Since starting my blog several years ago, my work has taken on new forms as I continue to advocate for meaningful education opportunities for every child. Same mission, multiple approaches--film, community-based initiatives, and resources that highlight the meaning-centered philosophy of renowned psychiatrist Viktor Frankl.
I co-founded Straight Up Impact with producers Kate Cohen and Marisa Polvino of Straight Up Films to highlight systemic issues through film and present actionable change opportunities complementing the films. To this end, I co-founded B-Unbound with Elliot Washor of Big Picture Learning. It is a platform that facilitates community-based relationships among youth and supportive adults around shared interests. Peer-to-peer support also plays a role.
In addition, I am executive producing The Friendship Bench with Sealion Films which was inspired by Dr. Dixon Chibanda's TED talk about how he trains grandmothers to treat depression by sitting on park benches. Lastly, I am supporting the work of acclaimed researcher Suniya Luthar who developed Authentic Connections Groups. With her research recognizing that resilience in children is significantly impacted by the health and well-being of their primary caregivers (usually mothers), AC Groups foster close, supportive connections to provide much-needed support.
"We tend to go a mile wide and an inch deep with subjects, rather than allow students to dive deep into areas of interest. We give students few opportunities to apply what we are teaching them."
The Meaning in Madness series highlights the systemic issues contributing to the epidemic of anxiety, depression, addiction, and suicide in our youth. All films showcase personal stories told from the perspective of a young person and are short-form documentaries.
Through heartbreaking testimony, a family shares their experiences and challenges during the children’s lengthy journey through the American psychiatric system. This film depicts the potential human cost of the cut-throat pharmaceutical business and delivers an often untold perspective on the childhoods lost due to the overprescription of psychiatric medication.
Mackenzie is a high school student who seems to have everything going for her, but beneath the surface, she struggles. Through her personal story, she shares how the education system has created an environment leaving herself and her peers feeling anxious, depressed and that their worth is nothing more than a test score. Her love of learning is suppressed while cramming for seemingly meaningless tests and assignments. Even as a high-performing water polo player who thrives on competition, Mackenzie feels that, in school, a line has been crossed where the pressure and fear students feel can be unhealthy, even dangerous.
B-Unbound: A partnership between Straight Up Impact and Big Picture Learning
Be You. Unbound. B-Unbound is a community-based network that connects young people, ages 14-24, to mentors, experiences, and each other with the goal of promoting wellbeing through meaningful relationships and interest exploration.
To learn more, go to B-Unbound.org
Inspired by the Meaning in Madness series
VIKTOR FRANKL INSTITUTE OF AMERICA PROJECTS
If you're interested in discovering meaning or a fan of Viktor Frankl, you'll have to check out this content-rich course created by Viktor Frankl Institute of America. I interview my co-founder Alex Vesely, grandson of Viktor Frankl, who shares an inside view through fascinating commentary and videos from the family archive.
The Inspiring Wisdom of Viktor E. Frankl:
A 21-Day Reflection Book About Meaning
By Pam Roy & Moira Hummel
How to teach our children the importance of:
Discovery of meaning.
The R.E.A.D. Framework
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The Concept Plan
Here is my vision for lifelong learning and how we can create a new ecosystem to promote human interaction, cultural change, and economic prosperity in the 21st century.
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