In October, the Oceanhouse Media team celebrated the end of our third quarter with a team-building challenge at the UCSD Ropes Course in La Jolla, CA. We unanimously walked away from the experience feeling happy, inspired, and most importantly, trusting of one another as a unified team. For the end of quarter four, we opted to celebrate by giving back to our community and making a difference in the lives of others. Healthy and nutritious food is important to all of us at Oceanhouse Media, so we decided to volunteer as a team at Feeding America San Diego (FASD), the largest hunger-relief organization in the county.
We arrived at the FASD distribution center- a 50,000 square foot warehouse in Sorrento Valley- in the morning where we were greeted by our very friendly and enthusiastic volunteer coordinator Theresa, who was fittingly wearing a t-shirt that said “I believe in helping others”. Before getting started, she shared some striking statistics with us that helped put the day’s work into perspective:
-15% of the people in San Diego County are food insecure, meaning they do not always know where their next meal will come from. -1 in 4 children in San Diego are at risk of hunger. -Nearly half the people served by FASD are under the age of 18. -FASD feeds 73,000 children, families and seniors in need each week.
FASD seeks to alleviate hunger in the county by distributing nutritious food items directly into the hands of local students and their families. Because families with a limited budget are often forced to buy cheap, unhealthy food that increases their chances of developing long-term health problems (diabetes, obesity and heart disease), FASD is committed to providing fresh, healthy food by partnering with more than 160 local grocery stores and retailers to claim an average of 800,000 pounds of food each month- this also helps eliminate food waste because 60% of food that would have been thrown away is still edible, nutritious, and delicious!
We helped out with the School Pantry program, which provides nutritious food for low-income students and their families to take home. This program alone serves more than 1,500 children and families in San Diego each month! Our task was to glean (a fancy word for “sort”) through massive boxes of fruits and vegetables to discard any items at the end of their shelf life. After Theresa explained the process, we split into two groups and got to work!
“It is staggering to know that 1 in 4 children in San Diego are not sure where their next meal will come from. Volunteering at Feeding America was simple, easy and very rewarding.” – Greg U.
The “lucky” group started by gleaning a box of oranges, followed by fresh, organic broccoli that looked quite appetizing. The “not-so-lucky” group got to sort through slightly suspicious potato boxes- proving that it is possible to bond while elbow-deep in taters!
For the next few hours we worked in our teams to glean 4,000 pounds of fresh produce for distribution to students through the School Pantry program. The best part was we had a blast doing it!
“It was great to work as a team with OM members! I always enjoy offering my time to help those in need, but working together to do so felt even more rewarding.” – Haley O.
The volume of food the FASD sorts and distributes on a daily basis is mind-boggling- they even had 1,400 pound box of carrots (that’s A LOT of carrots)! FASD depends solely on philanthropic and community support for its mission, so volunteers are essential in making sure those in need have access to quality food. We especially enjoyed sharing the warehouse with a group of young school children who were oh-so carefully bagging sweet potatoes near our station!
“Feeding America has created a great opportunity for community members to get involved and help people receive vital fruits and vegetables. As a member of the Oceanhouse team, I am glad we all got a chance to contribute to their high demand of food packaging needs.” – Cyrus K.
Working together in a new environment allowed us to hone our communication skills and come together as a group- especially for fellow employees who do not work with each other regularly in the office. Stepping away from the office and doing something for the greater good in our community was an easy, uplifting way to raise all our spirits. Overall, volunteering at FASD was an incredible experience and many of us plan to return soon!
“I found our volunteer time with Feeding America to be a rewarding and educational experience. We had the opportunity to learn just how staggering a problem hunger is in San Diego and how many families and children are unsure as to where there next meal is coming from. Taking the time to give back with the team really feels good and I would love to volunteer with Feeding America again in the future.” – John C.
Feeing America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief and charity, and it is easy for you to join their fight to end hunger. Here’s how you can help:
-Volunteer: Get your family, school or office together for a fun and rewarding experience that benefits your local community. Find a list of Feeding America volunteer opportunities near you here.
-Donate Funds: Monthly donations, meal donations, virtual food drives and more- there are so many ways for you to donate your funds so that others don’t go hungry. Every dollar you donate helps provide 8 meals to families in need! Learn more here.
-Donate Food: Large and small food donations from companies can make a significant impact. Reach out to your local Feeding America representative to find out how you can donate food or even organize a food drive.
-Advocate: Raise awareness of hunger in your community and spread the word of the available resources and solutions. You can also get involved with public policy to promote supporting legislative change. Learn more here.
-Educate: Teach your kids about hunger in your community and encourage them to help those in need. It’s never too early to teach your kids how to give, and to show them that helping others can be fun!
Recently, the Oceanhouse Media team embarked on an adventure to Uplift, Educate, and Inspire as we celebrated the end of third quarter at the UCSD Ropes Challenge Course in La Jolla, CA! Led by our friends at Positive Adventures, our day of fun in the sun was full of overcoming challenges, team development, and endless smiles and laughs!
The adventure began the afternoon before the outing when our founder and CEO Michel Kripalani advised us to dress in comfortable clothes and close-toed shoes, but did not give us a clue as to where we were going or what we would be doing! Although we all pried for more information (some of us even attempting to use our expert internet skills to crack the mystery), we were all surprised to find out the next morning that we would be spending the beautiful sunny day taking our team-building to new heights (pun intended).
The UCSD Ropes Challenge Course is a state-of-the-art outdoor training gym located in the heart of the beautiful UCSD campus. Surrounded by budding eucalyptus plants and avid joggers, the course was the perfect setting and we lucked out with clear-blue skies and warm September weather. After lathering on the sunscreen and downing coconut water and kombucha, we were ready for our adventure to begin!
The program kicked off with a variety of team-building activities on the ground to help develop trust and communication. In one particular activity, we were lined up on a log and given the challenge to think of our favorite animal and then arrange ourselves from biggest animal to smallest animal without using human language or stepping off the log!
“They say everyone has a preferred communication style – usually it isn’t mimicking animal sounds while hop scotching over each other on a suspended log. Overall we did a great job on the challenge and quickly learned how important it is to be a versatile communicator!” – Natalie
After a quick lunch, it was time to take on the high ropes Odyssey Course! We geared up in harnesses and helmets and ascended the rope ladder one-by-one to two different platforms 35-55 feet high (talk about “uplifting”)!
As in any group, our team was a mix of phobic height-haters and fearless adrenaline-enthusiasts, but everyone was willing to fully participate and stretch his or her own limits. We spent the next few hours suspended above the ground, moving as a team across four different challenges, providing one another with a helping hand (literally) every step of the way.
“For me, the biggest challenge was not in completing the ropes course, but in completing it TOGETHER. Supporting, challenging and encouraging each other, both physically and verbally, became the focus of the exercise and where I feel I grew the most.” -Greg
One challenge even required that half the team be blindfolded and led by other half across a wire suspended high in the air, demanding complete trust and communication.
“Being able to trust your coworkers walking on a wire and blindfolded at 40 feet makes it really easy to do so on the ground.” -Michael H.
The Odyssey Course ended with a soaring zip line, bringing us safely back down to the ground.
“Our day with Positive Adventures at the UCSD Ropes Challenge Course was a ton of fun. Dangling and maneuvering through the course, I learned just how close we are as a team.” -John
The importance of support and encouragement became immediately apparent throughout the experience, as we were able to overcome our fears and successfully complete each challenge together. At the end of the program, one of the facilitators noted that our team was exceptionally cohesive and passionate about helping each other out.
“Trusting one another and knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses can contribute greatly to a high performance, harmonic and cooperative team.” – Kim
“The support of our team and our ability to work together helped me tap into courage and strength I didn’t know I had.” -Chandler
It is safe to say that we unanimously give the UCSD Ropes Challenge Course and Positive Adventures 5 out of 5 stars! Thank you for the fun and inspiring experience!
Earlier this week Carisa Kluver from Digital Storytime (one of our favorite app review sites) stopped by our office to say hello and talk book apps. Carisa has been reviewing book apps since 2010 so it was fun to chat with her about the many changes in the industry.
We recommend Digital Storytime to any teacher, librarian, or parent who wants to locate good quality book apps in an extremely crowded appstore. Carisa has reviewed over 700 book apps in the last few years and rates titles on interactivity, re-readability, educational quality, originality and more.
She also offers 29 curated book lists for topics including dinosaurs, dogs, seasons, moral stories, feelings, bathtime, sleep and much more. Plus, you can search for book apps based on the device you own (iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet.)
Thanks again for stopping by, Carisa. It was nice to finally meet you!
Carisa previewing an upcoming book app with Development Director, Greg Uhler
“Write me a story that first-graders can’t put down!” This was the challenge that Dr. Seuss accepted that became the classic The Cat in the Hat. The book includes 236 different words that a first-grader can read.
The Cat in the Hat is this year’s featured book for Dr. Seuss’s 109th birthday and our “Hats Off to Reading” celebration. We at Oceanhouse Media in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises are celebrating by putting the digital version on sale for 99 cents and offering The Cat in the Hat camera app as a free download through March 7! In addition, more than 40 Dr. Seuss book, camera and game apps are on sale.
Our award-winning digital version of The Cat in the Hat brings the antics of the infamous mischievous cat to life and has been a top-charting digital book app since its release three years ago. We’ve stayed true to the original words and illustrations of Dr. Seuss (check out the photos from both the original manuscript and the digital version below) when adapting the book into an interactive digital book app, enhancing the story with professional narration by voice talent extraordinaire Joseph Narducci. Now, you can record and share your own narration with the iOS version of the app!
The Cat in the Hat book was published in 1957, the same year as How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (the first Dr. Seuss digital book app developed by Oceanhouse Media to hit the app market). It’s amazing to think that both of these timeless classics were published in the same year!
Did you know that The Cat in the Hat wasn’t the first Seussian feline to don a hat? Dr. Seuss first put a hat on a cat in 1949’s Bartholomew and the Oobleck (an upcoming Oceanhouse Media digital book app).
As Oceanhouse Media celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday, our team is reminded each day the indelible mark that he’s left on children’s literature. We feel honored to bring his books to life in digital form. And, like the Cat in the Hat, what great fun we’re having along the way!
What’s your favorite part of The Cat in the Hat story and why? Feel free to share your comments below. You can even send us your recording of you reading your favorite part of The Cat in the Hat at email@example.com. We’d love to hear it!
An early manuscript of The Cat in the Hat.
The digital version of The Cat in the Hat stays true to the original words and illustrations of Dr. Seuss.
The Oceanhouse Media staff recently took a field trip to the UC San Diego Geisel Library to see The Dr. Seuss Collection. We had the rare opportunity to get an up-close look at the works of Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) including original drawings, sketches, proofs, notebooks, manuscript drafts, books and other memorabilia from the extensive collection.
As the digital publisher of the Dr. Seuss omBooks, it was thrilling to see Dr. Seuss’s early drafts of several classic books, such as Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! as well as “bone pile” fragments of preliminary drawings, false starts and experimental sketches.
Our sincere thanks goes out to Lynda Claassen, head of UCSD’s Mandeville Special Collections Library, for graciously hosting us and sharing her knowledge about Dr. Seuss and the collection.
Check out the photos below!
Michel Kripalani, President of Oceanhouse Media, holding one of the first sketches for Green Eggs and Ham.
The evolution of Green Eggs and Ham.
OM Staff with UCSD’s Lynda Claassen viewing an early version of The Cat in the Hat.
Oceanhouse Media President Michel Kripalani was honored to attend the San Diego Business Journal‘s inaugural Innovation Awards after being selected as a finalist in the mobile devices category. The Innovation Awards acknowledge local organizations who stretch the boundaries and demonstrate how innovative spirit drives economic value.
We’re grateful to have been a finalist and were excited to hear all about the activities of other San Diego companies. A big thanks to the San Diego Business Journal for putting on a great event. We certainly saw that innovation is thriving in San Diego!
Read Across America is going GREEN this year with reading events across the country based on Dr. Seuss’s children’s story, The Lorax. Explore The Lorax Project for information about being friendly to the environment. Plus, read the story for yourself in The Lorax omBook (0.99 USD) and help regrow the world’s Truffula Tree forests with the Lorax Garden game for Apple devices (FREE until March 8!)
App Friday with Moms With Apps:
We’re kicking off the birthday sale by hosting the Moms With Apps weekly app party on our Facebook page Friday, March 2nd at 10am PST. Please join us for special news, discounts and freebies from this fantastic group of family friendly app developers . . . you’ll be glad you did! And stay tuned all week for more Dr. Seuss celebrations on Facebook!
For the folks down under, our friends at Treasure Kai will be hosting the App Friday kickoff party on their Facebook page from 8am – 9am Sydney time.
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than YOU!” – Dr. Seuss
On behalf of all of us at Oceanhouse Media, I wanted to send a brief update and a huge “Thank You” to our customers, partners, and supporters!
Karen and I started this business in January of 2009 at a time of uncertainly for our family. We had a vision of building a digital publishing company, but we did not hold rights to any content. We choose to embark anyway. Along the way, we found tremendous support from customers, reviewers, fellow developers, teachers, parents and incredible license partners. Recognizing all of the support that we have received from the community, we are humbled and grateful.
2011 has been an amazing year. Back in January, we announced the sale of our 1 millionth paid app. We’ve subsequently added close to a dozen license partners, grown the team substantially, and moved out of our house and into a beautiful office space.
We are learning just how much our apps are impacting people and their lives. For instance, some of the email messages we received from the parents of children with special needs have brought us to tears. Each story that we receive reinforces the knowledge that we are fulfilling the work that is expected of us at this moment. It is incredibly rewarding to know that our efforts are impacting the world in such a positive manner.
We are honored to have the opportunity to work with great license partners. We are thankful that they have entrusted us with incredible content. We are committed to delivering ever higher quality interactive experiences as the technology evolves. And, wow, do we ever see the technology evolving quickly!
On a purely personal note, Karen and I love how we are able to share our journey with our 3 year old and 18 month old daughters. They are some of our best app testers! Also, spending quality family time with the girls is the single best way to re-invigorate me and remind me why we work as hard as we do.
So, as we celebrate Thanksgiving I simply wanted to take a moment to extend a warm “Thank You” from all of us at Oceanhouse Media. Without you as customers, partners and supporters, we would not be able to do all that we do.
Please accept our best wishes! May the coming holidays be filled with good health, peace, love and laughter!
On Friday, we attended the 18th annual TechAmerica Awards luncheon, which celebrates San Diego’s most innovative technology companies. We were honored to received the High Tech Award in the Software Category for our work on children’s book apps for mobile devices. We’d like to thank TechAmerica for putting together this wonderful event, we had an excellent time and were pleased to connect with many local businesses. We also want to thank all the families who bring our apps into their household. Your feedback and support keep us motivated to continue innovating the reading and learning experience as technology evolves.
“We’re extremely honored to receive TechAmerica’s High Tech Award for our work in developing interactive children’s book apps that help teach kids to read. “We’re committed to bringing more beloved children’s classics to the app market with educational features that promote literacy in the youngest of readers at the touch of a screen.” — Michel Kripalani, President of Oceanhouse Media.
The rest of the crew, back at the office celebrating the good news!