Louise - Changing Natures

By louisemac

#IWill #DayFour ("Change is not a spectator sport"

Day 4

So many highlights today on the next part of this incredible study visit. My head is spinning, but in that high adrenaline positive way.

We started with a panel representing the Mass Mentoring Partnership and Partners for Youth with a Disability, where Jake, Kristin and Nate shared their mentoring programmes. Fabulous work happening and really fascinating insights into how "service programmes" fit into the provision of third sector activity.

Then on to what I can only describe as one of the most inspirational projects I ever encountered - More Than Words. A secondhand bookstore and online store, relying entirely on donated books - and run as a business by young people at risk of poorer outcomes. Genuinely spine tingling stuff - it had simplicity and love oozing from every pore. The wondrous site director Marcella Raines talked about "compassionate accountability" and how they never ever close the door. The tour, discussion and book game led by young "partner" Damiyah was sensational.

From one inspirational project to another - this time America SCORES Boston, where they combine soccer and...wait for it...poetry. An after school programme for public schools, the team led by Andy Crossley use soccer as a "hook" but then build in a poetry element to encourage the young people to find their voice. It sounds so "out there" but again, had a simplicity and honesty to the approach that was a joy to see. They also gave us their refreshing take on youth volunteerism and service programmes which added yet another layer of context to our thinking.

The day ended on a ludicrously high high! To Harvard University, where we met with Professor Fernando Reimers, professor of international education. His input would be best described as a tour de force! A masterclass in democratic citizenship and social change. It felt a complete privilege just to hear him share his insight.

Such an honour to be part of this visit - and to be sharing it with such a remarkable group of people. I'm learning as much from them as I am from our US colleagues!

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