When I think about engineering a life that I don’t want to escape, I think of a life where I wouldn’t have to get out of bed, unless I absolutely had to. I’d have no worries if the bills were going to be paid, and if liberty and justice was going to be afforded to all.
Living in a region where my county and all surrounding counties are ranked in the lowest performing schools in the state and the 3rd poorest income in the United States, I’m left to identify THEE Path that my daughters will have to take to ensure they are well. Wellness, in this context means, financially, emotionally, physically and environmentally balanced.
The lesson I learned when I move to this region at the age of 9 was that educational resources and rigor varies significantly based on the demographics. This puzzled me. This was a school, with teachers, and learners. Learners that were creative and capable of learning, but what was the difference? What is the difference? The only answer that I could come up with was their access to high quality enrichment activities and resources.
That’s how the IERN WILL movement was born identifying opportunities to learn and grow more self-sustainable was accessible to all. A place where you could “Grow Your Brain” and learn ways to communicate and share our growth.
Teaching learners how to craft their voice through multiple opportunities to utilize the “Engineering Kind of Mind” that they naturally possess. Take things families in the neighborhood love to get behind, like athletic competitions and introduce programs like ARC 12 that help with the conditioning of the body, and conditioning of the mind.
It’s having access to high quality programs that help learners access new tools for their personal and professional growth that connects to the things they care about the most. That why the “Hairs to Your Health Campaign“, “Crafting & Drafting“ at Garysburg Volunteer Library, “Girls Who Code“, “Leadership at the Lake“, “Mommy & Me Polish Parties“, and lastly the “Pittsburgh Bridge Campaign”.
The Pittsburgh Bridge Campaign was about realize that the life I had engineered for myself was based around finding a solution for creating a life I didn’t want to escape.
Where “Communication Arts” mattered and followed THEE Path’s Cs to cultural clarity and confidence.
Where educators utilized “An Engineering Kind of Mind” and mastered how to teach in poverty.
Where my daughters had access to the people and resources that could help them build bridges to community leaders and stakeholders that could guide them on THEE Path to being and doing their best.
The Pittsburgh Bridge is just one of the many bridges that must be built to ensure our learners have access to experiential learning that will help guide them to sound decisions. In an effort to engineer a network that could help me accomplish any task I face, I designed “Tea, on Me” in effort to tap into the collective knowledge of the community. In partnership with the Buhl Foundation, The Sprout Fund provides Neighbor-to-Neighbor Grants of up to $1,000 to support small-scale community projects with broad citizen support on Pittsburgh’s Northside.
Learn more about how to apply online at sproutfund.org/northside. Applications will be accepted on June 9, July 7, and August 4.
The IERN Sharpens Iron Summit Tour’s Creative Director, LaToya Williams (resident Resource Fairy) won and to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor grant, “Tea, On Me” was able to connect with business leaders that could assist in cultivating an enterprising mindset within families, and spread that model to families beyond the bridges of Pittsburgh, here to rural NC, and that’s what the Pittsburgh Bridge Campaign and our other creative community engagement programs are designed to do. See how we’re connecting learners internationally to their passions by viewing our updates on the Pittsburgh Bridge Campaign.
The same models offered for improving the quality of life for a neighborhood in the boroughs of Pittsburgh could be used here. As I’ve previously explained; for small towns like my hometown, we have to do it, together.
With the business leaders I’ve been able to connect with on the Northside of Pittsburgh I have no doubt that their successes will help those interested in started businesses locally through Incubator Business Program for Garysburg Community Center.
This and the models that Pittsburgh has revealed for a multitude of opportunities for our agricultural region to thrive. With the help of Garysburg Farmers Market, our local farmers will be able to make the best of a tough growing season.
Farmers Market takes place 1st and 3rd Saturday from 8AM – 12
But being a part of creating an infrastructure that will lead to sustainability for our families is extremely difficult and intimidating work. So if you can go from fear to fearlessness, I have no doubt that you’ll be able to engineer a life you don’t want to escape.