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  • Elliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF "Are you with me now?" 6.30.21

The Olympics always coincides with Big Bang week and inevitably provides a sports venue that mirrors, reflects and advances what is going on at Big Bang. This time it is about a courageous acts of young person. Whenever someone says, What’s courage? I have a response from somewhere in my Wayback Machine that says, “Courage is grace under pressure.” This past week and throughout her career, time and again, Simone Biles has displayed courage. As Frank Wilson noted in our email exchange, instead of building a sand castle like so many prima athletes and hiding in it, Simone Biles left the castle and exposed its many inhabitants for who they are by their actions. And yet being completely honest, Simone also states quite courageously that “At the end of the day, I’m such a huge athlete, but who am I? If you take off that mask, you know, who will I be? I’m still trying to find that out.” That’s also a BP type moment that takes courage to state in full view of the world.


Lots of meetings about B-Unbound this week. Anthonette, Pam and I met with members of the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce to figure out how a Chamber functions in a B-Unbound environment. How does it change from its normal role to one where the members understand the wants of young people? How do they serve as mentors with meaning in mind? What is the change in workforce development that moves things from being institutional to community? Another part of the discussion with the Chamber was about youth and mental health. Some members were working with a group out of Stanford called allcove. Allcove is developing an innovative network of integrated youth mental health centers designed with, by and for youth that reduce stigma, embrace mental wellness, increase community connection and provide access to culturally-responsive services. We are exploring the possibility of B-U connecting to allcove Centers as part of their prevention work keying in on youth facing outward and finding healthy relationships with adults sharing similar interests. This ties into the meeting Pam and I had with Julia Freeland Fisher where we discussed the notion of reciprocity between mentor and mentee that can develop into a culture of reciprocity where everyone benefits. Scott is doing evaluation work on Harbor Freight Fellows this year on what makes a good mentor and why they want to mentor. The evaluation aligns with this discussion. From my talks with Scott, our HFF mentors and Fellows are certainly contributing to one another’s well-being. More to come.

Next week, Anthonette and I will be in Pittsburgh, Providence and Newport shoring up agreements to start B-U in these places.

I had a great catch-up call with Kapua today. Their summer camp is now over and the photos and stories will be coming shortly. These mixed-media essays will inform all our work and move it forward in many ways. For example, a discussion of malama ‘aina-based in Hawaii is very different from place-based where with the former it is assumed that you always give back to the community. This year, the charter will move forward and with it work on facilities and program. It is all very exciting.


It’s official Robert Fung is now the new principal of the San Diego Met. It’s great to have him back with us but it feels like he never left. Over the years, we have always talked about principal leadership succession planning and always tried to prepare for leadership transitions. In this case, it worked out where someone from the school was ready to become the next principal. The path to get there had some notable twists and turn but in the end, the school’s legacy is certainly moving forward through its staff, new principal, students and alums. It’s great to have Robert return.

Melissa’s new work as principal of Lincoln High in San Diego is very much work that is deeply rooted in inequities that have gone on for far too long. There are lots of people waiting in anticipation to see how everyone steps up to the challenges. I’m sure Melissa is the right person in the right place. We will be around whenever you call.Be Well!


Elliot Washor

Co-founder of Big Picture Learning

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