I have a dream. It’s a dream deeply rooted in my mom’s passions. I am realizing the more and more I pursue what I feel is my purpose, that its source can be linked to what I saw my mother do in my childhood. She advocated for my brother and I and plenty of other children in the school whose parents were either not as brazen, educated, or available as my mother. She organized Juneteenth and Kwanzaa celebrations and helped run an African Saturday School. She and I sat one day and drew out a plan for what she called The Nguzo Saba Center, which would reflect the seven principles of Kwanzaa in its programming, stakeholders, and even its architecture.
If you were to look at my resume you’d think I am a floater. However, I’m clear that each phase of my educational and professional careers have prepared me to fulfill on the dream spawned from watching my mother be of service.
Today, I dream of schools where each year the students choose projects to work on, where they select measures for growth and go on to hit those goals through collaborating with others. Each child’s strengths, passions, and self-defined purpose would direct what project they commit to and how they participate within the team. Inside of this school, students have an opportunity to sit with a Dream Manager (who serves as Life Coach) at least once a month to gauge where they are in relation to the goals they set for themselves.
This school would start each day with a successful artist, athlete, entrepreneur, innovator, or leader sharing what they do, how they came to do it, and what legacy they hope to leave; then they’d engage in a hands-on activity with the students – offering them an opportunity to experience an aspect of their work. This exposure would feed into an apprenticeship program.
There’d be a store, student-run, that sells products they create. There’d be a rooftop/community garden or greenhouse they all give a number of hours to that provides a major portion of their “cafeteria” food. There’d be trips abroad during summer and winter breaks to round out every school project, and students would be encouraged to visit countries each trip that enabled them to master at least one other language. The school would welcome corporate dollars from brands whose mission was aligned with ours.
And on January 15, 2011, in partnership with Syreeta Gates of The SWT Life, I am producing THE SWT LIFE: a Conversation about passions, strengths and purpose. In an effort to build the school of my dreams, this one-day event will gather 100 NYC 14-16 year olds to aid them in identifying their unique contributions to the world. I will create these types of opportunities and measure outcomes over the coming years in these children’s lives.
Who’s with me?
THE SWT LIFE: a conversation about passion, strengths and purpose, Jan 15, 2011 – being the change I wish to see in the world.
(Photo "Great Destination" By Henry Z)