MN Virtual Cultural Exchange (Flat Stanely)

MayKao Fredericks
by MayKao Fredericks | Mar 23, 2012
| 0 Comments

Summary:

Innovation: I propose the creation of a MN Virtual Cultural Exchange (MVCE) website that will serve as an innovative strategy in helping Minnesotans connect and explore across cultural and religious differences. The site will offer two programs. The first, is a MN version of Flat Stanley, an award winning international project that offers a fun learning experience through the adventure of a "flat" visitor. The flat visitor is a paper cutout resembling the participant, and is sent to a host family who takes pictures with the cutout in various travel scenes. Imagine a Somali flat visitor photographed at the Hmong New Year or a North European Minnesotan photographed at a Hindu temple! The goal of the project is to spur the interest in actually visiting new places and develop a pen pal friendship with someone outside one's circle. The experience includes learning materials that facilitate cultural growth and appreciation.
The second part of the website is to provide real life cultural experiences by hosting cultural themed community information such as: a directory of cultural dance groups and entertainers, best hole-in-the-wall restaurant reviews, ethnic caters, Somali malls, Latino Mercado, festivals and more. These are hidden Minnesota gems and currently there is no easy way to find them.
To learn more about Flat Stanley project visit: www.flatstanley.com To see a sample cultural exchange website visit: http://culturalexchange.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/index.aspx To see a sample directory layout visit: http://cultural.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/

About You

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About You

First Name

MK

Last Name

Fredericks

Country

United States, MN

City

Innovation

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Title

MN Virtual Cultural Exchange

What is your best idea to build bonds and work together across cultures and faiths in your community?

Innovation: I propose the creation of a MN Virtual Cultural Exchange (MVCE) website that will serve as an innovative strategy in helping Minnesotans connect and explore across cultural and religious differences. The site will offer two programs. The first, is a MN version of Flat Stanley, an award winning international project that offers a fun learning experience through the adventure of a "flat" visitor. The flat visitor is a paper cutout resembling the participant, and is sent to a host family who takes pictures with the cutout in various travel scenes. Imagine a Somali flat visitor photographed at the Hmong New Year or a North European Minnesotan photographed at a Hindu temple! The goal of the project is to spur the interest in actually visiting new places and develop a pen pal friendship with someone outside one's circle. The experience includes learning materials that facilitate cultural growth and appreciation.
The second part of the website is to provide real life cultural experiences by hosting cultural themed community information such as: a directory of cultural dance groups and entertainers, best hole-in-the-wall restaurant reviews, ethnic caters, Somali malls, Latino Mercado, festivals and more. These are hidden Minnesota gems and currently there is no easy way to find them.
To learn more about Flat Stanley project visit: www.flatstanley.com To see a sample cultural exchange website visit: http://culturalexchange.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/index.aspx To see a sample directory layout visit: http://cultural.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/

Impact and Sustainability

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How will your idea have a positive impact on your community?

My Community: I am Hmong, married to a 3rd generation N. European Minnesotan. I have a blended family of bi-racial children, adopted Hmong children, and N. European step children. Professionally I am a program officer for a Foundation that focuses on closing the economic disparity in the Twin Cities. I also serve on the advisory council of Refugee and Immigrant Women of Change and a trained ESL tutor for the Somali community. Diversity is not just about showcasing what is different, it is also about looking within and identifying what makes you unique. I support my bi-racial children in appreciating what makes them unique by letting them stay home on their birthday to make lefsa with grandma Lois and during the winter holiday having breakfast with Tomtenisse at the Swedish Inst and dressing up for the Hmong New Year celebration. Little awknowledgments like these make a difference in how they grow up precieving the world.

Impact: MN Virtual Cultural Exchange has both breadth and depth. Depth: The Flat Stanley project removes the fear factor of stepping outside one's comfort zone and breaks down community/neighborhood segregation by placing flat visitors in unlikely venues and neighborhoods. The personalization of the project creates meaningful connections through shared travel experiences and the warm welcoming of a host family. What I love most about this project is that though the primary participants of the project will be students & children, parents will unknowingly be involve and learn in the process. This is rare in that often diversity initiatives are led and followed by those who already have an interest in the subject. Breadth: The website resource portal adds huge benefits in showcasing MN's rich and diverse culture and supports local culture specific businesses and entertainers. Nothing like this exist. If successful, this model can be replicated and expanded nationwide. Program reach is virtually unlimited and services can be accesses 24/7.

What do you think the lasting effect will be if your idea is implemented?

Sustainability: The goal is for all schools to incorporate MN Flat Stanley into Social Studies or English classes throughout K-12. There is value in raising our children to have a global perspective when it comes to culture, faith, language, and diversity at key stages of their social development. The website is designed to support classroom interaction and offers classroom teaching materials.
The goal of a one-stop cultural resource portal is to make it easier for corporations, businesses, schools, and churches to incorporate cultural specific artist, caters, and businesses into business practices and when hosting special events. The more we can integrate culture into all areas of our life, from personal to business, the more global and inclusive we become.
Yes MN Virtual Cultural Exchange can be launched with $15,000! There currently is a Flat Stanley website, I recommend collaborating with them to minimize cost and leverage resources. The current site is child friendly and content is monitored for appropriate activity. Regarding the website portal. Most items posted can be done by the community via template entries to ensure a consistent and quality look. I recommend a committee be formed representing media, nonprofits, schools, arts and culture, and culture specific businesses to oversee the content, design and promotion of the website. Once the site has been created I anticipate at minimum a $500 annual website maintenance fee. I propose it be funded by the same source that funds the following website: http://www.livemsp.org/home. I would be delighted to participate in leading this effort, Marketing is my background.

Nothing like this exist. If successful, this model can be replicated and expanded nationwide. Program reach is virtually unlimited and services can be accesses 24/7.

MayKao Fredericks updated this Competition Entry. - 2600 days ago

MayKao Fredericks updated this Competition Entry. - 2614 days ago

MayKao Fredericks updated this Competition Entry. - 2615 days ago

MayKao Fredericks submitted this idea. - 2615 days ago