JELYPals is an online pen pal system, where we are pushing the conventions of traditional pen palling by integrating web 2.0 technologies and designing a system contextually fit for the unique and contextual requirements needs of African and African-American communities. Founded on the three simple tenets of cross-cultural awareness, digital proficiency and language literacy, JELYPals seeks to deepen the ties among youth of African descent, build valuable technological skills and drastically improve reading and writing competence. Our innovative platform presents an opportunity to tackle unique educational challenges and not only to negate formerly held stereotypes but also an opportunity to increase digital literacy and language literacy in a fun and engaging way.
We live in a society polarized around race, religion, gender, sexuality, and a plethora of other demographics. However there is much peace and understanding that can come from groups if they just communicated. This statement is fundamental to JELYPals as we seek to support capacity and the potential of youth through storytelling. Despite Africans and African-Americans sharing the same race, each have very negative and distorted views of each other; distortions often created by the media. JELYPals is an opportunity to use the power of media and web 2.0 in a way that will create bridges in the African Diaspora in a fun and educational way. As the leaders of tomorrow, youth need to be equipped with the proper tools to properly integrate themselves into a globalizing society.
Both African and African American communities have a lot in common, although these commonalities will never be realized unless these groups communicate. Communication is fundamental to breaking down formerly held barriers and increasing diversity and inclusion. Although some displaced, what both of these groups do not realize is that they both are bound by the same history and disproportionately impacted by poverty, crime and disease. What makes negative perceptions in the African diaspora a burgeoning issue is the increasing number of refugees from Africa coming to the United States every year. While these refugee's are persecuted in their countries of origin are based on things such as race and nationality, these refugees come to the US only to be continually scrutinized by African Americans for their differences.
Not only do both of these groups have misunderstandings about each other but they also lack the proper resources to properly integrate them into a globalizing society. In the advent of the web 2.0, educational technologies are rarely designed for African and African-American youth. That is, educational technologies rarely take into consideration the contextual requirements of African and African American communities and contexts.
We created JELYPals to bridge these gaps, fill the void in the lack of educational technologies for members of the African Diaspora and uplift youth who are often not exposed to the vibrant people, cultures and opportunities that exist in the world.
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