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Creating Creators Internationally

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Think globally, act locally.

Sergio Garcia, Big Thought Program Manager, put that philosophy into action when he traveled to Panama through the Young Leaders of Americas Initiative (YLAI) to assist in developing programming for marginalized youth in Panama. Sergio reunited with Betzy Arosemena, who had spent five weeks shadowing Big Thought in summer 2018.

Sergio, August 14, 2019

While I’m sitting at the airport terminal, waiting to board my flight to Panama, I started to think about the phrase, “creating creators.”  As part of a reverse exchange through YLAI, I get to travel to Panama, and bring a bit of Dallas, TX, a bit of bit of Big Thought and the work we do to empower youth in marginalized communities.  In the initial phase of the reverse exchange, I befriended Betzy Arosemena while she shadowed the work we do at Big Thought for 5 weeks to learn best practices to take back to Panama.  Now, I get to visit her for two weeks and learn from her.

My mind came back to our charge for this exchange: “creating creators”. What does it mean? How do we do this? What a huge undertaking and responsibility. I’ve always considered myself a creative person and felt comfortable creating in my own sense.

But, how do you teach someone else to be creative, to be the best thinker that they can be, to look at what’s outside the box and figure out how to get there?

That was the challenge I was presented, and I had to figure it out.

I’ve only been at Big Thought for little over a year, and was charged with this task of “creating creators” as part of my everyday job.  I learned that in, our 21st century workforce, creative thinking and emotional intelligence are being recognized as top skill sets that employers are seeking. In an age of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and technology, we have to cultivate creative thinking and emotional intelligence in our youth for them to thrive in a future workforce.

We are coming into a “Createconomy.”

At Big Thought, empowering youth to build their creative muscle, develop social and emotional skills, and shaping their authentic voice are our core elements. Now it’s time to take that work internationally with my friend Betzy. We thought, “What could we do to create creators?  How can we meet the needs of youth in Panama using the skills she learned while shadowing Big Thought?”

That’s when we came up with Festival Napita. Taking a page from our Dallas City of Learning initiative with our Turn Up events. We decided to create a “makers fair” where youth are the creators of their own product and their own business.  Working with a local orphanage and in collaboration with Arckalab and Dandelion Media, we hope to inspire youth and give them the skills necessary to live beyond their life at the orphanage and be the leaders of their Createconomy.

Read Sergio’s Week 2 Experience

Big ThoughtCreating Creators Internationally

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