Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 6730

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Charity: American's Favorite Way to Reach Out and Help Others
Category: 6. History of Foreign Relations

School: Thomas Jefferson High School for Sci. and Tech.
    Alexandria , Virginia, United States

4 students, ages 16, 15, 15, 14 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 5, 2011. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 2011

Classes and Teachers: Coach: Peter Gabor; Students: Victor, Cody, Takeshi, Chris

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

Team Sunshine consists of four members: Victor (16), Cody (15), Takeshi (15), and Chris (14). We formed Team Sunshine because we all agree that charity is Americans' favorite way to reach out and give to others. We wanted to create a website that would inform the community about major charity organizations and how community members can help make the world a better place. Victor's job was to manage the scope of the project and lead the team in the right direction. He also helped create the framework of the website and discover the strength of his teammates. Cody's job was to edit all of the text posted on our website and ensure that all the information was recent and up to date. Takeshi's strength is in research and in coding. He provided the research needed on the top major charity organizations in the US. Chris had the job of troubleshooting any glitches in the programming and providing the technical support necessary for an efficient and stable website. Dr. Gabor, our coach, kept us informed about new project assignments and emphasized the importance of content in the website as well as visual display.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our project aims to explain how diplomacy is promoted through charity, as it is Americans' favorite way of giving. We believe that charity is vital to the worldwide community; it is a social responsibility of those with the privilege to do so to give to those in need. Giving back to the community allows us to show thanks for everything that it has given us. Charitable contributions are a great way to show dedication to the community and to helping others. By informing others about the great variety of charity activities students have participated in, as well as information on major charity organizations, we hope to create a more genuine partnership between donors and those in need.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Some problems we encountered during the project were how to design a website that could both convey our ideas and at the same time attract more people to visit our site and help support the cause. All of team members have had no prior experience on creating websites, but we were ready to take on the challenge. Through hours and hours of hard work, research, and programming through trial and error, we were able to learn and gain the experience in the working process that is useful and necessary to produce the website we have today.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our Doors to Diplomacy project has played a significant role in the community by informing schoolmates and community members about the ongoing efforts of major charity organizations and student-run activities to improve the lives of those in need, and how they can get involved as well.

6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

History of Foreign Relations is the category of our website address because throughout history, the United States of America has led the world in the field of philanthropy and charity, and through its charity organizations and public donations, it is the single largest donor of foreign economic aid. In the course of the project, we learned to cherish the values of teamwork and learn how to get more involved in our community service. Our project fits the requirements for our school because Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, has started an initiative 'A Ten Day Challenge' where each student tries to do as much good as they can in a period of ten days and help the poor residents that live in the Northern Virginia Community. Last year our school managed to collect in a period of five days $10,000 to donate to the Clinton Foundation for Haiti Relief action. The education system in America is a system in which we are encouraged to help others and have the freedom to develop our own ideas in a creative learning environment. The Internet has undoubtedly benefitted us a great deal. We learned how to create and publish a website, communicate on a global scale, and inform others about the importance of charity in diplomacy. The Internet is truly phenomenal.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your Doors to Diplomacy project?

We used a great variety of software and informational tools to help create our site. We all have a Dell PC at home and communicate with each other via email, Facebook messaging, and during breaks at school. Social Networking services such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook were especially useful in attracting all kinds of visitors to our site. An iPhone 3GS was used to take the individual and group photos for the use in our team web page and a popular iPhone app, Talking Tom, was incorporated to make the introduction video more interesting. Our website was created with Adobe Flash Player 10, Wix website builder, and Macromedia Flash 8. These software programs helped us add animation and special effects to our website. Online databases and libraries helped us collect research for our project. Incorporating technology into our website was crucial to making our site as lively and user friendly as possible.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your Doors to Diplomacy project both on-line and in person.

We have acted as ambassadors by inviting all our friends to visit our website and make comments about their impression of our site and describe their involvement in the community. They are also free to invite their own friends to visit our site. Our website is very user friendly and brings a warm welcome to visitors. With soothing background music and a colorful display, the visitors quickly become excited for the cause and want to give something back in return to the community. They have contacted us with any questions they may have through our contact form, which sends an instant message to our team members via email. To encourage and promote discussion between fellow community members, we have created comment forum and discussion boards on Facebook and Twitter. So far, more than two hundred people have visited our site (using a statistic web counter). Many people are very supportive of what we are doing, and the enthusiasm of our visitors can be seen from their comments on our site. A comment from one of our visitors, Emily Jacoby, (email: says: 'I am thoroughly impressed by this site! It's nice to see that you guys are trying to have such a positive impact on our community- you're totally right when you say that we are so fortunate to be where we are right now, with money and food and great school and the like. It's great to see that us teenagers care, I don’t think enough of our peers realized that we are just so better off than a lot of people right now. Keep up the great work! :)'.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our website informs visitors the concept of charity, introduces internationally known charity organizations, describes how we can easily help other people, organizations or communities. In our school, our team has explained how each student can help the world by providing donations or volunteering services. Our project has really made a difference after it was made public. On Friday, March 11th, Japan was hit by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded. The magnitude-8.9 quake spawned a deadly tsunami that slammed into the nation's east coast, leaving a huge swath of devastation in its wake. Hundreds of people are dead and many more are still missing or injured. We immediately updated our webpage and added a special 'Help Japan' button and helped direct people where to send their donations according to the charities information we've provided. There have been quick responses from people in our community, saying our project is really important and timely. Miss Alexa Kniley from Australia also wrote to tell us via internet that we did a good job.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

We know there is an outstanding Boy Scouts leader in our community who has been generous in volunteering his services for quite a number of years although he is only 15 years old now. We asked him to write his stories and publish it with his permission on our web page under the heading of Community Involvement. He says he likes our project and recommended it to his Facebook friends.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

The lesson we've learned is that you should never be intimidated by a seemingly gigantic project. If you believe you are doing the right thing, you can achieve it with a strong will and through perseverance despite all kinds of obstacles you might have to surmount. We were surprised that we have received so much support from our school, our community, and around the world. Specifically, we learned a great deal about the importance of charity and how to call on people to make contributions. To reach out to people-in-need really helps open the doors to diplomacy.


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 6730)

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