“I learned that it is important to look at one’s self and take time to evaluate self; that I need to stay more focused and attentive; and that I need to spend more time evaluating who I am… It allowed me to see a deeper me and realize more of who I was… I have realized my potential and worth and I have been able to realize that everyone makes mistakes but what you do after determines who you are.” – Ricky Lasenby

“I learned new ways to practice self-reflection [and] that I have a great ear for music and I’m great at writing. I learned from experience by actually being involved.” – Dyrello Hall

“I’ve learned a lot about my self and others. About me, I’ve learned I still can do good for my self education-wise… I’ve changed and grown since this program started. I have left the gang life alone and learned that education is the way to success.” – Tristan James

“I learned that that we as growing youth have the power to change the lives of the younger generations by the actions and roles we play within our community. I learned that your mind has a creative side and that you can express/exercise this talent through rapping, singing, storytelling, etc. “ – Julian Washington

“I learned how to paint. I also learned how to put my ideas in the air and to be able to work on them. I learned that I really like to put things together and I love media… I grew a lot. I learned a lot about others in my self and others in my class.” – Adashia Culverson

“I learned how to work with a team on different projects. I also learned how to record, paint, and how you get grants. I learned that I have talent. I have a different outlook on life and a different attitude.” – Kendra Boatman

“I learned how to express my self creatively and that I’m an awesome artist. “
– Quintas Green

“I learned that it is good to work with others instead of your self because things might come out better. And what I learned about my self is that I can be a lot of help to other people. I have become a better person and grew stronger. I feel ain’t no holding me back.” – Jerry Anderson

“CWP actually allows everyone to show them selves and their talent. I learned that I can express my self more and music really does bring everyone together. My favorite part was the togetherness.” – Tamela Brazil

“I learned I can be interested in other things I don’t know about. My favorite part was the experience and how open everyone could be. I’ve changed my attitude since I got here. I’ve become a leader.” – Diamond Woodcox

“In CWP I learned that I can take my life further with my talent… My favorite part was… the whole class. It was a great learning experience. I have grown by developing a better understanding of life.” – Aaron Williams

“What I learned was to work with other people and be creative…  I wouldn’t change anything about CWP, it is an awesome class.” – Kenneth Payne, Jr.

From our director and founder:

[The following is an excerpt from the Summer Solstice edition of Written River: A Journal of Ecopoetics. It later appeared in Creatively Maladjusted: The Wisdom Education Movement.]

The best school I ever went to was behind my garage. There was no actual school behind my garage, of course, but I did learn a great deal there. I grew up in the city of Rochester, NY, in a neighborhood with ample space for a child to roam and play and in a time – the seventies and eighties – in which parents had not yet become too scared to let children roam and play. The first roaming I did was between my friend’s house, directly behind mine, and the space behind our garage. It was certainly not a rural area, but there were trees and bushes, cats and toads. Like many little boys, I decided to build a fort. I spent hours behind that garage, hammering away at scraps of wood, building nothing much substantial, but able to let my imagination take flight and to get my hands in the dirt. I would suggest that this phrase – “letting our imagination take flight and getting our hands in the dirt” – could be the foundational principle for the future of education.

To read the rest of the article, see Written River: A Journal of Ecopoetics.

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