Eye on the Triangle

In this episode, Abigail and Avery inform listeners about current news events. In the second segment, Jeanine Ikekhua interviews, high school student, Issac Lund about his non-profit called Service Beakers.

What is Eye on the Triangle?

Eye on the Triangle is WKNC 88.1 FM HD-1/HD-2’s weekly public affairs programming with news, interviews, opinion, weather, sports, arts, music, events and issues that matter to NC State, Raleigh and the Triangle.

Announcer 0:00
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Jeanine Ikekhua 0:21
The views and opinions expressed during Eye on the Triangle do not represent WKNC or NC State student media.

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Abigail 0:42
Hello guys. This is Abigail Ali with Eye on the Triangle. I am the Assistant news editor for technician and I'm here with...

Avery 0:52
Avery Davis. And I'm the news editor at technician. And today we're going to be following the same format as our weekly news last week, where Abigail and I will each present three news tidbits to each other about either NC State or Raleigh, just our surrounding areas. And we're just going to present to each other and you know, discuss. So that's pretty much it. We'll go ahead and get started. And since I went first last week, Abigail will go first this week.

Abigail 1:25
So for my first tidbit this week, I will be talking about a Lifetime movie that is set in Wilmington that is now out. Line Sisters is a thriller set in Wilmington, North Carolina, it's about four sorority sisters who went to Wilmington for a Black Greek weekend celebration, some strange stuff starts going down when the threat of the truth from a secret dating back 15 years ago, tries to come out. It is an hour and a half long and can be streamed on Amazon Prime and lifetime. I found this piece of news pretty interesting because I find it really strange when popular culture finds its or popular media finds its way into North Carolina. I usually think of when it does happen like the Outer Banks show or Nicholas Sparks but I found this one really intriguing because it's actually a thriller, which is very interesting.

Avery 2:21
That is really interesting. I haven't heard about this. But yeah, like you said, it's always exciting when North Carolina is featured in a movie or TV show. Even though without Outer Canks it didn't even film it here, #Fake. Oh my gosh, I can't believe I just said hashtag out loud. So cringe. Anyway, but yeah, that's really cool. I haven't heard about that. And excited to watch that. So I'm going to talk about a really cool organization here at NC State called Freedom by Design, and Freedom by Design is a club of architecture students who use their skills as design students to provide service to the community. And this club is under the American Institute of Architecture Students, and they're currently working on a playground for the Governor Moorhead School, which is a school for the visually impaired. And they've been working on this playground for a few years. They had some setbacks because of COVID, but they are still working on it. And it's really interesting because the current playground right now is actually pretty, not great for visually impaired children. There's slides and a swing set and swing sets are facing the slides, which apparently out of code according to Brooklyn Scotto, who is the co-president of the club, and whenever it rains, it floods their dorms because it doesn't have any drainage. There's literally no railings that let students know who have canes, where to walk. It's just not great. So they're working on it, and the estimated cost of building this new playground is they estimate $100,000. And they've received some money from a grant and from fundraising, but they are still looking to fundraise, and they have a GoFundMe, and you can find more information about them on the School of Design website. They're called Freedom by Design, and I think they're a really great organization, a bunch of students spending their, you know, free time to design something for these disabled children, so that's pretty awesome. And like I said, they're still looking for fundraising, and if you want to get involved, then you can, you know, check out their website. Also, if you want to learn more about this project, you can check out the technician website and read the article, where I talked to Drew Dunphy and Brooklyn Scotto who are both the co presidents of the organization.

Abigail 5:03
Yeah, I thought that project was really impressive being that it's like an NC State student club, not even I mean, I guess it is an organization, but like, usually when you hear the word club, you don't think of them doing like, giant, legitimate projects like that all the time. And so it's really fascinating that they're able to do such a big service for the community. It's very cool. The next tidbit I wanted to talk about was Raleigh pop-up markets, because since I've been at NC State, my favorite thing to do is go to all the little pop-up markets that they have. So the pop-up markets are these little events that are held around different locations in Raleigh, multiple small businesses, or vendors come and set up booths, where they sell all their little goodies, and kind of advertise their shops. Some are at nighttime, some are during the day, some are in the week, or in the weekends, and they're just like the funnest thing ever, and a great way to learn more about Raleigh or a great way to like support local businesses, which is a great time in my opinion. So my favorite way to find out about these markets are through Instagram, some of my favorite things to follow, there are Triangle Pop-Up, Pop-Up Raleigh, and the Raleigh Night Market, and then I also like to the RAL Today account is a news account, but they also tend to let you know when there's cute little markets popping up everywhere. I also like to follow the different vendors, once I've been to a market, any of the vendors that I like I like to follow them as well, because they will also let you know when they're going to be at a market and you can check it out. So yeah, 10 out of 10 experience for a cute little outing with friends.

Avery 6:55
That is really interesting to hear. My sister goes to UNCW, so every time I go to visit her in Wilmington, we usually go to pop up markets in Wilmington, and I always think they're so cool, and I don't know why it never occurred to me that like they probably exist in other places like, you know, Raleigh. So I'm definitely going to look into some of those accounts because I love a pop up market. We got to support small businesses, people, okay? Love to hear it. So the next tidbit I want to talk about is something that happened on Wednesday, February 16, the NC State Graduate Workers Organizing Committee, which is like the NC State grad student union, or the workers union, held a demonstration outside of Holiday Hall in protest of current working conditions and policies related to COVID-19. So the protesters were holding signs with messages that said, "Randy is not protecting the pack, he's protecting his wallet and endowment". Oop, that was crazy. And then other ones that say "NC State works, because we do", so this was a part of the Southern workers assembly had a statewide day of action and all of these demonstrations were protesting different COVID-19 policies and work conditions and they were calling for things like paid sick leave, employer provided M-95 masks and just better sanitary conditions in work, all that kind of stuff. And I think it was really interesting. Alex Wall who is a grad worker said that right now, if employees get exposed, they have some time that they are allowed to quarantine and wait for their test results, but if they actually test positive for COVID, they have to use their personal or their sick leave in order to like wait out their COVID, which is obviously they think that they shouldn't have to use their leave, their personal leave to quarantine when they feel like the university has put them into the conditions to catch COVID. So I just think that is something interesting that is happening on campus. I feel like you don't often hear about what's going on with the graduate students and different workers on campus, so it's good to kind of know where they're at and what they're feeling.

Abigail 9:28
Yeah, I definitely get that because they, most of them are teachers, right?

Yeah they're TAs.

Yeah. And I, I definitely get that because they're made to sit in a room full of students, and it kind of sucks that if they get sick, they can't really do anything about it. Or if they do they have to use up their own time. Yeah, I definitely get that. That's definitely interesting.

Avery 9:53
If you want to read more about this protest and some of the demonstrators reasons for protesting then you can also check out the technician article that was posted on Wednesday.

Abigail 10:06
For my final tidbit of the week, I also wanted to shout out an NC State, a technician article. So NC State recently received $16 million to invest in an e-sport infrastructure thing they are going to be creating an e-sport facility and truck. And it's kind of to advance the North Carolina Community around e-sports. I guess. The initiative I thought fits into NC State very well as computer science and like gamer science and Media Studies is kind of a big deal. I also know that NC State is also really big into like the VR stuff with like the libraries and communications media definitely is very invested in things like gamer and user experience and how that affects people on a personal level, so I think it's really interesting, and I'm excited to see where it goes.

Avery 11:09
I also thought this was really interesting, because I will be frank, I had no idea what e-sports meant before reading this article that Christina Grube did great on and I really thought e-sports was like, video games, sports, which it is, but I thought it was more like FIFA, that kind of deal. But in reality, other it's all I think it's other types of gaming, so or other types of games. So I think that's pretty cool. I think it's kind of random that like NC State is making a big e-sports thing, I mean, I think it's cool, because we have like a pretty great computer science program and stuff here, so when I did figure out what e-Sports actually meant, I was a little surprised that NC State received, like, however much money $60 million, but I think that's dope. Yeah. So my last tidbit for today is going to be the Van Gogh immersive experience that is coming to Raleigh in March. So I don't know if you guys see this all over Instagram all the time, also, but I see it on my Instagram, a lot like I get ads for it. And it was in Charlotte this past year, and now they're having one come to Raleigh as well. And this is basically a 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular, featuring two story projections of the artist's, Van Gogh's, most compelling works. And you can says you can encounter the brilliance of one of history's greatest artists in 360 degrees. So it's really cool. If you look up pictures of it looks like a really interesting experience. They project a bunch of Van Gogh pieces up onto walls and have this cool interactive experience. And they also have a virtual reality thing that it says it guides you through a 10 minute journey through a day in the life of the artist, walk alongside Van Gogh during this peaceful, visually rich journey to discover the inspiration behind eight of his iconic works. And to be honest, I always thought that this experience was kind of it looked cool, but I wasn't I was never sure if I wanted to actually go to it because it just looked like they were projecting, like paintings on the wall, which is cool, but this VR thing seems really cool, where you get to walk alongside Van Gogh, whatever that means. And kind of go through a day in the life of the artists, so I'm interested in that. And it says the visit takes around 60 to 75 minutes, it is going to be in a secret location in Raleigh, which is going to be announced soon. So keep your eyes peeled for that, and ticket prices start at $35 for adults and $20 for children, and like I said, I was never sure if I wanted to pay $35 and for some reason I always thought it was more expensive than that. But it does seem pretty cool. And I love Van Gogh, so I think I'm definitely going to go to this.

Abigail 14:10
Yeah, that sounds so freakin dreamy. Like honestly, if you need somebody to go with you.

Avery 14:15
Let's go.

Abigail 14:16
Let's go. Let's go sit in watch Van Gogh all day. That was That sounds like a great time. I would love to do that. But anyways, yeah, you guys check it out. That sounds like a great time. Well guys, that is all we have for you this week. We hope you enjoyed it. And thanks for having us. Again. This is Abigail and Avery and check us out next time. Bye.

Avery 14:40
Thanks for listening!

Jeanine Ikekhua 14:54
For this next segment, I, Jeanine Ikekhua, interviewed Isaac Lund, who was a junior Green Hill High School in Cary, North Carolina, I spoke to him about a nonprofit that he started with a group of other high schoolers called Service Speakers. This nonprofit provides free science lessons to over 3600 students, and so far over the past year, it has raised over $50,000 for the organization. Specifically, Isaac and I are gonna talk about how he started this organization and how he was able to raise so much money.

Isaac, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Isaac 15:29
Yeah, so well, first of all, thank you for having me on the show, it's always a pleasure to get the word out and talk about the things you've been doing a bit about myself so I'm a junior at Green Hill High School, which is based in Cary. You know, I've been at Green Hill for the past three years, I started this nonprofit called Service Speakers, like you're talking about my freshman year. This was a group of, you know, middle schoolers I went to, you know, I met went to middle school with them, and we decided to, you know, coming into high school start this program, in response to the educational deficiencies that we've noticed across North Carolina. So if you don't know in North Carolina is actually ranked between 35th to 50th, somewhere between there in terms of primary and elementary and middle school education, and so we understood these statistics, and we decided to sort of attack that the issue that we noticed by developing this free science program that provides free science lessons to students across the triangle. So last year, we actually provided it to over 3600 students through virtual learning, and this year, we decided to scale our projects a little bit further, to a group of under privileged Honduran students. It's actually a middle school that St. Michael's Church has been working with, and we decided to, you know, take some effort into raising electronics and funding to actually transform their whole educational experience by introducing them to technology.

Jeanine Ikekhua 16:51
So what is like the story behind why you started this organization? Because I know you talked about you, there was an educational gap that you felt needed to be filled, but like, what else was able what else happened that allows you to start that inspired you to start this organization?

Isaac 17:07
Yeah. So you know, this educational efficiency part is definitely a huge part of the narrative we were pushing for. But you know, I think at the root of all of it is actually my my dad's struggle with ALS for the past seven years, six, seven years now. So, you know, he's been struggling with this. And it's definitely taken a mental toll on me, and like I said, we did begin in middle school and the apex of when all of this sort of mental, these mental issues that were happening to me as a result of my dad's diagnosis, were during middle school, and, you know, going through these challenges, and ultimately transitioning to high school, I, you know, I just felt inspired and I wanted to overcome, you know, the barriers that I was facing, and that's when I decided to, you know, step up, and I looked at, you know, other role models across the community, and even across the world, just stories of other people going on and overcoming obstacles and doing great things. And I decided to use that as inspiration to, you know, overcome the issues associated with my dad's struggle, and I use that to launch my nonprofit and reflect that whole idea of how I was empowered to overcome any of these obstacles onto you know, any other students who if they're struggling with educational deficiencies, or if they're struggling during the pandemic, you know, any things of this nature, any obstacle they face, I wanted to sort of reflect the idea of, you know, being empowered and overcoming any obstacle you face just as I did with my dad's ALS.

Jeanine Ikekhua 18:26
So you launch this organization in middle school, right?

Isaac 18:30
So it was actually the beginning of my freshman year, so I think it was actually the summer before my freshman year. So it was, you know, somewhere in that area, yeah.

Jeanine Ikekhua 18:37
Okay, starting a nonprofit is an extremely huge task. And then having a nonprofit that has raised over like, $60,000 is like the next level of that. How were you able to launch this nonprofit?

Isaac 18:51
Yeah, so it's definitely I will say, this has definitely been a slow experience. Um, you know, just getting started, we were hoping just to do a few schools here and there just to help a few kids. I don't think we ever could have imagined that, you know, it was brought to the scale that it's currently, you know, we took baby steps, we started getting introduced to the, you know, the whole world of, especially in the triangle, there's a huge amount of support and businesses and other things going on, so I think it was the perfect place to start a nonprofit or to base one. And we found as we kept going, we gain more skills that allowed us to really, you know, reach the goals that we're hoping for, and even actually go beyond them, and do all these great things.

Jeanine Ikekhua 19:28
What kind of impact is Service Speakers able to make and it's community?

Isaac 19:33
So, you know, like I said, you know, last year, we actually provided our free science lessons across the triangle, I think, maybe even outside of the triangle, aross Wake County, to over 3600 students through our virtual science lessons. These are done to eight different elementary and middle schools, and you know, that was just one of the kids run their Google Meet and we would, you know, hop into those Google Meets and we provide, you know, a pretty neat science lesson and even even some of them we we provided materials to the kids, so over, you know, a delivery, so that way the students can have them, you know, while they're asynchronous, they can follow along with the activities. And we sort of guide them through the process, um, you know, and in addition to that, you know, triangle effort, like I said, we've also expanded and expanded it into Honduras, and in recent months, as well.

Jeanine Ikekhua 20:21
So the organization has been able to do a lot already, since it's been around. So I want to know, where do you see your nonprofit going, in a couple of years, like five years?

Isaac 20:33
Yeah, so that's definitely you know, as I'll have to speculation, I will say, at this current moment, you know, of course, Honduras, working on Honduras, and raising those electronic funding for the kids is definitely one of our main focuses right now, and getting that whole campaign wrapped up. But another thing that we're wanting to do is, you know, expand our original mission of teaching kids to overcome any obstacle that they face, even further, even across other states even. And this is all part of the whole idea of, you know, especially when the pandemic in the context of how everyone might be struggling, especially young ones, with their learning and how they've just had this huge educational gap that has been, you know, pretty, extremely devastated. We decided, you know, this is a pretty global issue of these kids of these obstacles that these people are facing, any way that we can spread, our mission would always be a great one so as far as how we're going to do that, at the current moment, we're hoping to start chapters across other states, like I said, at the moment, we've actually already had, I think, 20 and 25 chapters that have registered, expressing interest in getting started and starting, you know, like what we do here in the Triangle off to other states. So in five years, the idea is, you know, I'll go off to college, of course, but I'm hoping that we can keep this a freshly high school organization, because that's what it is. And high schools can bring that sort of, you know, that fresh idea of overcoming any obstacle that they face, you know, any students any, any people across our whole community, even if it's, you know, in far off places across other states,

Jeanine Ikekhua 22:01
Through the, like, amazing work that Service Speakers have done, they have been able to raise, you guys have been able to raise $60,000, which is a lot of money. So how, like, how did you raise that much money? Like, how were you able to do it?

Unknown Speaker 22:15
Yeah, so you know, just to sort of clarify the, you know, the $50,000. So $50,000 of it is, you know, the actual worth in electronics that we've raised, and then $10,000 in raw funding that we have, that's for, you know, refurbishing, packaging, things like that. All of course, you know, admittedly, equating the $60,000. So, as far as we did that, you know, it's definitely been a pretty tedious process, I will say, the main way we did it is we just took as many shots as possible, we reached out to as many people as possible, obviously, we're in the triangle, which, like I said, there's a huge amount of businesses and, and startups and things like that going on. So we found it was the perfect place, you know, to reach out to local organizations, see if they had any devices, you know, even just doing regular crowdsourcing on Next Door app, or reaching out to churches and things like that, and seeing if they can get the word out. And we found whether in a combination of both directly asking if organizations can donate, as well as asking if they can simply promote our program, we found that this was able to be the perfect amount to sort of secure the amount that we're looking for and even go beyond that, you know, and as far as one of our main donors, our most recent one is actually Wolfspeed, which is actually a company that was started at NC State, or from NC State graduates, and so they actually just very recently donated, I think, somewhere between 50 and 100 laptops to us, so they're really generous. So, you know, it's just examples like this, right? You just sort of reach out to as many organizations as possible. And, you know, eventually, the more you reach out to odds are at least one of them is going to, you know, want to support you. And that's how we were able to secure the amount that we did.

Jeanine Ikekhua 23:48
Specifically, how do you see your organization continuing to make a change in your community?

Isaac 23:54
Yeah certainly. So, you know, the whole idea of the whole root of our whole organization, like I said, is to empower kids to overcome any obstacle if we always try to express that, to them. Science is one of the greatest ways to do that. Because, you know, I'm a personal really, I'm personally a huge fan of science. You know, I think it's a really great way to captivate students interests, I think it's one of the most interesting subjects to study, and I think using that as sort of a medium to get students engaged in their learning. Again, I think it's a very powerful thing, so you know, at its root, continuing to keep students empowered, and overcoming any obstacles that we face, and teaching them to go out and do great things. I think that's what we're going to continue to drive and you know, as far as what that's going to look like, you know, it's hard. It's hard to speculate, but I'm only hoping that we're just going to keep expanding and keep doing what we're doing and hopefully reach as many kids as possible and convince as many as possible that they truly can do anything that they that they want to do and you know, they will face obstacles, but in the end, they can always overcome them. And that's one thing that we try to stress to all of our students

Jeanine Ikekhua 25:00
So I know you talked about, you give lessons, like you make engaging lessons for the students over like, online, you talked about, like the Google meet and everything. What are some other ways like you're able to like engage students?

Isaac 25:15
Yeah, so there's plenty of ways. So actually, just recently, you know, with a pandemic sort of dying down, and things sort of shifting back to normal. This year, we've actually sort of approaching a hybrid model. So we say that as it's both virtual as well as in person, obviously, you know, the full Hunduras project has been the main focus of this first school. But you know, as far as you know, teaching the students, the second semester and really getting started, and we're actually gonna be doing our first in person instruction. So we've partnered with various museums, such as Marble's Kids Museum, and we're going to be in the month of February, I believe we're starting, we're actually going to be like guests star scientists, and they're going to give us pretty good platforms to sort of present our lessons, and hopefully, we can, you know, bring our same mission that we have teaching science kids that we've done in virtual learning, so now in the in person learning, so it's going to be a pretty transformative experience, not only for students, but also for us, right? Because this is the first time ever doing in person. So we're really looking forward to seeing how that goes. But overall, that that's, that's how we're gonna be doing.

Jeanine Ikekhua 26:14
You mentioned your partnership with students in Honduras, and I want to know, like, how did that come to be? Because I feel like there's so many countries out there with students that you can help, like, why did you pick Honduras?

Isaac 26:26
Yeah, so it all came down to I've been a member of my local church, St. Michael, the Arch Angel, base here in Cary for I think, a decade now maybe even more than that, and they actually have a sister parish in Honduras, and it's, you know, it's in an area, that's where the students are very underprivileged schools. You know, it doesn't have all the the best conditions, the best resources that it can have. And, you know, just knowing this from an early age, about how St. Michael's has this program, I really knew about that. And I saw that as an opportunity to expand what we're doing here in North Carolina, to students that need it. And it wasn't so much about, you know, I just arbitrarily, you know, picked Honduras out of the blue, it's just, I knew that the resources and the avenue was already set up to support the Honduran students. And I felt like if I was going to help any students that were particularly underprivileged, this would be the greatest avenue to do that, or the most efficient, and most realistic way of doing it. So just knowing that that existed, I just decided to pursue it. And it's been great so far, and actually, we're planning our shipment of electronics and all the resources are actually going to be shipped out in the final week of February. So and throughout the month of February, we're going to be working on refurbishing, getting all the things set up, and in the final week of February, it's all going to be shipped on to the students.

Jeanine Ikekhua 27:43
So that the interview, it's been extremely evident that this organization is doing amazing things. So I want you to tell the audience, like what are some ways that they can support you?

Isaac 27:53
Yeah, so to support us, um, you know, of course, this campaign, as far as you know, donating to our campaign, I think, you know, it is already coming to a close and fortunately, very, you know, we're grateful that we have reached the goals that we're hoping for, and it will be an overall successful project as far as getting the electronics shipped over. But as far as the root of our organization, again, what we're trying to do is, you know, broaden our mission of empowering students and empowering people, no matter what conditions they face, and to support our initiative, you know, just any sort of monetary donation or even getting the word out if your kid likes science, or, you know, any kids that like science, and they want to participate in this program, you know, they can definitely reach out to us our website is, you know, www.servicespeakers.com, or you can just look up service speakers and it will show up. Yeah, and you know, you can send us an email, let us know that you're interested, and we can see if we can work something out, whether it's being partnering with a local museum, or even just partnering with your school as a whole, and then that way we can, you know, visit them in person. So, you know, anything like this, if you're interested, that's always a great way to support our initiative. And we're very, very grateful for any amount of help that we can get.

Jeanine Ikekhua 28:59
Thank you so much for letting me interview Isaac, it has been a pleasure.

Isaac 29:05
Well, thank you so much for having me again, this has been really great meeting with you. And I hope you know if there's anything anyone can get out of this, as you know, if you're ever facing any obstacles, especially in light of the pandemic, and things have been kind of gloomy lately, just know that you can overcome it, and you know, I faced this with my dad for several years here with his ALS, and, you know, it was a struggle at first, but I ultimately overcame it. And it was for the best I think, because it allowed me to reflect that same positivity and optimism to students all across the triangle on and I just hope that I can relay that same idea to any people listening out there.

Jeanine Ikekhua 29:37
Thank you for listening, and you can listen to more episodes at wknc.org/podcasts and you can also tune in every Sunday at 6pm to hear new Eye on the Triangle episodes. Music in this episode has been Newsroom provided by Kevin McClory and Deja Vu provided by Halsena.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai