Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"I Dare to Dream and Achieve....Please Help These Few Who Want to Help Me"

My name could be Rosa, or Maria, or Jocita. I am one of a small group of girls who need your help.

I live in a poor village in the hills of Guatemala. My father is dead, or he's gone, or he cannot find work to support us. My mother loves us but is desperate. She will take any job to find food for our table. Any job.....no matter how demeaning it may be. It is very sad.


But, yes, I still dare to dream. I want to learn. I want to achieve. I want to use my God-given gifts to better my own life and help others better theirs, too. Many of my friends are young girls like me who share my dream, who want to learn, who want to have a better life.

We have a very good man who comes here often from his country to help us dream and achieve. His name is Hugh Mcelroy. We call him "Papa."
Papa Hugh with some of his girls....

He has built a place where 15 girls about my age live together and go to school to learn and make our lives better and hopeful.

There is only "Papa Hugh" and a few others here to help us.

He does not want to change the world.

He wants to help change our world here. He wants to give us the chance to go to school, to learn new skills, to change our lives. Then we can help change the lives of the others we know and love.

He needs your help to help us. We hope you can help him help us! We need your help, too.



Hugh "Papa" Mcelroy knows he can't save the world or solve all the problems, but he can help these two dozen or so young girls from a poor village in the Guatemala hills try to change their lives for the better.

Like the young boy in this famous Starfish Story, he can't save all those in need, but he can save some of them.

Here is Hugh's mission in his own words:

"So many young girls in Guatemala do not get the chance to grow up and become strong, educated, confident and capable women. They are unable to reach their God-given potential in their intellectual, spiritual, moral and social lives.

"Women are often the heart of a modern society but in Guatemala, they are frequently marginalized and impoverished, so much so that it is impossible for young girls to become capable, independent and productive adults.

"They need support during these critical years and we at Asociascion Mujer Atervete (AMA) provide it for the small number we can accommodate."

Our Mission Statement is:"To transform the lives of these young girls through education and character development." We provide this with: a safe community living environment; help in selecting a school that meets their needs; personal guidance; leadership training; career assessment; and school financial aid.

We currently serve 12 young girls in live in our community home and 3 who attend a nearby university.  Our total budget for the entire year is $100, 000. We could seek grants from major foundations, but instead we wish to solicit these funds from a smaller number of individual donors, those who want to take a more personal interest in the well-being of these young girls, and witness the far greater likelihood of their more satisfying, successful lives and careers.

We are not designed nor are we able to serve all those in need. 
But we are committed to serve this small number who walk these paths on our Guatemalen hillside. 

We know, with your help, we can make a lifelong difference to 15 of these young girls.



Your one-time or recurring donation can help us better their lives.
They will, in return, thank each and every one of you.

Will YOU help us help them? 

If you have any questions, please contact Hugh Mcelroy directly at: hcmcelroy@usfamily.net



















Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Yes, We At RE@L Are Proud: Featured Editorial in the 
St. Paul Sunday Pioneer Press Business Section

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RE@L is very pleased to announce that our founder, Dale LaFrenz, was interviewed by the St. Paul Pioneer Press Business Editor, Dave Fondler. The interview was featured at the top of the Business section of the Sunday paper. The important topic discussed was Minnesota's own historical and now current leadership in effective K12 software for students and teachers.

No one knows that story better than Dale LaFrenz. Back in 1978, he called and made a deal with Steve Jobs back that brought the Apple II computer and the simulation learning game "Oregon Trail" to teachers and students everywhere. Oregon Trail is arguably the most popular learning game of all time.

Dale had founded the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) that brought dozens and dozens of award-winning K12 software to schools all over the country. He knows the history of school software better than anyone, and has used that accumulated knowledge and success to found Real Experiences at Life (RE@L) software that uses today's mobile apps and iPads to better aid learning. DaleRE@L002

His interview can be read in entirety by clicking the link below:
As fate would have it, that same issue of the paper had a critical story on the local school district’s decision to provide every student and teacher with an iPad to help with learning and teaching.

What’s been unresolved to date is how this iPad plan will happen. We applaud the district for planning ahead and bringing that plan to the School Board and public for input and suggestions. RE@L’s software team has many of the same members who brought MECC to the market.
What made MECC so successful was the wealth of information and resources for teachers and students to get the maximum instructional benefit from the software. 

The same is true for RE@L. The district would be well-advised to include those teaching and learning resources in their plan. Tools, without a do-able plan, are worthless.

RE@L is pledged to work with schools districts on criteria for choosing apps and software for their mobile learning devices, from iPads to laptops. Funds well-spent are those directed to products that work.  
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RE@L hopes that the community-at-large of educators, parents, students, investors all understand what RE@L delivers: learning apps and software that works. That’s why we here at RE@L are very proud. 

Check us out! Let us know if we can help!
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Missing Links to Learning More: RE@L's New Products Fill the Curriculum Gaps!


Time in school is a fixed quantity.  Some yell for more, others scream too much already!  Kids spend the time, teachers perform admirably and yet too many test scores do not rise.

There is a need for a RE@L solution.  One that is not more testing and retesting,  while taking away valuable learning time.

Our schools need to harness the opportunity presented by the advent of mobile technology and iPads available in schools and homes and everywhere.  

RE@L provides, effective, tested, supplementary teaching/learning materials for teachers and parents to use with their kids.  RE@L apps cut across subject lines and cover what we call Practical Life Skills.

Life Skills are essential to life and living. Often referred to as Family and Consumer Science or (FACS), these needed key skills have been crowded out of the K12 curriculum. 

RE@L has THE answer to fill that learning gap of missing learning skills. A new set of mobile apps that address, present and teach those skills to kids on their own time. Most important, they are so much fun kids will want to do it on their own time.

What are some of the important skills kids missing today?  What is on the minds of these "Tween" learners today, as they make way through the the crowded K12 curriculum? 

Here are some RE@L "need to knows":


   Learning to make and choose meals/snacks that are healthy
   Knowing basic budgeting skills to use their money wisely
   Becoming smart consumers, ones who spend their money wisely
   Knowing social etiquette: working in a group, building relationships.
   Understanding how to care for young children.


RE@L’s Practical Life Skills  product line is designed to provide apps that cover the whole range of  Child Care & Teen Wellness & Study Skills, including Teens and Money.  RE@L uses unique and effective app presentation of content that involve the kids and motivate them to learn more. 
  
Stay tuned to this blog for more postings about this important issue.  Courtesy of RE@L and coming soon to an Apple App Store near you is first Practical Life Skills app:  Babysitting, Inc. 


            We think it is a game changer – we will want to know what you think. Let us know. It's our mission to continually improve our products.


 RE@L will be there to help students, parents and teachers help make it happen. 

From RE@L! 

Babysitting, Inc - It's All About Tweens Building a Business!



What's a "Tween", you say?

Why, it's those tens of millions of kids out there between the ages of 10 and 16 who know they need to know more about finding a job they like. Even more, they want to know about building a successful business on their own. After all, they are growing up in a world of new opportunities.

That's called "Learning for Life!" folks. That's what RE@L's new learning apps and products are all about: learning now skills you can use now, and also later in life. We call them Practical Life Skills.

So, we are very proud to announce to students, teachers and parents the release of our newly updated Babysitting, Inc - Get Organized mobile app for your iPad!

It's targeted for kids who want to learn these new RE@L Practical Life Skills. This updated version has just been released! It includes new and helpful videos that literally show kids and parents the tips and tricks to successfully getting their babysitting service up and running.


Babysitting, Inc helps kids start a competitive business, offering competent, safe babysitting services to their community. This interactive mobile app shows them the steps from start to finish.


Full of unique features this app includes a number of firsts:

•   Exemplary uses of purposeful media tools
•   Embedded social media, including many helpful features that ensure useful sharing among users
•   Powerful use of Apple's many iPad features: the contacts list; the new still and video camera; the connective communication features of mail and sharing among users, anywhere and everywhere.

Additionally, 

•   You will find many new helpful tools like the calculator to calculate your expenses and profits.
•   You will discover options for that allow for either step-by-step structured learning, as well as random exploration.
•   You will note there are a wide range of useful stored symbols and logos for making your own business cards. Let the computer help you generate your own, personal designs and business tools:





Here's an excerpt from a brief video introduction about many of the cool features of Babysitting, Inc from  tween 14 year old Sam.









Click here for Sam's brief video.


Yes, there's more to come: Babysitting, Inc: Eye on Safety will be followed by Babysitting. Inc: Active Ideas, and then by Babysitting, Inc: Ages and Stages

All you need to know is here in this series of apps, all the steps to get started with confidence, and the training to back it up, and the tools to launch your own new. successful babysitting business. 

RE@L has more Real Life Practical Skills in the mobile app pipeline: Child Care, Social Life, Teen Wellness, Consumer Life Skills and more…… 

We all know kids today need to know more. 

RE@L has those answers!  


Monday, May 12, 2014

The "Crowded-Out-Curriculum": Are We Shortchanging Our Students?


The "Crowded-Out-Curriculum": 
Are We Shortchanging Our Students?

Are our kids today learning the skills they need to be successful in this changing world? Most teachers could answer this with one word: "No!"

But it's far better to ask the school kids. Their answer is still a resounding "No!" They will tell you why if you ask. They won't likely choose the word "irrelevant." They will say it's called learning, just not real world learning. They will say it's mostly stuff you now find tested on a bubble sheet. It's just, plain not real.

We at RE@L say it's not real, too. Yes, we know kids need basic skills. But the curriculum has become so over-crowded with basics and testing and reteaching and more testing, that there's no time for Practical Life Skills.

Standards are important! Kids need to know how to read, to compute, to write, to possess a common set of key skills that most everyone needs to get by in life. But in doing that, and adding in repeated testing, we are driving out other important skills.

The arts are among those curriculums that have lost out. They are trying to make a comeback in the new STEM movement: Science, Technology, Environment, Arts & Mathematics. That's fine, and we support it.

In fact we have products coming down our pipeline that address it.



Coming soon to a school near you: RE@L-world water quality investigation. Classroom-based and outdoor activities that make learning real.

But more on that later! Back to the what those kids think.




Here's a list of some of the questions we hear them asking:


•   How can I find a job?

•   What do I really want to do with my life? What options to I have? 

•   What am I good at? What do I dislike doing?


•   Where can I learn the skills to become a competent worker and provide useful services to others?

•   How can I compete in the global market-place?

•   Most importantly, how can I become successful in my career, give back and enjoy what I do?





RE@L has more Real Life Practical Skills in the mobile app pipeline: Child Care, Social Life, Teen Wellness, Consumer Life Skills and more……

Why? Because we all know kids today need to know more.  

RE@L will be there with useful mobile apps to help students, parents and teachers make it happen. 

More exciting real learning tools are coming!

From RE@L!