What will Libby Hikind, share with the students this Friday at the annual School-Wide Career Day Fair at Northboro Elementary Montessori Magnet School? Having been a Magnet School Teacher herself for entrepreneurship, careers and computers during her teaching career, Libby will engage the students in an exciting activity that will stretch their abilities beyond expectations.
Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, and other websites, will describe a bit of her history and background; teach the children to start small and think big; and engage them in Uhelpfund, a crowdfunding website, through an animated video especially prepared for Northboro.
How Libby Got Her Start
You may not know this but Libby Hikind was accepted to PRATT University and her childhood dream was to become a commercial artist. The times of hippies and new freedoms frightened her parents and so she attended Brooklyn College on track to becoming a teacher with a fine arts minor.
Libby began her teaching career at age 15 by teaching traditional Sunday school. By age 18 she was teaching private preschool classes, and at age 20 she worked as a NYC Paraprofessional. At 21, she was a private school fifth grade teacher. Finally, after substitute teaching, and achieving her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Libby went full-time into public education. She taught special education Classes for Emotionally Handicapped (CEH), at Isaac Bildersee Junior High School (grades 7-9) in Brooklyn, New York. Libby went on to earn a Masters in Special Education and an advanced degree in Educational Administration and Supervision.
Libby will share with the students how she learned to write grants for her special education classroom which then created an overflow of technology in the school, equipping a computer lab. Libby was asked to become a general education Magnet School Teacher and later asked to write grants full-time at the Community School District office. She did so for two years, but missed the classroom. Later on she taught elementary school on Staten Island and created a grant writing company, working week nights and weekends. Libby is credited with writing and bringing Child Health Plus to Staten Island, numerous awards for NYC Early Learn, UPK, Homeland Security and many other grants.
Start Small, Finish Big
Libby started her business as a small startup in her home in a spare space with low-end expenses. Her business was the creation of a weekly faxed newsletter, called NYCGrantsWatch. The newsletter helped inform clients which grants were available in New York City.
Keep it Going
After retiring from teaching, inspiration struck and Libby retrofitted her grant writing company (located in her garage) into the newest technology. She moved her fax newsletter to the Internet. To her astonishment, the website took off! And because of the high demand from other regions, Libby and her daughter, Elana, slowly added New York State, the Tri-State Area, and then every state in America. Finally, they added Canada, Israel, and International GrantWatch.com sub domain pages. Today, her daughter, Elana, directs content development at GrantWatch.com. To date, there are a total of six grant related websites, viewed by more than one hundred thousand people a month:
- GrantWatch.com: This website is a search engine for the latest grants available to nonprofits, hospitals, universities, schools, community based groups, and small businesses.
- MWBEzone: This website is a grant search engine specifically for minority and women-owned businesses.
- GrantWriterTeam.com: This website matches grant seekers with highly skilled grant writers.
- Uhelpfund: This website synergizes crowdfunding with grant writing. The site enables grant funds to be raised via the internet.
- GrantNews.com: This website offers late-breaking grant and fundraising news.
- GWI.education: This website (still in development) is for online training to teach executive directors of non-profits, small business owners and skilled writers how to write grants.
Career Day at Northboro Elementary
According to Ms. Lourdes Simon-Bower, the Certified School Counselor at Northboro Elementary's Career Day, this will be the seventh annual event where presenters are given a classroom and the students rotate.
"In our format, the presenters can be more focused and there is less diffusion from the content.
At Northboro, this year alone, some of the following professions will be making presentations: pilot, attorney, dermatologist, massage therapist, coach, editor, nurse, financial planner. So far, three alumni have come back as athlete presenters with full scholarships to college. Northboro graduates come back because Career Day has had an impact on their own lives!"
In her presentation to the children, Libby will emphasize English communication skills: writing, reading, spelling, capitalization and editing. She will also touch on math and its importance in business. Libby will discuss her childhood aspirations, education, day-to-day tasks, rewards and stresses, the windy road of change, as well as what students can do to prepare for the world of work!
Libby hopes to inspire a child to pursue a career outside the box and show them how every part of their education and life builds upon the next and how she has come full circle in life back to her original dream of commercial advertising through website development, newspaper publication and social media marketing.
The Career Day presentation will challenge each fourth and fifth class to develop a crowdfunding project for school and or community improvement with their teachers and parents on the Uhelpfund website. The class will be introduced to a crowdfunding mentor who they will be able to call regularly at 888-240-1494 to guide their activities.
Libby Hikind also hopes to engage many other audiences. To arrange a speaking event with Libby, call the office at (561) 249-4129.
To learn about a GrantWatch.com subscription for your school, check out our blog article, "The GrantWatch.com Subscription: The Gift that Keeps on Giving."
About the Author: Staff Writer writes for GrantNews.com and its affiliates.