk about Global Playground and what we do. I have been telling them about cross-cultural learning,” Drysdale said.