What does it mean to be a Pitch a Dream Volunteer?

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Pitch a Dream Volunteers at a school in Suba, Kenya – 2017

Dream Workshops Volunteer:

Description:

Dream Workshop Volunteers would be working in rural primary schools to implement the Dream Workshops curriculum. The Dream Workshops curriculum aims to provide children in rural primary schools with access to reading material, mentorship and skill development training. We enter into 3-year partnerships with each rural school in which the volunteers would be implementing. Partnerships for us mean that the schools and the children have something to contribute to the program and we aim to empower them from the start!

Our expectation of Dream Workshops Volunteers:

  1. Participate in training sessions

We would like to get to know you; what your interests are, why you want to work with kids, what skills you have that would be an asset for kids. We also want to be able to share our values, discuss the ethics of working with children and introduce the Dream Workshops curriculum.

  1. Support facilitation of Dream Workshop sessions

Once we have ascertained that you have an in-depth understanding of the Dream Workshops curriculum, trained volunteers will first shadow and provide support for Dream Workshop sessions in school. This will mean working alongside a more experienced volunteer. We don’t want to throw you into the deep end so this is an opportunity to learn best practice in implementing Dream Workshops.

  1. Facilitate a Dream Workshop session

Once we have ascertained that the volunteer has been trained and has shadowed someone else then we provide a chance to facilitate a session alongside other volunteers. This ensures that volunteers continually have the support they need to run a successful session(s).

Benefits of becoming a Dream Workshops Volunteer:

  1. Certificate of participation:

Once a volunteer has participated in 6 Dream Workshops they are awarded a certificate of participation that they can use for their own professional growth.

  1. Recommendation letters:

After 6 successful Dream Workshops, a volunteer will receive a recommendation letter they can use for their personal growth.

  1. A chance to give back:

We believe in the power of reaching back once. Being a Dream Volunteer ensures that you inspire other kids.

 Training Dates & application:

  1. We will have regular Dream Workshop trainings starting June 2018. If interested send us your CV and a cover letter expressing: What would you be bringing to the lives of children in rural schools across Kenya?
  2. If you want to apply email us at pitchadream@gmail.com
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Pitch a Dream Volunteers in Othaya, Kenya – 2016

 FAQs:

How much time would I be expected to contribute as a Pitch a Dream Volunteer?

You can volunteer as often as you would like to! We understand that you’re probably busy, so once you have received the mandatory training we will add you to our email list and you can get first-hand information of all upcoming training sessions that you may choose to participate in.

Is the Dream Workshops Training mandatory?

Yes. Children are a vulnerable group who deserve the highest level of care. With this in mind, we believe that this training ensures that volunteers understand not just our values as Pitch a Dream but best practices required when working with kids.

 What kind of skills are you looking for in a Dream Workshop Volunteer?

Dream Workshops range from reading and writing skills training to technology and innovation sessions to mentorship. We therefore need a diverse set of skills! Email your CV to us at pitchadream@gmail.com and we will reach back out with the skills that would be the most value add to the program.

Do I need to have previous experience working with kids to apply?

We encourage those with previous experience working with kids to apply! However, we also welcome those who have just an interest and are open to training and shadowing in order to build their facilitation skills.

 Can I volunteer for just one Dream Workshops session?

Once you have undergone the mandatory Dream Workshops volunteer training, then you can volunteer as many or as few times as you would like!

What other opportunities besides Dream Workshops can I volunteer for?

We run a monthly BookSwap and would love to have a regular BookSwap Volunteer. We also run an annual Tournament Fundraiser where you can volunteer. However, we require that all volunteers go through the Dream Workshops training in order to be considered for these roles.

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Pitch a Dream Volunteers in Othaya, Kenya – 2016
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2016 Pitch a Dream Media Milestones

Over the years we have had the opportunity to have our work featured on various global and local platforms and we just thought it would be a cool idea to consolidate these features for easier access of those interested in learning more about us.

Our first feature was on the Diaspora Messenger which is an online magazine that serves the diaspora community of East Africa. This feature enabled us to gain the interest and support of the community and it highlighted work that we were doing at Emdin Primary School at Eldoret back in 2015.(see pictures here)

Quote from the Diaspora Messenger:

“Those who Kenya should celebrate are the groups like Pitch a Dream. A group of young lawyers, engineers, artists, doctors and other qualified young people who do not pretend to hold degrees. Rather, they hold degrees! Then they use their qualified status, going back to schools, and …they use their real BAs and BSs to help guide young high school students to not act in life, rather, to be real and live true dreams. At Makongi primary school, somewhere out there between Eldoret and Kitale, and joined by the Reuben and Alice Chesire (RAC) Foundation, they, in true demonstration of their actual characters, challenged the children to study! That is something, which should be celebrated! That is real life drama and it is GOOD! I was privileged to play a real role at the event!”

As 2016 comes to a close, we now realise that this year has given us the greatest exposure we’ve had yet and allowed us to gain access to a global ear thanks to several partners who have been such an incredible support.

In 2016, we were featured in a short clip at a ‘Pitch Night‘ Event hosted by the Do School in Berlin where our CEO, Catherine Miano, was one of the top 2 finalists presenting on the Pitch a Dream jouney thus far. Have a look at the video feature done by StartUp TV during the event:

Another media feature we received around the same period earlier this year was a mention in the Berliner Morgenpost which is a German newspaper. The post is in German(naturally) and so feel free to use google translator incase this is not your mother language. (Read post here)

A similar newspaper feature that we received later in June this year was by Nation Media Group Kenya who did a newspaper article in the Saturday Nation on the work that we have been doing empowering young booklovers across Kenya. This feature can be found online here.

Beyond that we have received several online features by various supporting organisations such as the Do School-Berlin, and Akili Dada-Kenya.

Finally for this year we had the opportunity thanks to the awesome She by Spark* Community to create a very short introduction to Pitch a Dream video. This video explains who we are, what our objective is and why we are so passionate about empowering children in rural Kenya and Africa at large. So incase you’re still wondering who we are so that you can have even more reason to attend the Pitch a Dream Tournament then here you go:

 

PS:Here is our 2016 Pitch a Dream Tournament poster. We invite you to come, meet the team, ask questions about what we do, have a great time but best of all come support a great cause:)

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1 laptop and 100 kids

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Transitioning to digital delivery of the Pitch a Dream program:

Our dream for this year moving forward was to introduce a digital aspect to our training in rural schools because our overarching objective in donating books is to introduce a global perspective to the way kids in rural schools think and in this way make them DREAM bolder and bigger.

For some reason transitioning to a more digital format seemed so complicated until  we decided to carry a laptop to the last school we trained sometime in August and with some internet bundles we achieved our objective. Simple as 1 laptop and 100 kids sitted closely together but the effect was much bigger because for the first time ever we were able to bring the world that much closer to 100 kids in a rural school.

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We have used been using videos and presentation format to introduce concepts such as global goals to the kids and we now realize that not only do we engage the children’s attention 100% , we also seem to be distancing ourselves from the traditional delivery methods which they are so used to in school.

Our dream is to eventually have enough laptops that we can bring the children that much closer to digitization. The world is a global village and we want children in rural areas to realize this and open their minds to the myriad of possibilities and opportunities that come with globalization.

As always, thanks to the awesome awesome Pitch a Dream Volunteers who continue to inspire young minds in rural Kenya.

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The Case For the BookSwap

At the last BookSwap I exchanged my copy of Ali Mazrui’s ‘The Africans’ for a book by James Patterson – ‘Cross Country’. It’s one of the titles in the Alex Cross series, and in this one the eponymous detective investigates a spree of gruesome murders. Long story short (SPOILER ALERT) the perps are a gang of Nigerian child soldiers hired by a crime boss to carry out a series of hits.

Alex follows the baddies all the way to Nigeria where his efforts to track them down are hindered by corrupt government officials, broken-down systems etc. He discovers a world where ‘justice is as foreign as he is.’

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I found it strangely coincidental that we had exchanged these two titles. The books’ themes are quite similar – one looks at Africa through African eyes, and the other sees it from a foreigner’s perspective. Of course, I cringed at the clichéd descriptions of Lagos and the portrayal of Africa as one big stinking backwater where nothing works and naked children run barefoot in and out of mud huts. Still, it was interesting to see what image of Africa a western writer would present to his western readership. I think it’s important to not only discover yourself, but to understand how other people perceive you, whether their mental image is accurate or not.

I would probably never have read this book of my own volition. It would never have crossed  my mind. (Ha!) I agreed to swap for it pretty reluctantly but my swap-mate (can we make that a word?) sold it quite brilliantly. He told me that the book would open my eyes to something new. And it did.

That’s the feeling I get every time at the BookSwap. I like to watch people as they come in, clutching their books a bit nervously, a bit apprehensive. People come in with all kinds of books; biographies, novels, books of poems, books on business, on politics, on spirituality…all kinds of different topics, worlds waiting to be discovered.

Walking across the room, I catch little snippets of conversation. I almost always feel compelled to stop and listen for a bit to each pair. Something comes over people when they begin to talk about the books they love. The most shy, reserved person’s face will light up as they begin to speak, and by the end of each conversation two strangers are chatting away animatedly like old friends. Like new friends, rather.

With each round of the room I feel like I want to read all the books present. There are all these things that I should know, but don’t. I feel like the BookSwap is a place to discover all the things that you didn’t know you didn’t know. It’s the place to find your next favourite book that you would never have known to read; to make the friends you didn’t know you needed, who share your loves and interests.

The next BookSwap is at Dream Bean House on the 30th of this month (August). Bring a book that you care about. Make sure to leave with a book that you wouldn’t normally read. Challenge yourself.

June BookSwap

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last month?

I finished A. Igoni Barrett’s ‘Blackass’ a couple of weeks ago. It’s the hilarious story of Furi Wariboko, a bona fide Nigerian man who wakes up one morning to find that he has gone ‘full oyibo’ – he has transformed, overnight, into a completely white man! Well, almost completely. Some parts of him remain ‘robustly black’.(Which part? The clue is in the title). It’s a funny, thoughtful and well written book; an interesting examination of how we perceive ourselves and others.

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That’s what books do – they challenge us to think in different ways and put ourselves in other people’s shoes, and see through other people’s eyes. They challenge us to think ‘what would I do if that happened to me?’

What would you do if you woke up, like Furo did, only to find that you had transformed into another race, or nationality, or gender? Or if you woke up, like George Samsa, to find that you have been turned into a large verminous insect?

The point, I think, of literature – of all art – is to show all the different faces of humanity. When I read a about Nigeria, or France, or Iceland, I realize that Nigerians and Frenchmen and Icelanders are people just like me, and that is the beginning of empathy.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last month?

The June edition of the Pitch a Dream BookSwap is happening this 28th at Dream Bean house. Bring it along, and tell us all about it.

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Interested in being a mentor?

Pitch a Dream believes that it is important that students in rural communities have access to mentors. A mentor is to us a person willing to share his/her experience, expertise and time with a younger person who could benefit from the same. The mentor/mentee relationship is often one of mutual benefit where the mentee has access to regular guidance while the mentor has an opportunity to give back to society.

Our expectations of the mentors;

We are always interested in adding new mentors to our pool. Our mentor requirements are;

  1. An interest in making social impact by sharing experience and expertise with a student in a rural primary school.
  2. Willingness to travel to the rural primary school at least three times in the mentorship year to visit the mentee.
  3. Above the age of majority.
  4. Previous mentorship experience or experience working with children would be an advantage.

We encourage interested mentors to contact us through our email pitchadream@gmail.com.

Pitch a Dream Tournament 2016

One of the hardest things to do when you’re a young start-up be it a for profit, nonprofit or a hybrid is sourcing for funding. There are of course a bunch of options including using your savings and hoping that the investment bears fruit, taking a loan from a bank and again hoping you can repay in good time, holding small fundraisers or going big with crowdfunding or even finding a secondary constant source of income like a job or a more lucrative venture just so it can fund what you really want to be doing.

When Pitch a Dream had just started, the team would  pool resources from among ourselves because we were passionate about our vision to donate books to rural communities across Kenya. After a couple of months however we realized that this was not a sustainable revenue source because most of us were in university and already struggling with the arising costs. We knew it was time to find a solution that would work long-term. We held several brainstorming meetings where we continually hit a brick wall until one day Mwangi Wamungunda(aka Mwas) suggested that we hold a tournament. His vision was that we would invite family and friends and they could pay a small entrance fee and then get to play a five aside game where the winning team would get rewarded in some way.

Despite the odds we held our first Pitch a Dream Tournament in March 2014 and much to our surprise we were able to raise funds for our cause, collect book donations and share our cause with many sports enthusiasts. Since then we have held a regular tournament every year as we work towards using soccer for social change.

For 2016 we are currently inviting interested partners to join us in holding the Pitch a Dream Tournament 2016 in October. We are also inviting teams interested in competing in the 5-aside football tournament to register with us through our email pitchadream@gmail.com or contact us at +254706209527.

 

Want to donate a book?

Pitch a Dream believes that providing access to books will make long-lasting impact in the lives of students in schools across Kenya who cannot afford. We want to cultivate a reading culture by collecting and donating books to schools in rural schools across Kenya. If you have a book(s) that you want to donate to us then just contact us on +254706209527 or email us at pitchadream@gmail.com and our team will collect the books from you.

What kind of books are we looking for?

We believe in the power that storybooks have in cultivating an early reading culture in students.However ,we also realize that a majority of rural schools do not have access to updated educational material. Therefore, we encourage donation of storybooks written in English and Swahili as well as updated and current educational books. We also accept book vouchers from bookshops accessible within Nairobi.

Our book collection targets.

Every year we set a target for the number books we want to collect and every book you donate helps us get that much closer to achieving our target.

Our 2016 target is to collect 10,000 books and we believe that with your help we can achieve this goal!

Contact Us

Interested in getting in touch with us? Well, our team is eager to respond to all your queries and receive all your feedback.

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pitchadream@gmail.com

 

 

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Email:pitchadream@gmail.com

Pitch a Dream Volunteers

Pitch a Dream has only been able to achieve its core objective of cultivating a reading culture through the hard work of dedicated volunteers.We therefore value the role of young people who offer their time and expertise to ensure that children around Kenya are introduced to a reading culture. We are always looking to recruit new volunteers with a passion for social change and who are interested in working in our various projects. Applications can be sent to our email address.

volunteersVolunteers Stephen, Catherine, Sheila and Jacob  at Emdin Primary School (Uasin Gishu) during the Pitch a Dream projects in 2015.