Joey Blumenfeld's posts

Aug 28th 2015

AOL Charitable Foundation Makes a Difference in Rwanda: WiSci STEAM Camp 2015

As part of the AOL Charitable Foundation's mission to increase access and opportunity for girls around the world, we're thrilled to have been a founding partner of the recent Women in Science (WiSci) STEAM Camp in Rwanda.

From across Africa and the U.S., 120 talented girls traveled to Rwanda to participate in this three-week program at the Gashora Girls Academy where they had the opportunity to learn valuable skills in science, technology, engineering, art and design and math (STEAM) fields, which enjoying a rich cross-cultural experience.

This first-of-its-kind program was organized by the U.S. Department of State, Microsoft 4Afrika, Intel, AOL Charitable Foundation, the United Nations Foundation's Girl Up campaign, and the Rwanda Girls Initiative, with support from Meridian International Center, the Rwandan Ministry of Education, the African Leadership Academy, and the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

The WiSci Camp is part of the Let Girls Learn initiative promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama to ensure adolescent girls get the education to build brighter futures and stronger communities. Read the press release.

As a founding partner, the AOL Charitable Foundation provided an initial grant to the UN Foundation to support the program and worked with AOL Inc. to provide leadership development, arts and cross-cultural learning. AOL enhanced the program curriculum with digital marketing expertise during week 3 of the program- it is in this last week that AOL sent three employees (myself, Michele Morelli, and John Johnston) to Rwanda to meet these talented girls and help bring the program to life!

Covering digital marketing and product pitching, our curriculum enabled campers to learn about the importance of branding and developing a successful product for their specific audience. These sessions were instrumental as the campers were responsible for not only creating a product that would benefit their local community back home, but they had to pitch their idea to a panel of judges on the last day of camp- judges based this competition on innovation, social impact, entrepreneurship, technical rigor and presentation.

Camp closed with a beautiful graduation ceremony that was attended by numerous dignitaries and was officiated by the First Lady of Rwanda, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame. As part of her speech, Mrs. Kagame urged the girls to use technology and to discover the tools needed to face the world's challenges. Click here to hear Mrs. Kagame's full speech.

Though the first WiSci STEAM camp has come to a close, this is just the beginning for the 120 girls eager to be the future leaders in their respective communities. To read more about these incredible girls and their experiences, click here to check out their Huffington Post blogs.

Check out these 2-minute snapshot videos created onsite and currently featured across AOL & The Huffington Post.

Jan 31st 2014

Actress Signs National Anthem for AOL.com

While many viewers will be listening to Renee Fleming and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra perform the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, not everyone will be able to hear it. To truly make this event inclusive for ALL who are watching and playing, the National Association of the Deaf and PepsiCo have selected actress Amber Zion to perform the anthem in American Sign Language.

Just yesterday, we had the honor of having Amber record The National Anthem with us in advance of her upcoming performance at one of the most-watched events of the year. Posted this morning to AOL.com, we're thrilled to share this sneak peak with our audience.

Check out the video to learn the song and sign along with Amber as she performs in front of millions on Sunday:

Dec 20th 2013

AOL NY Hosts "Women in Tech" Initiative

AOL is excited to be one of the first companies to partner with the NY Department of Education for the "Women in Tech" initiative, a new program for female software engineering students. Spearheaded by Rachel Haot, the city's Chief Digital Officer, the program aims to connect female leaders at New York tech companies with middle school and high school girls from the city's 22 pilot computer science schools.

We kicked-off the initiative yesterday, as the AOL NY office hosted a group of 30 from the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn. The field trip included an in-depth tour of the AOL studio and HuffPost Live set, followed by an interactive panel moderated by Susan Lyne, where the girls had an opportunity to hear from several women working across different business sectors of AOL.

We believe that events like the "Women in Tech" program help girls recognize the myriad pathways available in the technology field. Students enjoyed hearing from the panel of strong, trailblazing female tech leaders here at AOL including Huffington Post, while the school reiterated that it's valuable for girls to be able to see themselves in engineering and business roles of the speakers.

Panelists included:

Emily Glatzer- General Manager, Lifestyle Brands

Sammi Leibovitz- Creative Director, AOL.com and Lifestyle

Regina Bienstock- Head of Business Operations, Marketplace by ADTECH

Rebecca Searles- Social Media, HuffPost

Anna Dickson- Photography Director, HuffPost

Alexandra Berke- Engineer, HuffPost

Whiteboarding (topic: tech/coding):

Jennifer Wenner, Sr. Tech Manager, Software Engineering

Piya Ghosh, Software Engineer, Huffington Post Media Group

Studio Tour

Lead by Sylvia Nasiadko- Production Manager, AOL studios/HP Live

Dec 3rd 2013

AOL's Typhoon Haiyan Relief Efforts Raise A Quarter of a Million Dollars

Helping others is in our core DNA – so when typhoon Haiyan recently hit the Philippines, AOLers worldwide sprung into action. Coming up with a plan that involved both consumers and employees, we raised a quarter of a million dollars for typhoon Haiyan relief.

In the wake of the devastation, AOLers jumped in quickly from all sides of the company: leveraging our unique AOL.com Cause of the Day module, we rallied our AOL users to donate; leveraging the AOL UK homepage, we put a call out to all AOL UK users that for every pound they donated to relief efforts, we would match up to 10,000 pounds; and, utilizing our Community Relations site, employees raised money and AOL matched the amount through our Matching Grants program.

AOL is also providing support for the relief effort via content, and we're working with our partner, Network for Good, to provide opportunities for consumers to easily donate.

We've made great progress and are committed to continuing relief efforts. Thank you to all the AOLers who have supported this important cause. Click here to find out how you can help.

Oct 10th 2013

AOL Shows Support for World Sight Day

Yesterday, AOL teamed up with TOMS to support World Sight Day. Held annually on the second Thursday of October, WSD strives to raise awareness around blindness and vision impairment.

Over two hundred million people around the world are visually impaired or blind – forcing many to give up jobs, independence and education – and 80% of those cases could have been prevented, or can still be corrected.

To gain a better sense of the true value of sight – while simultaneously increasing public awareness around this important cause – AOLers joined millions across the globe and wore sunglasses indoors to imagine what it would be like to have limited vision.

Everyone from employees to the AOL Blue Monster took photographs, using hashtag #BeShady to spread the word.

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