Welcome to the JDO Foundation! I am Judy O'Connell Coon. I would love to share with you the reason this foundation has become a reality.
I was brought up in Casper, Wyoming. Casper is "small town", but that didn't matter because if you were brought up as an O'Connell, it was always said, (REPEATEDLY) that you could achieve anything, if you had a good education. Casper has a wonderful educational system because of the backing of the oil industry. Since Wyoming is a state with a very small population, we were very blessed that education is a top priority.
I graduated from school in Casper, and then attended the University of Wyoming, where I received my teaching degree.
The next 25 years of my life were spent teaching. I was always aware that I was very lucky to be able to go each day to a job that I enjoyed. Having always worked with children, I am constantly captivated by the pure joy students express when learning. Keeping students engaged and demonstrating "real life applications" for the learning process is an essential element of education.
Unfortunately, in November of 2006, after a long illness, I lost my father to Alzheimer's. It was a very degrading time for someone that I, (and many others) admired so much. He was a brilliant man, and always encouraged me in every endeavor. Education was particularly important to him. At every juncture, he was forever pointing out what a learning opportunity life was. He always encouraged those who had "less", to see education as an empowerment. He began giving "scholarships" anonymously to many who had no other means to continue their education. He did not expect to be repaid for his kindness. He only expected them to use their education to further their futures. This man, my father, was an incredible example to me. With the loss of my father, I had the means to start the JDO Foundation. It is my privilege to begin this foundation and to make it into something that will continue to be my legacy and gift to future generations. My personal goal is to use what my father, Richard K. O'Connell, taught me, both through his words and his actions, about the value of education. I know he would be as proud of me as I was of him.
I initially founded the JDO Foundation in 2011 to bring technology to students and schools in Colorado that would not otherwise be afforded that opportunity. As I have been touched by the need for understanding and compassion among future generations around the world, my vision for how the foundation can best serve students and teachers has evolved in miraculous ways. It became clear to me that through technology, students around the world can be guided to communicate and collaborate on common educational curriculum. This technology can literally unlock the doors of education and build friendships regardless of religion, culture, or geographic location.
To that end, our mission is to strive to provide an enriched educational experience for U.S. and International elementary classrooms by providing state of the art technologies and professional training to the educators managing these technologies. This is accomplished through our Global Partnership Program. A program in which classrooms in the U.S. are partnered with classrooms around the world for weekly communication and collaboration on co-curricular learning topics agreed upon by partner teachers. JDO facilitates this collaboration to enable students to be accomplished, well-informed digital citizens and global thought leaders.