PROJECT CONNECT reaches its 2021 Adopt a Ship targets

One of the best sustainability tools for the maritime industry, and hence endorsed by the IMO is “Adopt a Ship”, the maritime educational program for kids.
It has been a success story for Greece’s elementary schools since 2018 with the authorization by the Hellenic Ministry of Education, teachers, pupils and captains enthusiasm and strategic management by PROJECT CONNECT.
PROJECT CONNECT, the bridge that connects opportunities to young professionals-in-the making, reported reaching the 2021 targets for the program with the induction of the program in Jr High Schools in areas near Marine Academies, and 86 vessels connected to 112 classes nationwide.
Running for the 4th consecutive school year, 2500 pupils are learning for the first time the importance of the shipping industry, first hand by the captain and crew.
Educators are incorporating maritime knowledge into various lessons like geography, shipping history, English language, commerce, trade and vocations besides developing soft skills like empathy, caring for the key workers at sea.
PROJECT CONNECT hosted a virtual meeting with the AaS teachers from all over the country and the shipping companies managers and principles to discuss the amazing progress of the program in Elementary & Jr. High Schools in November of 2021 and the unanimous request was “give us more vessels and make it permanent in the school’s system”.   This is in the plans for 2022 and PROJECT CONNECT is conducting a membership drive to reach the goal of 100 shipping companies (currently at 37 shipping companies) and 200 vessels that will cover the new wave of school applications estimated for school year 2022-23.  PROJECT CONNECT provides an expert Educator Consultant who guides the teachers and then evaluates the program annually, for improvement.
The program seems to be inspiring children to pursue careers in shipping when they grow up.  According to the recent study of 478 grade school pupils surveyed, some aspire to be like their new role models, the Captains and diversity rules – 98% said women can be captains.
Not only are children being inspired. It seems captains and crew are happier.  During this pandemic where they are closed in, receiving an e-mail message from a 5th grade class of happy pupils lifts their spirits. One Captain sent PROJECT CONNECT this comment in a recent message:
“What you are doing is very noble and the children of Greece are very fortunate… looking after a well-rounded development of the young who will be the pillars someday. From our point you have opened up a whole new meaning to the word “Bridge”, giving us a deeper human view of the land and the people responsible for the world’s biggest shipping fleet. With all the challenges and disappointments of the world that encourages maintaining distance, you bring us closer.
Best Regards,
Capt. Antonio T. Ramos, Jr.
Master, PROTEUS, EMPIRE NAVIGATION
Images: Happy Ships drawn by “future naval architects” of the 3rd grade school of Karlas Kanalion and 6th grade of School of Florina

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