A partner with Charleston Promise Neighborhood since our incorporation in 2010, Blackbaud, Inc is a national organization that is devoted to providing nonprofits, including CPN, with software and services. Their expertise allows CPN to drive change in our neighborhood and schools. Encouraging their employees to get involved in the community, about 90% of Blackbaud employees volunteer, both in traditional and skills-based volunteerism roles, giving an estimated 100,000 hours in service in a year!
Last year, Blackbaud employees participated in CPN’s Day of Caring project at Mary Ford Elementary, where they talked with our students about their careers and education. After working with Blackbaud, we started thinking of more ways to engage their great volunteers. Blackbaud also wanted to continue supporting CPN’s CQ “College Quotient” program. CQ is designed to integrate college culture in every aspect of the education process through the environment, activities, and discussions designed to raise expectations of students, teachers, and parents.
We felt the partnership with Blackbaud was an opportunity to show our students how Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) relate to everyday life and career paths. Blackbaud’s vision was to create a network of mentors to help guide students and engage them with content focusing on hardware and software…and even create software! We each had ideas that led us down the same path to the creation of Camp Blackbaud for CPN 5th grade students.
“As I was thinking about our skills-based volunteerism pledge to Billion + Change pledge, Camp Blackbaud came to mind. We got together with CPN and talked about it; then I got people on board here, and we made it happen. It just seemed like a natural fit – STEM education is a hot topic right now, you’re creating this college bound culture with kids in underserved areas, we have all sorts of STEM skills in this building. It worked and made sense,” said Sally Ehrenfried, Community Relations Manager, Blackbaud, Inc.
Five 5th grade students from each CPN school were selected to attend Camp Blackbaud based on their year-long efforts and their interest in Science. “These students strive to do their best each and every day, and we felt they deserved to be recognized for that. These students are role models to their peers, and by highlighting them and their successes, we hope they will inspire others to be hardworking, high-performing students.” Stefanie Chambrovich, 5th grade teacher from Chicora Elementary.
Camp Blackbaud was an amazing two-day, educational and hands-on experience. The students worked in teams with Blackbaud volunteers to build their very own Smartphone App and video documenting their experience. The teams were to create a scavenger hunt app that would teach visitors and new students about each CPN school.
The Blackbaud leaders taught the students how to use the software, and guided them through the process from brainstorming to creation. “It was fun! We got to mark up our plan and write our ideas for the app on the walls at Blackbaud,” said one Sanders-Clyde student. Blackbaud volunteers talked with students about what they do and other technical careers at Blackbaud. Students were able to design and easily navigate the app software. Each team was constantly engaged, asking questions and working hard to make their app the best. By the end of the camp, CPN students had developed, tested, and completed a presentation on their Smartphone App! This was a great partnership with Blackbaud; we are excited for future endeavors that will also bring exciting new friendships and experiences to our students!
The students even recorded raw footage, used for their documentary video. Check out each team’s documentary using the links below!