Today I submitted my application to become an Apprentice with The Future Project, a non-profit that is "building a national movement to unlock the potential of millions of young Americans by giving high schools across the country access to a transformational Dream Director".
I was taking an early lunch at work today when I just met some Future Project-ers on the street, and felt like a giant lightbulb was illuminated over my head. They all seemed so genuine, and acted like they really CARE about the future. I was inspired by the fact that such a community is working so hard together to direct the future of our society toward a positive outcome! Here are my answers to their online application:
What is one dream you're proud to have realized?
As a child of rural public high school teachers I moved to the city when I became an adult and actively taught myself how to navigate the business-centric culture that flourishes here. Now I am proud to be able to say that I am melding my small town values with my big-city acumen to help bring projects that combine efficiency and beauty to my constituents (whomever they may be)!
Tell us the story! Why was that dream important to you?
I have always felt that city and country dwellers have a LOT to offer each other, and that if we were all to drop our respective pretenses we could really help each other out in the long run. Farmers are the key to a sustainable food source, but they can't hold out against the agricultural industry much longer without some serious financial support. City-dwellers, on the other hand, are the networkers, developers, and business-people who really do have the capability to create this kind of support for the mission of sustainable nutrition. As a "both sides of the tracks" kid, I wanted to be able to navigate both the city and the country with ease and efficiency so that I could serve as a connector and mediator between the these two demographics.
What did you do to realize that dream?
I am still working to make this dream a reality! First I got myself out of the small town I grew up in by choosing to attend a college farther away than any of those my high school classmates ended up going to. Once there I pushed myself - really pushed myself - to get out of my comfort zone and to TRAVEL all over Europe and the United States. I think I've visited about 40 states, some which were part of my 9,000 mile, three-month solo road trip during which I camped in state parks all over the country. Upon graduation I threw myself into the craziness of NYC (I found a no-windows futon-sized room in Greenpoint for $400/month) and became a student of professions. In the ten years since, I have infiltrated the worlds of high-profile catering; professional choral singing; the music industry; arts administration; nonprofit development; innkeeping; christmas tree farming and information science. I've made some amazing connections, and have developed an extensive portfolio of skills. This month my husband and I purchased a house in the small town in which I grew up, and I am driven to turn it into a hub and catalyst for like-minded connectors from both city and country to come together to brainstorm, discuss, plan, scheme, and create.
<< I am also thinking about going back to school to get a degree in some sort of Design so that I can help create more efficient, more beautiful environments for us all to inhabit while we work on changing the world. >>
What is your favorite screw-up? By favorite, we mean a doozie or fiasco that you will never forget. What did you learn?
Ah ha ha, I feel like I have SO many of these! I immediately think of the time I spilled wine on a very high-powered investment-banker type whilst doing a catering job, or better yet, the time I tripped UP the stairs on my first day of high school. From that experience - and as a matter of fact, from ALL my fiascos - I learned that life goes on. It just does. Even if you think you'll never live something down - and are thus in the depths of depression or wanting to die... life keeps marching forward, and the best thing you can do for yourself and for others is to march forward with it. There's something we performers say, which is, "no matter what happens, DON'T STOP SINGING". The show must go on, y'know? So you've gotta work hard to leave your mistakes in the past, and work twice as hard to keep smiling.
The work of Apprentices happens, largely, within high schools. When was the last time you were in a high school and why?
I was last in a high school, I don't remember when. Maybe when I was in high school myself, which makes me a little sad. Why is it that we allow such physical distance to exist between us and the formalized education process? One of my long-term dreams is to help establish a preschool inside of a nursing home...
What two experiences (professional or personal) have best prepared you for the role of an Apprentice?
When I was 15 my life was significantly impacted in a positive manner by someone who was filling the role of Apprentice (without the title or affiliation with Future Project, of course) within my school district. Having that person's presence in my life was magical. I have always wanted to give back to young people something of what she gave me. Second, I have been a tutor with Friends of the Children in their Harlem location. Third, I am descended from a long, long line of teachers. That is to say - teaching is in my blood!