High Tech Pen Pal Program: PHS + Palestinian youth

Ever wanted to make friends across the globe? Wondered about a day in the life of people your age on other continents?  This summer, PHS students have the chance to increase their knowledge of Arabic cultures through the Why Not? Youth Exchange, co-sponsored by Mercy Corps and the Community Connections program at PHS.
Mercy Corps, the international humanitarian organization based in Portland, is active in youth leadership development as a long-range strategy for solving global problems. Their Youth Exchange program introduces American youth to their peers in predominately Arab nations via real-time video chat over the Internet.
Last spring, PHS was matched with a school in Jordan. Students, led by Community Connections organizer Brendan Gill, sent digital photos, movies, poetry and music to their counterparts across the globe and enjoyed video chats with their partnering school.
Parkrose is the only Oregon school selected to participate in the Youth Exchange this summer. Students from all grades are invited to participate in the high-tech pen pal–type program with Palestinian youth.  “Everyone is welcome,” Brendan Gill explains. “The goal is to share the images, interests and emotions of daily life in Parkrose, Portland and Oregon with new friends in Palestine. In return, they send us their photos, text and videos.” Club members will learn to make videos and post them to YouTube and blogs.  Mr. Gill anticipates that students will really enjoy the face-to-face video chats which could feature music, fashion, dance or whatever PHS students want to share.
Why not get involved? Represent your school, your state and your country! Meetings will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4 and 5 pm in the Region A Computer Lab. Starts Tuesday, June 24th, continues Tue / Thu weekly until Thursday, July 17th.
“Why Not?” is “Laysh La?” in Arabic, an optimistic question building a bridge that can connect Parkrose teens with Palestinian youth over geographical, political, and cultural divides.
Call Brendan Gill in the Community Connections Office at (503) 408-2645 to join Why Not or find out about other community service ideas.


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