On September 18, 2017, I attended the #Digital4Good Conference hosted by #ICANHELP at Twitter HQ in San Francisco. I was honored to be one of the student winners recognized for using technology for good.
I believe that technology is an important and powerful tool. I also value youth’s power to make a difference. I wanted to share my message, and I also knew that I would be inspired by the #ICANHELP team, technology leaders in attendance, and the other honorees.
My favorite part of the event was the presentations. It was great to learn about the different projects and the ways in which students have used technology to help others and spread positivity. I learned more about using technology safely, purposefully, and effectively.
There were a lot of great vibes at the event as everyone was supportive each other and eager to help. We chanted #icanhelp #iwillhelp #ididhelp. This taught us that we can do our part to use technology for good and spread positivity, and our words and actions matter.
I came up with the acronym TECH, which stands for the ways to use technology:
- Tell stories, and most importantly, tell your story
- Entertain and educate
- Connect and collaborate
I am entering my third year as a Scholastic Kid Reporter, and I’m able to cover national events and highlight interesting and inspiring people. I will soon be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my non-profit Catching Joy, Inc., which promotes volunteerism and acts of kindness beginning with kids, teens, and families. We organize hands-on service activities that youth can do to help teach and responsibility and joy of giving. Some of our events coming up include decorating hearts with uplifting messages for refugee families; making blessing bags filled with toiletries, snack bars, and bottled water for the homeless; making no-sew blankets for kids and adults in shelter homes; making ornaments for holiday trees to be donated to families in need; and collecting new pajamas and toys and making cards to go along with them for kids less fortunate.
I’m thankful for the opportunity I had to attend #Digital4Good. Thank you to #ICANHELP for having and awarding me at the event, After School for sponsoring my first trip out to San Francisco, and for all the other attendees, presenters, and honorees for teaching me how to expand my efforts to use technology to help others.
About Max Surprenant
Max Surprenant is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Catching Joy, Inc., and a writer for Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. Max spends most of his free time finding ways to help others, from the homeless to veterans, all while getting other youth and adults involved in volunteering.