Showing: 1 - 2 of 2 RESULTS

HCPSS Education Board To Recognize 2020 Friends of Education

HOWARD COUNTY, MD — The Howard County Board of Education will recognize The Nora Project and Terri Jones with Friends of Education Awards during the 4 p.m. Oct. 22 virtual board meeting. The board meeting may be viewed live on Comcast channel 95 or Verizon channel 42 and web streamed.

The Nora Project offers a curriculum that enhances empathy, normalizes difference, demystifies disability and supports creating an environment where everyone can feel included. First grade students at Fulton Elementary participate in The Nora Project with Cedar Lane School students. Promising outcomes from this partnership have included enhanced understanding among students about disabilities and how to be a good friend, as well as a more positive sense of community in the classroom.

Jones, an HCPSS parent, has shown dedication by supporting Homewood Center’s annual Recycled Treasure Sale. The event enables Homewood students to select donated holiday gifts to give to their loved ones. Jones spends hours acquiring donations, attracting volunteers, generating interest and more.

The board also will acknowledge nominees Bonnie Bricker and Alan McLaine for their contributions to the school system.

The Friends of Education Award was established in 2001 to salute exemplary volunteer contributions of time and talent that directly support academic achievement and safe learning environments for HCPSS.

Source Article

Cornell students create Quarantine Buddy website to match friends

“You come on any time,” Benkendorf said from Sunrise, Fla. “I’ve got a dog you can play with. I’ve got a spare room. Anytime you need a vacation. If they close you down again, Stacie, you’re welcome.”

Weldon and Benkendorf have never met in-person, but over the past four months they’ve developed a friendship after matching with each other on a website. Quarantine Buddy, founded by two Cornell University students in April, matches people from around the world based on their background and interests, and they meet virtually.

The website has helped more than 50,000 people — spanning all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries — build friendships while stuck at home.

“We kind of realized how lonely and isolating this can be for so many people,” said Jordyn Goldzweig, a Quarantine Buddy co-founder. “The pandemic itself really brought out the fact that a lot of people are isolated, and even though we have technology, people aren’t utilizing it to meet other people. We really wanted to do our part.”

In March, Goldzweig and co-founder Sam Brickman left Cornell for their respective New Jersey and New York homes due to the coronavirus outbreak. A few weeks later, the junior computer science majors met with one of their professors, Pam Silverstein, on Zoom. After discussing a project, Silverstein expressed how thankful she was to speak with someone, because she hadn’t left her house in about a week.

Goldzweig and Brickman have worked on multiple projects together, including an application last year called “Zing” that connects classmates. They expanded that idea to assist people in situations such as Silverstein’s.

They spent two all-nighters shaping the website, staying awake on coffee and electronic dance music. They created a survey with nine questions that allows users to customize what they are looking for in a friend during the pandemic, whether it be someone to work out and study with or someone to complain to.

About two weeks later, Brickman was eating chicken tacos when Goldzweig texted him, informing him sign-ups for the website were skyrocketing. Brickman checked his email to see New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) mentioned Quarantine Buddy in his daily briefing. That unexpected gesture made Quarantine Buddy known internationally.

“I don’t think we slept for that entire night as the sign-ups were coming in,” Brickman said. “We were just continually monitoring the code base to make sure that nothing crashed and we were able to store all the new people coming in.”

Brickman said participants range from age 18 to 97. In addition to creating one-on-one connections, Goldzweig and Brickman constructed group events, such as weekly book clubs, fantasy football conversations and discussions after episodes of The Bachelorette.

Every day, Brickman said he receives emails thanking him for the project, and he said some people have offered to include them in their wills. They plan to continue the website after the coronavirus passes, noting the website also benefited participants from areas that didn’t go into lockdown.

That’s good