The gift of knowledge always seems to go both ways #12daysforgood

This week on Day 8 and 11 of the #12daysforgood I was fortunate to be included in the most recent iteration of the pilot program Studio Impact 1.1. This program was developed in partnership between some of our local organizations and was initially spearheaded by myself and a brilliant team of thinkers Anita Abraham, Keita Demming and Aiden Abram. Early on in the process we were lucky to bring in Zainab Ramahi a superstar in our community to work in tandem with Anita and Keita as Aiden and I had to step away for other work commitments.


Fast forward a year and a half and the program is a living and breathing thing! The concept of the course is to engage students aged 12-17 in systems thinking discussions and understanding their role and ability to enact change in their community. This was my way of giving the gift of knowledge.


I was asked to volunteer facilitate this weeks event that happened down at Lang’s Farm with a vibrant group of Grade 7 and 8’s. We worked through incredible activities that challenged their assumptions in the world, while supporting their journey to better understand and surface their individual passions and leverage points for change in their families, schools and communities.


What was (not so) unexpected was the learning that we as the facilitators were exposed to. These kids were so energetic and excited to think about change and learn as much as they could, and while doing so they were able to push us to reflect on our own passions and understanding of our community.


This was one of the most monumental activities for my over the #12daysforgood. Not only did I get to do some hands on exciting work with young minds, but I was able to use the idea of #12daysforgood to frame the way I interpreted the group discussion and to help push the students further and further in their thinking as they unearthed some ideas they had not previously been able to articulate.


Working with kids both in middle school and high school brings me hope for our community’s future. And as a wise woman once said at the age of 15 (and she’s going to slap me for repeating AGAIN that I have known her since she was 15):


“We [youth] are not the leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today” – Zainab Ramahi



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“I have had the pleasure of working with Natalie on two community development projects in the K-W area beginning in 2007. Her ability to understand and mobilize community resources and networks is unprecedented. Natalie’s passion and compassion for this field makes her an asset and “spark” to any project.”
by Sherry Elizabeth McGee