Dreaming Big: Empowering Youth to Heal the Globe
South Central Los Angeles Charter School Takes On The World And Participates in The Dream Project – an Offshoot of The United Nation’s Millennium Goals
Kelly Sullivan Walden, author, dream coach and vice president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Women’s National Book Association, participated in the 2006 United Nations Conference where the goals were unveiled. Her response to this meeting was profound, going far above and beyond her “duties” as an UN-affiliated non-governmental organization – and thus the Dream Project was born.
The Dream Project is designed to empower young people to recognize themselves as leaders that behold the potential to make a positive and real contribution to the world and to instill in them social responsibility, self-esteem, and creative problem solving. This pilot program gives students the opportunity to address and create solutions for the issues recognized in the United Nation’s Millennium Goals to combat hunger, poverty, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination in an attempt to fulfill these goals by the year 2015.
Vielka McFarlane, a veteran educator and founder of the Celerity Educational Group, knows all too well the responsibility and fortitude it takes to make a change in this world. She mortgaged her home and acquired a building on the corner of Jefferson and Crenshaw Boulevard in the notoriously underserved South Central Los Angeles community. This is where her vision of empowering children came to life - with The Celerity Nascent Charter School.
Since opening the Celerity Nascent School in 2005 (and two more since), Ms. McFarlane has been instilling these values in her students and it’s apparent in their enthusiasm and dedication to The Dream Project. With several components, all of which are being filmed and compiled for a documentary, the Dream Project has kept the students at the Celerity Nascent School entrenched in global issues for the last few months. Ms. McFarlane knows this project, along with the rest of Celerity’s curriculum, will make a lifelong impression on these students.
Ms. McFarlane explains, “For us (at the Celerity Schools), the Dream Project is an implementation of the mission and vision of the school in which we talk about empowerment. This project allows the students and our community to be social engineers and control their future.”
Three eighth-grade classes at Celerity Nascent were chosen to take a hands-on involvement in the Dream Project. The classes were divided intro groups of eight, each group was given a Millennium Goal and asked to research the existing problem and envision its solution. At the end of a three-month period, each group will present their solutions to the entire school.
Yet this is just one of the school’s many steps taken to better the world. In December, the school was a sponsor and distribution site for a Feed the Children project that fed more than 2,000 families in the Los Angeles area and ultimately more than 12,000 throughout the nation.
The Dream Project has also brought several high profile and inspiring speakers to the Celerity Nascent School and its community such as inspirational speaker Azim Khamisa, best-selling author Marianne Williamson and Pulitzer Prize Winner Mohammand Unis.
In March, a group of students will be traveling to meet with Honduras President Manuel Zelaya to share their involvement in the Dream Project in hopes to inspire students throughout Honduras to take action and help them fulfill the Millennium Goals.
“With our curriculum and the Dream Project, we are making it know that our vision at Celerity is not to just ‘help’ these underprivileged children, because that’s too much talk and too little action,” explains Ms. McFarlane. “We are giving them the tools and the knowledge to allow them to change the world and make a difference both within and on a larger scale.”
For more information on The Celerity Nascent Charter School, please visit them on the web at www.celerityschools.org. For more information about The Dream Project, please visit www.dreamprojectun.org.
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