Today marks the 15th year anniversary of MOUSE. I was the first Chairperson of this organization in 1999. I can't believe it has been 15 years.
MOUSE has grown up across the country and globe but it started right here in NYC. The original idea was to literally wire high schools. We began by calling out to the tech community to come and help us crawl through the walls and wire Washington Irving High School. We wanted to close the digital divide. At the same time we launched a variety of different programs. The one that really stuck was the MOUSE squad. We hired and trained kids to be the IT people in their schools and paid them for this privelege. We knew we were on to something.
Since 2000 more than 23000 students have participated in MOUSE programs, providing technical support and leadership for more than 1.8 million students, teachers and administrators in their schools and communities. In 2012 more than 4200 students actively participated in MOUSE programs in 377 schools across the country.
The outcome is 96% of the kids going through these programs have improved their communications, problem solving, team-building and leadership skills. 95% say it has increased their confidence. 92% believe they can make a difference in their community and the world. 87% are better prepared for college and 87% are more motivated to pursue a career in technology, math, science or engineering. We have provided a much needed opportunity for underserved youth by empowering the next generation of tech leaders and innovators.
NYC has grown alot in the past 15 years and so has technology. Our companies need more kids like the kids that go through MOUSE programs. That was the thought way back when and it still is today. I remember speaking to a room of 1000 people in our second year of MOUSE where we raised $1m towards our mission. I spoke about how we needed to close the digital divide so my kids could compete with kids from around our city at the same level. That these were the kids that we wanted to stay or return to NYC to work in our tech companies. We needed to provide them the tools to do that. I have seen many return and make a difference...it is rewarding beyond belief.
Full circle, 15 years later, Fred and I got behind the Academy of Software Engineering, a public high school devoted to STEM that opened this fall at the same site that MOUSE began, Washington Irving High School. We are still devoted to the tech leaders of tomorrow. We look forward to watching this new group of students go on to become confident leaders, determined college students and valued contributors in the professional world.
Just because I can't help myself.....if you would like to make a contribution to celebrate an incredible achievement of an organization that grew from a desire to close the digital divide...click here. We have been supporting MOUSE from day one and I am honored to be part of such an amazing organization.