10 years and counting…
Last night, we hosted an event at our house celebrating MOUSE’s 10th year. Old friends, new friends and people who have truly been the Champions of MOUSE over the past 10 years. We had about 90 people.
I have written about MOUSE before because I chaired this organization in its infancy. MOUSE integrates technology into the urban public school systems, mostly high schools. What is exceptionally monumental about last nights event is the conversations that our board had in the very beginning have come to fruition. In essence, we thought of ourselves as an extension of our community, Silicon Alley, and felt it was our obligation to give back, to give access to others when we had the ultimate access to technology. We wanted to take our ideas nationally as well as internationally. Of course we began with a variety of programs, but essentially one of them pulled away from the pack and became the key to what has made MOUSE so successful today.
Not only is MOUSE in 5 states, over 100 schools in NYC and in 23 countries and still growing, we are making an impact in peoples lives. We go into a school, hire kids to be the tech people behind the schools technology infrastructure. Not only do these kids learn fundamental skills, they learn how to be leaders in their community. It is the leadership, self confidence and empowerment that we have given hundreds of High School students that allow them to not only go on to college (90% of them do) but take those skills and integrate them into their life even if they choose a life in the tech industry or not.
One of our success stories was at our event last night. His name is Juan Garzon. Juan was honored in 2001 as MOUSE’s top MOUSE squad kid. He interned at Columbia Records in the tech department. He made a big difference in his school as soon as he joined the MOUSE squad as a Junior at Robert Wagner High School in Queens. He went to graduate at Plattsburgh State and then return to NYC to begin his own business in computer and repair services, called Zong Services. MOUSE was his first customer. He wanted to return to NYC and give back to the organization that helped him. The best line of the evening was when Juan said "MOUSE took me in when I was a follower and turned me into a leader." We couldn’t ask for anything better than that.
Congratulations MOUSE. 10 years. Looking forward to the next 10.