Elliot Washor's TGIF "Are you with me now?" 12.17.21
LEGO Foundation Grant
Yesterday, we received great news from the LEGO Foundation that we got the $1.5 million grant we applied for that funds B-Unbound, BPLiving and the IBPLC. For many reasons, this grant adds lots of credibility and next steps to all of this work. Also yesterday, we submitted our response to the second round of the Tools Competition Award for the International Big Picture Learning Credential (IBPLC). Our team is feeling really good about the response we put in. Finally, Andrea and I (I was remote) attended a meeting in LA about Expanding Access to ‘Internships’ in LA. This is a collaborative effort across multiple organizations who work with youth around career exploration but from the responses, it appears they don’t do much when it comes to getting students/youth out in the real-world providing them access to adults. Once again, there’s lots of “What you know” content with little “Who knows you know what you know.” The data, stories and images that we have collected about the effectiveness of our practice including ImBlaze/B-U platform add loads to this collaboration. Marshall Tuck, an old acquaintance facilitated the meeting and probably the best question he asked was where are internships happening at a district-wide level? The room was silent. Our 30,000 users on ImBlaze accompanied by 250,000 internship days with Manchester, NH, Kansas City and districts in South Carolina and Kentucky using ImBlaze, not to mention The Met as a district gives Marshall an answer. We’ll see what the next steps bring.
This coming Monday, I meet with Joe Youcha, Mungu Sanchez and John Dillow in Baltimore about creating industry certifications that will get youth younger than 18 pre-apprenticeships and compensate them for what they do at the site. For far too long, we have created artificial barriers, mostly around academics that are geared for everyone going to a 4-year college straight from high school as the only legitimate path. This not only stigmatizes youth who want to do all sorts of work but it also creates obstacles that keep them from getting access to high paying and life-fulfilling work. This small but influential group is meeting to change this. More to come.
Today Andrew, David and I had a meeting with Jennifer Niles, former Deputy Mayor in DC showcasing ImBlaze. We have a great deal to offer to this consortium in DC. We’ll see what happens next.
A Seat at the Table
We are getting ready for a 3-part series on equity, education and well-being hosted by Dr. Danique Dolly and Dr. Marsha-Gail Davis in conversations with students from BPLiving. This series is a great way to launch our work in 2022 including at Big Bang, where student BPLiving practice will be showcased and discussed as part of deeper community conversations.
A new year presents new opportunities for growth. To that end, Big Picture Living - an initiative of Big Picture Learning - and HEAL (Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine) - an initiative of American College of Lifestyle Medicine - invite you to attend a critically important, three-part conversation on equity, education and the well-being of our future generations. Through this series, BPL and HEAL will lead an effort to bridge the gap between different societal sectors; including medicine, education and media; to spur further discussion around the problem around health inequity and the solutions inside and around education designed to address it. Please join us.
Big shot – Small shot?
While everyone touching the basketball world was focused on Steph Curry’s incredible record breaking the 3-pointer against the Knicks (sigh and joy), a very different 3-pointer by the Laker’s Austen Reaves, a 23-year-old undrafted rookie, swooshed for the game winning shot at the buzzer in overtime. Both of these accomplishments succeeded in doing something that I think a great deal about and that is conjuring up the concept of collective effervescence. This is the sense of energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose. If even for a moment, it is in collective effervescence that people across race, class and gender come together around a shared interest/purpose. They become a community.
In Steph Curry’s case there were millions watching and cheering him on. That was a big deal, big shot that made history. And, in the case of Austen Reaves, it wasn’t just that he made an amazing 3-point shot to win the game but it was the reaction of the entire Laker team after he made the shot, a big deal, small shot. The emotions that poured out were way beyond what anyone would expect even given the kind of clutch shot that it was. So, what was going on here? I’m never completely sure but all I can say is that it was the sort of collective spontaneous emotion that is genuine and needed to unite us, albeit a team or a community, I’m always asking, how do we do this in communities at the small human-scale all the time?
Co-Founder of Big Picture Learning