Trending March 2024 # Best Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Doting Mom And Dearest Dad # Suggested April 2024 # Top 7 Popular

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Best Christmas gift ideas for your doting mom and dearest dad

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The yuletide season is here and shopping has already reached frenzied proportions. Also, your mom and dad are easily among the most important persons you might be shopping for.

Christmas gifts for tech savvy mom 1. Echo Dot

The diminutive size can be a distraction but the Alexa enabled device can have answers to almost all your queries in no time. Your mom will love to have one in your kitchen too where the Dot can keep her updated with the latest events, news, weather updates, reminders or even search for recipes.

2. Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug, White

To have someone prepare a hot cup of coffee for your mom when she needs it the most can be the best thing she would ever like. The Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug does just that.

In fact, you can also get the device to warm up your drink to your preference via the Ember app itself. No doubt your mother will appreciate your gesture if you gift her one.

— RELATED: 6 Christmas sweaters and jumpers to get for your geek friends

3. Ovente 8.5-inch Dual-Sided LED Lighted Makeup Mirror

The dual sided LED lighted mirror offers three light tones – cool, warm and natural daylight so that your mom can perfect her makeup for almost all lighting conditions.

Further, there is 1x and 5x magnification feature as well to ensure she gets her makeup done perfectly. And it’s quite a looker too.

4. Etekcity 8 Heated Rollers Shiatsu Back Neck Massager

Who wouldn’t like to have their neck and shoulder massaged, particularly after a hard day at work. And the one person in your house that qualifies for a massage the most is your mom. The Etekcity 8 Heated Rollers does that job perfectly so that she feels relaxed and rejuvenated in no time.

5. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Expert tip:

Christmas gifts for tech savvy dad 1. Amazon Cloud Cam Security Camera

The cam comes with night vision and will warn you if its senses suspicious activity. It is Alexa enabled too, which means you can ask it to show live feed on any supported device and it will happily oblige.

2. Nest Learning Thermostat, 2nd Generation

— RELATED: 23 best Windows tablets to get this Christmas

3. DJI Spark Portable Mini Drone 4. DOSS SoundBox Bluetooth Speaker

It’s a portable Bluetooth speaker that’s easy to carry around but is still capable of belting out 12W of HD sound and Bold Bass effects. It can be easily connected to the phone or tablet, which means the speaker can liven up any gathering just about anywhere. It’s for the dad who loves to party and is a music buff.

5. Garmin vívoactive 3

If your dad is a fitness freak or needs constant supervision, the Garmin vívoactive 3 can do the job with perfect elan. Apart from fitness tracking, heart rate monitoring or keeping you updated with news and other info, you can even make your payment using the Garmin watch. No doubt the perfect gift for the tech-savvy dad.

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Best Gift Ideas For Your Coworkers

Best Bluetooth Speakers of 2023

While we don’t expect the sound quality to be as good as more expensive Bluetooth waterproof speakers, it should still be a lot better than listening to a podcast directly from a smartphone, and it even has a decent battery life of up to 8 hours on a single charge. Amazon is currently selling the Amazon Basics Shockproof and Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Speaker for $14.99.

Logitech bluetooth mouse M557

If you work in an office, it’s likely that you and the rest of your coworkers have to use a Windows or Mac desktop. It’s also likely that you have to use an old-fashioned wired mouse with that PC. Your coworker would likely love a Bluetooth wireless mouse, and this model from Logitech is a good choice. It’s small and is also 

ambidextrous in design, which means it will work for either your leftie or righty office mate. The battery life in this mouse should also last for up to a year, which means your coworker should get a lot of work out of it before switching out batteries. It’s a bit pricey at $30.23 on Amazon, but considering how much your coworkers use PCs, it’s well worth it.

Anker bluetooth ultra-slim keyboard

Anker Bluetooth Ultra-Slim Keyboard is a perfect gift for coworkers who need such a device to do a lot of their tasks while on the road with their phone. It’s thin and lightweight, and it include special shortcut keys for not only Android devices, but also iOS, Windows, and Mac products. It should also last a while on battery power, with up to three months of use 

(based on two hours use per day). At $16.99 on Amazon, this is a great gift for coworkers who are always travelling and working.

Smartphones are basically mini-computers, but they can be hard to do work on with their relatively small touchscreens. Sometimes its faster to use a physical keyboard. The

AUKEY car phone mount

Here’s a gift for a coworker that’s not only dirt cheap but incredibly useful for people who use smartphones in their car. The AUKEY Car Phone Mount attaches to a car’s dashboard vent and then it uses four magnets on the front so your office mate’s phone can securely attach to it. It comes with both a circular disc for smaller phones and a larger rectangular form factor for the increasingly more popular larger phones. At just $7.99, your coworker will likely get a lot of benefits from this gift if he or she does a lot of commuting every day.

SanDisk CZ48 128GB USB 3.0 flash memory drive

Sometimes when you are working on your PC in your office, you need to continue your work at home. However, that also means you will need to transfer files from your work to home PC, and some of those files could be pretty sizeable. You could store them in a cloud server, and then connect at home, but sometimes the amount of cloud space you get for free isn’t enough. The SanDisk CZ48 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Memory Drive should solve this issue for your coworkers. Its large amount of storage space should be enough for most any major files he or she might use.

Also, if the home PC has a USB 3.0 port, transfer speeds should be up to 10 times faster than using the older 2.0 version. Finally, the flash drive comes with SanDisk SecureAccess software, which provides 128-bit AES encryption and password protection, just in case you need to keep those files secure. Amazon is selling it now for $34.97

Photive BTH3 over-the-ear wireless bluetooth headphones

There is no doubt that you could spend a ton of money for high-quality headphones for your coworker. However, you don’t really need to spend hundreds of dollars to get solid headphones for your office mate. The Photive BTH3 Over-The-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones provide an excellent sound experience, and they don’t cost an arm or a leg.

Photive BTH3 review at SoundGuys

Not only do these headphones offer excellent sound, they are also pretty conformable to wear for hours. The battery life is also exceptional, with up to 12 hours of playtime on a single charge, and it takes just two hours to fully charge it up. Both ear cups contain buttons to control the playback of music, so your friend shouldn’t have any issues in that department. A hard travel case is included for keeping them safe during trips. At the price of $39.95, this is a perfect gift for a coworker that also loves to listen to music or podcasts, at work or at home.

Philips wake-up light and alarm clock

We have all been there; we have set our alarm clocks to go off at a certain time when we need to get up to start our day, but sometimes (especially in the fall and winter months) it’s still dark outside when we have to get up. The instinct is to go back to bed until the sun rises, but then we risk getting up late for work. The Philips Wake-up Light and Alarm Clock is a high-tech solution to this problem. In addition to its standard alarm clock sounds, it also has an embedded light that’s designed to simulate the sunrise coming out from a nearby window.

The light starts to slowly turn on its brightness about 30 minutes before your requested alarm time. The idea is that when the alarm does come on, you should feel more refreshed because the light is already in your room. The light can also double as a bedside reading lamp and has 10 different brightness settings. This is a perfect gift for a coworker, or even yourself, who has trouble getting up in the morning.  Amazon is currently selling it for $39.99 with an instant $10 digital coupon.

Laboratory beaker coffee mug

Our final gift suggestion might be considered at first to be a “gag gift”. However, the truth is that one or more of your coworkers are addicted to the office coffee blend in the morning. Instead of a normal ceramic coffee mug, they might appreciate drinking their morning joe from something a bit different. This glass mug is made to look like a laboratory beaker from your old high school science room. It even has the correct measuring lines on the front.

This coffee mug is perfect for your tech coworker who wants a little retro science in his or her life. Hey, coffee is just a bunch of different chemicals coming together anyway, so why not celebrate that at work with this beaker mug? Amazon is selling it for $11.95.

Trending Ideas And Use Cases For Gpt

What Are Open AI and GPT-3?

Before we will find out how to use Open AI, let’s draw a clear line between OpenAI and GPT-3 since these two terms are often mixed up.

OpenAI is a research company that is engaged in studying the capabilities of artificial intelligence and looking for ways to use it for the benefit of humanity. The project was created by Elon Musk and other innovative entrepreneurs. The core mission of the organization is to develop such practices and approaches to artificial intelligence that will help coping with modern challenges (like data hacking, for example), and at the same time, prevent other companies and research institutes from using AI for malicious purposes.

GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), in turn, is a quite powerful machine learning algorithm that is shared via API, and enables developers to use it in their smart models programming. To date, GPT-3 is one of the smartest ML algorithms. It is capable of solving such tasks that just a few years ago, could be solved exclusively by a human. In some cases, the skills of the model go beyond the ones of the human, making it quite a demanded tool in AI powered project development.

GPT-3 Possible Use Cases

What can you do with GPT-3? Below are some use cases that you may take for your project inspiration and user experience boost.

Text writing and storytelling. The times when artificial intelligence learns to create engaging interesting texts and stories is not that far off – it is already here. For example, The Guardian has already published a text generated by GPT-3. And here is a Better Writer project  – a Grammarly like tool that is able to suggest content generation ideas as well.

Translation. This is one of the most powerful features of the GPT-3 model. While machine translation isn’t an innovation, most of the translations apps and websites still require human check to edit generated texts. But this is not the case with GPT-3 since this tool learns from the previous experience, catches the context, and generates the most accurate translation an ML algorithm is capable of.

What Kind of Apps This Technology Is Suitable For?

Considering such an impressive list of use cases, GPT-3 startups will be able to develop quite a lot of creative and useful ideas to use GPT-3 in their projects. To date, this technology seems to be the most promising for the solutions from the following industries:

Related: Top 7 services in demand for internet users.

GPT-3 Possible Pitfalls

Despite innovative potential and the product ideas compilation for OpenAI’s GPT-3 that can be continued, there are still some concerns about its effective and seamless usage.

GPT-3 can make mistakes. GPT-3 can sometimes have logic problems and make mistakes. And this is either the result of a programming loophole, or artificial intelligence has already learned one clearly human quality – the system does not want to admit that it does not know something or is mistaken. For example, GPT-3 repeatedly gave wrong answers to the trick questions from American history, claiming that certain individuals were presidents during a certain period.

GPT-3 can generate offensive content. In addition to some of its logic flaws, the algorithm can also generate offensive content, especially on controversial topics like politics or religion. Therefore, if you plan to use it in these or related directions, it is better to control the AI work with the help of the human mind.

GPT-3 is hardly predictable. The main concern regarding the capabilities of artificial intelligence also did not bypass GPT-3. Already, the system has gained enough power to make the consequences of its use difficult to predict.

How to Use GPT-3 in Your Product?

However, in the hands of a responsible entrepreneur, the technology can deliver ultimate benefit and value. Here is how to use Open AI models for your startup development.

Develop your startup idea and validate it – If you aren’t going to use GPT-3 for your idea generation, then you should come up with it on your own and validate it with the help of market overview, target audience and competitors research, the proof of concepts, user acceptance testing, and focus group surveys.

Decide on the task GPT-3 will solve for your project – The next step is to decide what task will GPT-3 perform in your project, and most importantly, how it will bring some novelty to the user experience. Try to employ your creativity, have one more look at the technology’s features and opportunities, and being guided by your research, come up with something new and valuable.

GPT-3 Projects

Request Open AI API – Since the technology is quite demanded, you will join a waitlist after leaving your request. So, use this time for some more research, validation, and creativity boost. Also, find out Open AI pricing models to choose the one that suits your project needs.

Integrate it into your MVP and test it – This is quite a standard step in LEAN-supported software development. Before investing in a full-fledged solution, test your MVP with your future users, use their positive response as proof for fundraising and keep the gained insights in mind at the next stage.

Extend your features – At this stage, you will be able to turn your MVP into a full-fledged AI-powered software. However, keep in mind the possible pitfalls we’ve mentioned and don’t let them spoil your users’ experience.

Conclusion

Using an Open AI solution for your tech project can be quite a promising development strategy. However, make sure to use it wisely, staying compliant with the core company’s mission – create AI solutions that benefit humanity and streamline its progress.

9To5Mac’s Iphone Holiday Gift Guide: Best Picks For Every Budget

Welcome to 9to5Mac’s iPhone Holiday Gift Guide. Bookmark it or send it to your favorite people, because either you or someone you care about is going to find the ideal iPhone holiday gift inside!

I’m genuinely excited to present this collection to you, because the iPhone is the one Apple product I take everywhere — and couldn’t give up. Since I’ve been using iPhones and their accessories since the first iPhone debuted in 2007, I have a lot of experience sorting the good and great stuff out from the junk.

My iPhone Holiday Gift Guide picks are all best-of-breed options, selected for their combination of reasonable pricing and excellent performance. Whether you’re looking for the perfect case, great headphones, a smart car mounting solution, a battery pack, or a way to improve your iPhone’s camera, you’ll find the smartest iPhone gift picks below…

Cases

Over the years, I’ve become highly partial to a specific iPhone case, because every version has successfully kept my iPhones free of dents and shattered glass. That case is Speck’s CandyShell, and the just-released CandyShell Clear ($35-$40) is the best version the company has ever made. Still built with a hard plastic outside and a soft TPU inner layer, CandyShell makes iPhone insertion and removal super easy, while completely protecting any model against drops. The Clear version is the first one to let your iPhone’s color shine through, and I’ve been using and loving it for months. Consider it the best investment you can make in a practical iPhone case.

The only other case I would recommend as a “more protective” alternative would be Lifeproof’s Frē ($70-$80), and then only if you need waterproofing. Frē is around twice the price of a CandyShell, but if you’re concerned about dropping your iPhone in a pool, ocean, bathtub, or snowpile, it offers additional screen and port protection that will keep your iPhone alive.

Car Accessories

The one car accessory that has become a major part of my daily life is Spigen’s inexpensive Magnetic Air Vent Mount ($9). It includes a strong, circular magnet that attaches to your car’s air vent, plus circular and rounded rectangular metal plates that can be attached to any iPhone case. (If they fit inside the case, great; if not, they have adhesive to attach to the back of the case.) Mounting your iPhone in your car becomes a 1-second process, as easy as touching it to the magnet; GPS still works, too. Spigen makes a very basic case called Thin Fit Hybrid ($14, shown in pink above) with an internal slot to hide the metal plate; I keep the metal plate inside a CandyShell, instead.

Car chargers are a dime a dozen now, but some are better than others. I continue to use and like Just Mobile’s aluminum-barrelled Highway Max ($27-$34) as a dual-port car charger, though I’ve recently been alternating it with Nomad’s unique combination battery pack and car charger Roadtrip ($60). Highway Max has twin 2.1A ports that can charge any iPhone or iPad; Roadtrip has twin 1.5A ports and a 3000mAh battery that are best-suited to iPhone use.

Batteries + Battery Cases

I spent a great deal of time this year compiling a comprehensive guide to the best iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus battery cases, most of which remain compatible with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. But the short “what’s best?” answer when it comes to batteries is “pretty much anything from Anker.” Anker’s Ultra-Slim Extended Battery Case for iPhone 6/6s is only $40 and delivers an over 110% recharge to either of those models with a 2,850mAh battery. Most of the iPhone 6 Plus battery cases out there have issues of one sort or another, but Tylt’s Energi ($80) and Mophie’s Juice Pack ($88-$100) are options; I’d suggest looking below instead.

You can save a lot of money if you don’t need to keep a battery strapped to the back of your iPhone all the time, and as with battery cases, Anker’s standalone batteries have come to lead the industry in quality, capacity, and value for the dollar. The PowerCore 20100 ($40, shown above) offers 7 times the capacity of the Ultra-Slim Case for the same price, while the larger $60 Astro E7 (reviewed here) offers nearly 9.5 times the capacity for $20 more. Either of them can charge an iPhone many times, with juice left over to charge an iPad.

Headphones + Speakers

9to5Mac’s readers love Apple’s products, so it’s no surprise that the latest Beats Studio Wireless (shown above in “titanium”) over-ear headphones and Beats Solo2 on-ear headphones top my list of recommendations. Over the last year or so, Beats have improved in audio quality and become available at more reasonable prices, particularly through chúng tôi I grabbed a pair of Studio Wireless when they dropped to $270 (down from $350), and the smaller, more basic wired Solo2 now starts at $130 (down from $200). If you’re looking for an Apple-built speaker, the new Beats Pill Plus can be had for under $240; the smaller Pill 2.0 now goes for $150.

If you want to step beyond Apple’s glossy plastic designs, Bowers & Wilkins offers truly luxurious headphones and speakers with higher-end sonics and materials. I’m personally a huge fan of the $400 P5 Wireless on-ear Bluetooth headphones (shown left, reviewed here), which are also available in a wired version called P5 S2 for $100 less. My favorite pair of in-ear headphones is B&W’s $179 model C5 S2 (shown center), which have the best ear stabilizers I’ve tested, and lush, detailed sound. On the speaker front, I just reviewed the company’s new Zeppelin Wireless ($700), which is a powerhouse all-in-one audio system with Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Spotify support — ridiculously powerful, sonically balanced, and aesthetically distinctive. It’s the priciest iPhone-related gift on this list, but worth the cost.

Chargers + Cables

High-quality iPhone wall chargers have come down in price and surged in power over the last year, making it difficult to recommend spending more for mere cosmetic improvements. Anker currently dominates the charging category with excellent options ranging from two to ten ports: for $40, the 10-port PowerPort 10 (shown above, reviewed here) can charge an entire household’s devices at once, though I personally use the more compact 6-port, $36 PowerPort 6 (reviewed here). Pair them with Anker’s surprisingly high-quality $6 Lightning cables, and you’re set to go. If you only need a two-port charger, RAVPower’s $10 Dual USB Wall Charger isn’t fancy, but works well to charge two iPhones (or even iPad Pros) at once.

Portable Video Projectors or Apple TVs

Apple made iPhone screens a lot easier to see with the introduction of 4.7″ and 5.5″ iPhone 6/6 Plus models last year, but if you want to share presentations or videos so everyone can see them, portable projectors or Apple TVs with AirPlay support are a great option. The best portable projectors I’ve covered this year are Sony’s tiny, $350 MP-CL1 (reviewed here, shown above left), which is small enough to fit in a pocket but creates a big-screen HD image, and AAXA’s $450 P700 (reviewed here, shown above right), using an iPad mini-sized footprint to perform videos and audio at 4X the power. Each has a battery and does a remarkable job of projecting video given its size.

The alternative, of course, is to stream your iPhone’s content to an HDTV using AirPlay — for that, you’ll need an Apple TV. Even the 3rd-generation Apple TV ($65 with free expedited shipping) includes AirPlay support, but the just-released 4th-generation Apple TV ($149 with free expedited shipping) adds apps, games, and Siri Remote voice control. Go with the one that fits your budget; I love the newer model.

Apple Watch

While the topic of Apple Watch accessories is worth a whole separate holiday gift guide, it’s worth mentioning that the Apple Watch itself ($349 and up) is expected to be one of the most popular gifts this year, and since it requires an iPhone, it’s technically an iPhone accessory. You can save $50 on any Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport here; check out my guide to the best Apple Watch stands and docks, too (including Nomad’s Stand, shown above).

Apps

Photography Accessories

My 9to5Mac Holiday Gift Guide for Apple Photographers includes a ton of photo and video options for Apple users generally, including a bunch of iPhone-specific accessories. The ones that could make the most difference to you are Olloclip’s 4-in-1 Lenses, Eyefi’s Wi-Fi SD card Mobi, and extenders such as Spigen’s S520 Selfie Stick or Tiffen’s Steadicam Smoothee (shown above). Check out the entire Photography Gift Guide here!

Which iPhone To Buy, And iPhone Trade-Ins

If you’re shopping for an iPhone as a holiday gift, the question of which iPhone to buy isn’t a simple one, but after wrestling with the same choice a few months ago, I’m going to offer an answer. Controversial though this may be, I don’t think the differences between the iPhone 6 and 6s models are important enough (yet) to matter to most people. I personally upgraded from an iPhone 6 Plus to an iPhone 6s Plus, but in retrospect, I could easily have held off, and saved myself some money in the process. As compelling as they may be, features such as 3D Touch and Live Photos still need more third-party support.

As long as you’re not buying a 16GB model — it’s just too little capacity — you can’t really go wrong with any of the iPhone 6, 6s, or Plus models. I would suggest the 4.7″ 6 or 6s if the idea of having a “slightly too big” iPhone in your pocket or hand bothers you — even people who love the 5.5″ model’s screen concede that the device could stand to be a little more compact, tolerating the large size for the bigger display. Only go with an “s” model if you’re a photographer who appreciates the superior front and rear cameras, or if you’re hoping to record 4K videos. Otherwise, the regular 6 and 6 Plus are great, and will save you money.

Last but not least, if you’re looking for a way to raise cash to fund a new iPhone or gift purchase, I’ve put together a guide to trading-in your old iPhone for a new iPhone. The TL;DR version: unless you feel comfortable using Craigslist for a local transaction, save yourself the numerous hassles of online sales and go with Gazelle. You might get a little more from online auction sites, but between flakey buyers, transaction and listing fees, and the need to create and maintain listings, the dollars won’t matter as much as the peace-of-mind you get from just sending your iPhone in and getting guaranteed cash back.

More From This Author

Check out more of my editorials, How-To guides and reviews for 9to5Mac here! I’ve published a lot of different topics of interest to Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch users, as well as an earlier holiday gift guide for Apple photographers.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Some Raskog Cart Ideas For Organizing Crafts And Hobbies

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Last week was my daughter’s birthday. What do you get for a kid whose birthday is weeks after Christmas? Especially when she doesn’t play with very many toys anymore.

But, she does love art! So I made her an art cart and of course that meant buying an IKEA Raskog utility cart.

This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

And if you’re going to trek out to IKEA to buy one Raskog cart, you should buy yourself one too! So today, I’m sharing 2 raskog cart ideas for organizing our hobbies.

You might also like this IKEA utility cart turned Cricut storage!

About the Raskog Cart

The IKEA raskog is well loved on Pinterest, but did you know that it only comes in sucky colors now? Brown, cream and dark gray. What happened to the aqua? So my carts will be spray painted as soon as we get warmer temps. I chose cream because it will be easier to spray paint over.

Assembling the IKEA raskog was pretty easy. There were no allen wrenches involved, so that’s a first in IKEA history. Each cart took about 30 minutes to complete. I give it 2 out of 5 question marks over the IKEA stick figure with a sad face (you know the one.)

Raskog Cart Ideas for Hobbies Raskog Cart Ideas: Art Cart

Like a dream come true, right? I would have loved a gift like this when I was a kid!

The top rack was made even better with the addition of Sunnersta container for storing small supplies. Now paint brushes, scissors, colored pencils and washi tape can have their own compartment. Seriously, these containers are less than $1 a piece, so you should buy like 20 of them! The top rack holds watercolors and a sketchbook. She can add her markers to this area as well.

The second rack holds fancy paper, sticker packs and art journals. The stickers were probably the biggest hit!

The bottom holds a small pack of construction paper and the biggest pack of construction paper ever! Thanks Costco!!

Raskog Cart Ideas: Planner Cart

And now for my planner cart. No more filling my coffee table with planners and notebooks! Now I have a roll-y cart! I’ve been working in my craft room lately, so I can roll this close to my desk for easy access. But if I want to work on the couch again, it will easily roll to the living room.

I also used a few Sunnersta containers. One holds pens and a sketch pad and the other holds washi tape. The top rack of the shelf holds a disc hole punch, smaller paper inserts and the mini Happy Planner.

The next layer holds a paper cutter (similar), another planner and more inserts and special printer paper.

The bottom rack holds my xyron sticker maker, laminate refills and my wacom tablet.

Other Ideas for a Raskog Cart

Makeup or nail polish storage

Plant stand

Baking (or other kitchen related) storage

Bar cart

Cleaning caddy

Guest room storage (extra towels, books, toiletries for guests)

Bathroom storage

Office supplies

Pantry storage

Other craft storage (knitting or sewing)

Kid’s toys

Books

Baby diapers and clothes

As a night stand or side table

Emy is a vintage obsessed mama of 2 DIYer who loves sharing affordable solutions for common home problems. You don’t need a giant budget to create a lovely home. Read more…

Bringing Mom Back To School

Bringing Mom Back to School New MET scholarship gives Boston and Chelsea parents a second chance

JoAn Blake (MET’11) (left) and Camille Lungelow (MET’11) are the first recipients of Metropolitan College’s Scholarship for Parents. The scholarship is awarded to parents who have children enrolled in the Boston or Chelsea public schools; it pays for half of the recipient’s tuition. Photograph by Jessica Hill

Some days, when JoAn Blake is rushing to class, a messenger bag loaded with textbooks slung casually over her shoulder, she glances across the Boston University campus and thinks, I can’t believe I’m here.

A 40-year-old mother of three, Blake (MET’11) is twice the age of the average BU student, and her path to the University has been less conventional than most. Three years ago, Blake buried her eldest child, and when she “finally awoke from the haze of pain and grief,” she says, she decided the best way to honor her daughter was to return to school herself.

Thanks to a new scholarship offered by Metropolitan College, Blake is making good on her promise. She is one of the first two winners of the Scholarship for Parents, which is awarded to parents who have children enrolled in the Boston or Chelsea public schools and pays for half their tuition for however many years it takes the recipients to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“We are thrilled to offer such a substantial scholarship to Boston-area families,” says Jay Halfond, dean of MET. “It is our hope that the public school students follow in their parents’ footsteps and pursue their education through college and beyond, perhaps even at Boston University.”

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least six college credits from a different school and a 3.0 or higher grade point average. Recipients may enroll in any of MET’s 15 on-campus bachelor’s degree programs. “The scholarship is quite unique,” says Katherine Meyer, MET’s community programs manager. “While there are many scholarship programs that target underprivileged youths, I’m unaware of any that reach out to parents.” While only 2 have been awarded thus far, Meyer says that eventually MET will give up to 10 scholarships annually.

Blake never expected to be able to attend BU. The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, she and her family settled in Dorchester in 1974 — the year a federal judge ordered the desegregation of Boston’s public schools. She gave birth to her daughter, Shaina, during her senior year in high school. Blake enrolled in Northeastern University, but dropped out after only one year. “Having an infant and being in school was just too much,” she says.

Over the next decade, Blake married, divorced, and had three more children: Charles, now 17, and 14-year-old twins Ryan and Renecia. But in 1997, her life began to unravel. Doctors diagnosed Shaina with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that primarily affects children and teenagers, and Blake was told that Shaina had six months to live.

But Shaina proved everyone wrong. Thanks to an experimental treatment, her cancer went into remission, and she earned a black belt in karate, joined the cheerleading squad, and graduated from Trinity Catholic High School in Newton, Mass. She was a sophomore at Mount Ida College when she died in a car accident.

For years, Blake juggled two jobs — waitressing and personal training — to support her family. But after losing Shaina, she enrolled at Roxbury Community College to study biological science. “Clinical research saved my daughter’s life, and she went to college to help children like herself,” she says. “I vowed that I would continue what she started.”

Last winter, Blake’s fiancé heard about the Metropolitan College scholarship. “He said, ‘Finish what you’ve started, and apply for this,’” she recalls. Although she already had 46 credits and a 3.9 grade point average at RCC, Blake hesitated. “I remember thinking to myself, people like me, they don’t go to BU,” she says.

As she speaks, Blake absently clutches her keychain — a woven replica of the Jamaican flag made by Renecia. “But then I thought, burying your child is the worst thing in the world,” she says, a catch in her voice. “And I did that. So I know that there’s nothing that I can’t do.”

Blake enrolled in MET’s biomedical laboratory and clinical sciences degree program and began taking classes in January. She’s taking a full load — three courses a semester — and she’s determined to deliver a valedictorian speech in 2011. “I have no regrets,” she says. “The doctors said Shaina had only six months, and I had her for nine more years. Life is for the living, and my daughter lived. So I owe it to her to live, too.”

Camille Lungelow (MET’11), the second Scholarship for Parents recipient, is a 28-year-old single mother of two. She learned about the scholarship from a flier given out at a book bag drive at Roxbury’s Shelbourne Community Center. At the time, she had a small cosmetology business and was taking evening psychology classes at Cambridge College.

One of 11 children, Lungelow grew up in Dorchester and Roxbury. She was a gifted athlete who once dreamed of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic track and field team. Instead, she graduated from high school, took a temp job, and had two children. “I always thought that BU was far beyond my reach,” she says. “But when I read that flier, I felt just like Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka. It was my golden ticket.”

In January, Lungelow transferred to BU and enrolled in MET’s psychology degree program. Balancing school, motherhood, and a full-time job is challenging, but she is determined to graduate at the top of her class. “I’ve been through some really hard times,” she says. “But I’m in a good place now, and I feel I can take on more. I tend to put a lot on my plate, and people always say, ‘You’ll never eat all of that.’ But I do, and then I go back for dessert.”

For Lungelow, dessert will be a master’s degree — and possibly a doctorate as well. “I’m going to be the first Dr. Lungelow in my family,” she says.

Once she graduates, Lungelow intends to work in the neighborhoods of her youth. “There are a lot of problems in Dorchester and Roxbury,” she says. “And I want to fix the problems in my own community before I go anywhere else.”

Several weeks ago, Lungelow brought her sons, Ameer, 7, and Qadir, 5, to campus and pointed out the Free at Last sculpture in Marsh Plaza. “I told them that sculpture is dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr.,” she says. “I said, ‘Mommy goes to the same school as Dr. King.’”

And like King (GRS’55, Hon.’59), Lungelow has big dreams. “I’m not just reaching for the stars,” she says. “I’m reaching for the galaxy beyond.”

Vicky Waltz can be reached at [email protected].

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