Listening Session Paintings

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meet Ahmed Rahim

Today I met a wonderful man.  His name is Ahmed Rahim and he is the co-founder of Numi Tea, one of the largest sellers of organic and fair-trade premium tea in the United States. He shared with me his vision of community, young people and education.  He is planning to introduce a new curriculum for young people grades K - 3 that is centered around art and the environment.  His vision is to launch this curriculum in the inner cities of America to begin with and later to establish free standing schools that will help many of America's children who are in underserved communities. Eventually he wants to serve young people in grades K - 12.

What made his vision so wonderful to listen to is that he is talking about offering a curriculum that is nourishment based.  By building learning around artistic endeavor and being in relationship to nature, he believes a new young person can emerge from the inner city who is more grounded and filled with his or her own voice.

A portion of the sales of Numi Tea will help to create a perpetual income stream supplemented by grants and other donations. Beautiful.

His energy, his light, his passion are evident as he talks about his vision.  He is committed, open, collaborative and pushing to learn as much as he can wherever he can about children and education.  He also is a wonderful listener as he asked many questions about what we are about and how we intend to grow our vision. 

Our lunch was a mutual exchange of ideas, energy and wonder as we shared our time together.  We are going to get together again to discuss his ideas for curriculum and to see the work of those who have pariticipated in the Listening Sessions. Thanks Ahmed for an enlightening and engaging first of what I hope will be many visits.

Monday, April 26, 2010

We're Heading to Ojai

Thanks to our friend Linda O'Toole, we learned of the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation, which is doing amazing work with young people in the Ojai Valley.  After looking at what they are doing, we just had to go and do a Listening Session. 

Last week, we received board approval, thanks to our intrepid contact at the foundation - Meg Wall - who paved the way for us to come.  Meg has more energy and ideas than most anyone I have met and she loves helping kids - a dynamic combination.

So on May 27th, we will hit Southern California with a three-hour Listening Session beginning at 5 PM.  We cannot wait to meet everyone and listen to what they have to say. Many thanks to the board for making this possible.

Check out their new website - to see all of the great programs they are running. One of their newest - Blinc - has been so successful that the Board has asked that it be continued long after it was scheduled to end.

I have never been to Ojai, which is about 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles, but it is surrounded by mountains not far from the Pacific Ocean and is considered to be quite a unique place to live.  Ojai is derived from the Chumash word "Awahai", sounding like Ojai, meaning "Valley of the Moon”. Since Ojai is lined up with an east-west mountain range, it is one of few towns in the world to have the "Pink Moment" occur as the sun is setting. The fading sunlight creates a brilliant shade of pink on the Topatopa Bluffs that stand at the east end of the Ojai Valley. We will see you soon, Ojai.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Beautiful Quote

"Somewhere among the youth of today are minds capable of discovering ways to world peace, ways to deeper and more fulfilling lives, ways to new appreciations of beauty in art or literature or music, just as there have been minds capable of splitting the atom. Ours is the task of breaking the thought barrier which keeps our young people from realizing their creative potentiality."
                                                                          - Samuel B. Gould

Stella sent me this quote the other day and I loved it!  Young people are the seed of the future and contain everything that is necessary to recreate the world in a way far wiser than it is today. As Samuel Gould says, ours is the task of breaking through the barriers to keeping that knowledge from bearing fruit!

PS   Samuel Brookner Gould (1910-1997) was an American educator prominent for promoting access to education through non-traditional means such as educational television, college teacher-mentor systems, and universities without walls.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Listen to the Children

I think we have found a beautiful supporter of Imagine Learning - at least in spirit anyway (she has yet to meet us)! This is 12 year old Adora Svitak speaking at TED asking adults to listen to young people. Her talk is astounding on one hand and the message couldn't be more true on the other.  We hear you Adora.