George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Giving Back Locally While Traveling to Edu Conferences

June 22, 2015 Updated June 21, 2015

So many times I'm thankful for the learning that goes on at a conference. I enjoy seeing all the amazing people from my PLN and meeting new people to expand my PLN. I love the energy that surrounds learning and education conversations. Often, prior to a conference, we will share about sessions we may be considering, make dinner plans, talk about what we hope to get out of or add to the conference, but for a large summer educational technology conference the conversation shifted to "What is it that we feel we can give to the city and the people of Philadelphia?”

The idea of giving back is nothing original, but it is so extremely valuable. While listening to one of the best young educators Sara Boucher (@MsGeekyTeach) as she shared a story about how one restaurant in Philadelphia that was giving to the homeless, I caught her enthusiasm. She was hoping to get a group of us to visit that pizza place while at that large education technology conference this summer.  Her excitement for the story spawned the start of something that we are hoping expands and catches fire among attendees and even those who are not able to join the learning.

We are also hoping to start a trend in having teachers who are attending conferences around the world to look for ways to give back to the local community they are traveling to and to even consider how they can involve their students in the process.

For us, our plan is to promote and flood Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia (who have had some recent press coverage including being on the Ellen Show for their efforts to give slices of pizza to the homeless of the local community) with thousands of conference goers to help support their efforts to feed the homeless of Philly. Our plan doesn’t end this summer though, as our discussions continued, it blossomed beyond just a small group of friends headed over for a slice of cheese pizza, into a planning session for ways we could help the community of Philadelphia and other conference hosting cities, thanks to Tracy Clark (@TracyClark08) and John Stevens(@Jstevens009).

So whether you join this simple movement with us this summer in giving back to the city we have the opportunity to travel to for the upcoming education conferences, or if go big and make this part of your conference attending norms, together we will change lives.

Not going to any upcoming conferences? You can still share this idea with those who are attending conferences. Planning or coordinating a conference? Consider building in opportunities for attendees to serve your local community. Thanks for reading. Be sure to follow #sliceofISTE for updates on all those giving and share how you plan to give back this summer and beyond.

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we've preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer's own.

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