In terms of the projects we’re currently supporting, we’ve made substantive progress:
Higher Achievement: Supporting college graduations for students that wouldn’t otherwise.
We saw the graduation of the seniors we’ve been mentoring at MESA High School—100% participating in the mentoring program (about 65 students), and 100% being accepted into colleges and universities. Our support—in the form of mentoring, and guest speakers primarily—helped inspire and arm these first generation college students with a range of skills and knowledge to now be successful in their freshman years. We now are turning our attention to building a support infrastructure on our Community Site to ensure that each student’s first year is a success, and that we lay the groundwork to ensure they persist and achieve their goals through graduation.
Random Kindness: The name says it all.
The “Treehouse at the J” afterschool program at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City, CA has been busy using dominoes as a way to increase and acknowledge random kindness between the children in the program. Teacher Thomas Schultz started with this post on toppers.org: “I was given this domino as a way to spread kindness. We spoke to our students about what to look for and how to spread this joy around. I cannot wait for the moment I see one of our kids do something nice simply because they want to, because they have that instinct inside them to help others. I can’t wait to read all the stories that will be connected to this domino!!” Each week a different child is given one of the classroom dominoes by his or her peers for doing something kind in the classroom. The teachers help the children log their activities onto topplers.org. Examples of kind acts that have earned children a domino include helping a friend clean up after a juice spill and getting an ice pack for a friend with an “ouchie”.
Domino Award: Inspiring college students to think big.
The 2012 winner of the Domino Award was University of Colorado student John Lenz for his paper on The Innovator, Alan Kay. Awarded annually to students within the Computer Sciences program of CU, the Domino Award is presented to the student(s) who best capture the role of Domino Theory in historic developments within the Computer Sciences industry.
John wins $500 and a place on the award winners’ trip to a place of technological interest—intended to exemplify innovation and real-world examples of Domino Theory at work. John will join the 2011 winners (Valerie Chang and Ian Smith) for a Topplers’ hosted Silicon Valley tour during September, which we expect will include visits to Google and Facebook.
Our focus for the remainder of 2012 and 2013 will be focused on extending the Domino Award to computer sciences programs within other universities, as well as to other programs within the University of Colorado.
Mobilize the Troops: Creating an emergency response capability with the Boy Scouts of America.
We’ve been making steady progress in helping to connect the Boy Scouts with community first responders. In January, Topplers’ Board Member David Schroeder joined the Denver Area Council (40,000 Scouts) – Emergency Response Committee and is working with the team to advance this project. With the a big shout out to Ray Thompson (former Topplers’ Board Member, a valued friend of Topplers, and VisionLink exec team) for his help, we’ve begun the conversation around leveraging a web-based platform to catalog the capabilities of the Boy Scouts in a system that will link the Boy Scouts into first responder organizations. There has also been great movement in Houston (about 70,000 Scouts), where a preliminary program has been rolled out to identify high performing troops as mobilization contacts.
Our new website launched, making it easier for participants in the various projects we support to track their impact, inspire other volunteers, and collaborate on each unique community project.
Lastly we want to let you know that we’ve made some substantive additions to our Board of Directors, which is adding expertise that will help us better serve. Stephanie Levin, with her deep background in NPO and program management, brings a wealth of non-profit experience to Topplers and extends our Board to San Francisco where she lives; and Justin Rosenthal, from Boulder, CO, with his digital marketing strategy and analytics expertise, will help us guide Topplers’ online presence.
Thanks for being a friend of Topplers, and special thanks to our corporate sponsors and supporters.
Adeptive – www.adeptivesw.com
Applied Trust – www.appliedtrust.com
Clickbank – www.clickbank.com
Esther Hartley – www.estherhartley.com
Infinite Editions – www.infinite-editions.com
Oak at Fourteenth – www.oakatfourteenth.com
Ellucian – www.ellucian.com
University of Colorado – www.cu.edu