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Education Outside the Classroom: Innovating for peace and prosperity with educators, organizers and development professionals in DC

Local hub uniting diverse community influencers in Washington DC with power to inspire global movements

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

We want to build bridges in Washington D.C., where diverse residents brush shoulders daily without opportunities to really connect due to systemic and cultural barriers. Coaches Across Continents will design, develop, and implement a six-month pilot collaboration that connects educators across systemic and cultural divides. The collaboration will consist of bringing a team of DC educators together for an initial 3-day summit and then for 5 monthly workshops, in which CAC staff will facilitate (alongside the team of educators) connection through our evidence-based ‘Education Outside the Classroom’ curriculum and methodology. Please see an attached example of how we integrate play and learning outside the traditional classroom environment! There are thousands of people living in this city who are devoted to education and social change, from international development professionals to grassroots community organizers to K-12 school teachers, university professors and youth sport coaches. CAC has the relationships in place to mobilize a team of 20-25 committed members who will lead together throughout the duration of the 6-month collaboration. The goal is two-fold: to foster real connections between DC residents who would otherwise remain disconnected and unable to build power together, while simultaneously exposing these educators to new tools they can utilize when creating spaces for learning. Beyond the scope of the summit and the workshops, the ‘Education Outside the Classroom’ curriculum and methodology will be transformative for teachers, coaches, community organizers, professors, and even office-based professionals, for they will gain new tools for creating interactive, play-based, connection-driven learning environments.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The team members will be DC residents who wish to address the ongoing (and rising) tension due to gentrification, segregation, and generally inequitable access to opportunities and basic needs. We will target educators because having a common thread is important and because we know educators will impact all of the people they work with on a daily basis. The team will be intentionally diverse, representing a wide variety of identities across age, race, gender expression, class, and length of time living in the city. Through our ‘Education Outside the Classroom’ curriculum and methodology, we will create interactive, play-based, connection-driven learning environments with the team of educators. They will be challenged to openly discuss harmful traditional and cultural practices while actively designing pathways towards social change as a team.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our idea is unique because we are the only global NGO with an ‘Education Outside the Classroom’ curriculum and methodology that empowers people to learn problem-solving leadership skills and communities to design pathways toward social change. We consistently design new tools based on evolved intentions and insights into what the world is demanding. This particular collaboration in DC is unique because it will be the first organized network of a diverse cast of educators. Typically these folks do not have opportunities to connect outside of their tight-knit bubbles. Because we are targeting all kinds of educators (not just traditional teachers and professors) from across a multitude of identities and experiences, we will bridge a gap that permeates DC’s cultural and economic landscape. We will foster deep connections between DC residents who would otherwise remain disconnected and unable to build collective power.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Community-based organizations, governments, corporations and foundations in 54 countries on 6 continents implement CAC’s Education Outside the Classroom programming, impacting over 15 million children. We are looking to expand our partnership model in the US after many years of focusing our work outside of North America.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

CAC has a long history of collaborating with educators in Africa and Asia, alongside local leaders who are looking to build more equitable, peaceful, and prosperous communities. With our current residence in DC, we feel compelled to engage with our more immediate community, in the way that we do in other countries. The divides in DC are palpable, as in many cities in the US. We want to focus our energy locally to build bridges that will help DC residents create peace and prosperity for all

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Systemic violence is rampant in DC, hindering the prosperity and peace of city residents. For some residents this inability to prosper manifests in tangibly terrible experiences like forced displacement and incarceration. For others it is less obvious: neighbors not taking care of each other, negative zero-sum game mentality, human disconnect and a lack of empathy. Without interrupting these cycles of violence youth will recreate further iterations of the same disempowering reality. By bringing people together who each hold their own unique space and power as influential educators, equipping them with new, localized and adaptable tools to reach youth and other adults, we will offer DC, and the world, a sustainable example of a city actively pursuing peace and prosperity for all its residents.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The team members will represent a number of different organizations. We will look to these groups as partners in this collaboration, not just the individuals that represent them. The connections we already have with international development organizations, grassroots community organizations, K-12 schools, universities and youth sport clubs will help us create a special team. Some examples of organizations we have built relationships with over the years: America SCORES, Georgetown University, USAID, the State Department, fhi360, Player Progression Academy, World Learning, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), ONE DC.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

There are many committed educators who care about peace and prosperity, and wish to build power together but do not have a reason to know each other. Building power to create peace and prosperity for all in DC will require a network of diverse actors with influence in their own right. Our decade of community development experience shows us that by bringing all of these educators together we will form connections and design strategies and resources that will lead to their greater local influence.

Geographic Focus

Washington, D.C.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

November-January: 3 months to do outreach and create the team; maximum 25, minimum 10 participants January-February: 2 months to plan and prepare for kick-off summit March: 3-day Kick-Off Summit April: Monthly Workshops May: Monthly Workshops June: Monthly Workshops July: Monthly Workshops August: Monthly Workshops and Action Plan as formal meetings end Ongoing development of relationships, network, curriculum and action plans for sustained delivery and effort towards project outcomes.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • Yes

If Yes, how has project idea changed, grown, or evolved since last year? (2,000 characters)

This is different than our 2017 submission, for we are proposing to build community on a local rather than international scale. Our idea in 2017 centered on bringing female coaches together from a wide array of our partners around the world for a one week summit. This new idea, centered on bringing people together in DC, consistently over the course of 6 months, feels exciting because the physical proximity makes collaboration more active, tangible and accountable. Learning how to bridge local divides will inform how we build movements across continents!

Attachments (1)

CAC Peace Packet - 2017.pdf

We designed and shared this curriculum with tens of thousands of educators in over 100 countries for Peace One Day, September 2017.

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Photo of Alexandra null

great news! will check them out.

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