40-Hour technology turndown to benefit J'can schools
Noah Salmon is a 17-year-old student who lives in New York City's West Village and attends the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn.
Last summer, he travelled to Jamaica with seven of his teenage friends to do volunteer work in basic and primary schools in Westmoreland. This year, he has dreamed up a clever plan to raise US$25,000 to bring world-class technology to some of those same schools, some located in subsistence farming belts.
Salmon has launched what is being called a 40-hour technology turndown, and for 40 hours, from 8 p.m. on Friday, May 20, to noon on Sunday, May 22, Noah and his friends will give up all forms of technology to help drive their fundraising agenda for Jamaica.
During the blackout period, video and computer games, television, social-media, phone calls, texting, and emails will be banned. The teenagers are asking their friends and family to sponsor them by pledging money for their blackout hours.
A sponsorship of 50 cent per hour over forty hours will yield US$20, and will buy a pair of headphones for a work station. Sponsorship of US$1 per hour will bring in US$40 and will buy a single-station software licence. US$5 per hour will attract US$200 and can buy a new tablet, while US$10 per hour will generate US$400 and will buy a new computer.
So far, the teens have been enjoying success as they have already raised almost US$15,000. At first their target was US$5,000, but when they realised how generously family and friends were embracing the idea, they upgraded the target to US$10,000 and then to US$25,000.
Salmon is no stranger to volunteerism, as when he was just 15, he did his first volunteer trip to Jamaica, working as a camp counsellor for a week with Lynn DiPinto, a youth minister from Ontario, Canada, who has been running summer camps in Jamaica for 17 years.
Noah's father, Paul Salmon, who operates the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, is also a prominent donor to the cause of education in the parish of Westmoreland. He is the chairman of the Rockhouse Foundation, an organisation that has already provided support to the tune of more than US$3 million to schools in Westmoreland, including the building of the first special-needs school in the parish. So, in a sense, his son's work is an outgrowth of the mission of the Rockhouse Foundation - to aid and assist with the development of education in western Jamaica.
"I am thrilled at the response to our effort, and I am hoping the tech turn-down will be an annual event that can have an ongoing and positive impact on schools in Jamaica," Noah told Outlook proudly.
"I am looking forward to visiting the site of the foundation's new special-needs school to see how the money we raise is going to be spent," the teenager added.
Funds raised from the technology turndown will provide computers, tablets, software, training, infrastructure for networking and Wi-Fi for designated schools.