From One Hand To AnOTHER (FOHTA) is a 501 C3 Not for Profit Foundation established by Pharrell Williams to provide educational S.T.E.A.M.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Motivation) related tools needed for the future success of children.
Ann Paisley Chandler: What inspired the start of From One Hand To AnOTHER (FOHTA)?
Dr. Carolyn Williams: When Pharrell traveled outside of his community, all over the country and eventually overseas, he came to the realization that so much more was going on in the world than what he and those back home had been exposed to. He was inspired to share his experiences and felt the best way for students to impart these experiences was via education and technology, and thus created an organization in Virginia Beach with that vision in mind.
Chandler: Tell us about FOHTA - its goals and mission.
Dr. Williams: At From One Hand to Another, Inc (FOHTA) our mission is "To change the world one kid at a time by providing them the tools and resources to meet their unique potential;" we strive to empower kids to learn through new technologies, arts, and media, offering learning programs to under-served youth. FOHTA provides project based lessons and activities that enrich learning opportunities while promoting and enhancing participant's self esteem. We want our participants to experience the joy of learning by making it fun. These nurturing learning experiences are ways for our students to feed their curiosity while enhancing their education.
Chandler: What are the fundraising goals, and how are they set?
Dr. Williams: Our fundraising goals are based on the budgetary needs to maintain our existing program and increase the number of children served each year. The goal is to provide Title I students with additional educational resources to lessen their academic gaps. We hope to grow the program exponentially to serve more students. We are looking for sponsors and partners with similar missions to help provide funding and program opportunities.
Chandler: What have been the greatest challenges and lessons learned?
Dr. Williams: The greatest challenges are servicing the number of children wanting to be a part of FOHTA's program. Clearly, we want to assist as many children as we can. But again, as there are budgetary limits, there still remains a waiting list. We are always thankful for sponsors, partnerships, volunteers and donations because as we strive to make the future brighter for youth, and these collaborations make the future brighter for everyone involved.
Chandler: What excites you most about the organization and the impact of your goals?
Dr. Williams: The most exciting and yet humbling thing about FOHTA is watching and hearing about the changes kids experience because of what FOHTA has provided for them. The incredible testimonials and stories of personal inspirations from students, their parents, our instructors and staff about the difference we have made in their lives are the greatest motivator. Many students return for multiple years. Everyone is educationally empowered.
Chandler: What do you want the mark of FOHTA to be?
Dr. Williams: From One Hand To Another is a medium used to help others, especially our youth as the name conveys. All those who participate in the programs from volunteers, staff, students and families are encouraged to reach out, give back and help each other. Given the youth is our future, it is critical that they are educated to the highest so they can be whomever they choose and achieve their dreams. And in turn, the children's future success also paves the way for their elders to continue to thrive.
Pharrell was motivated to use his gifts and talents by his teachers, and he wants to show the youth that they too can find their own gifts and be successful. He is the first to say, "The most important thing that we can instill in our youth is education. It is the connection to everything." Every child succeeds if given the right tools and resources, so together we can make a difference, From One Hand To Another.