Muffins with Mom at Cowart Elementary

Our mothers are our first teachers, and we teach others the same lessons we learn from them.” – Caroline Kennedy Families at Cowart Elementary School celebrated Mother’s Day with a special “Muffins with Mom” event. Big Thought teaching artist Jennifer Kindert led an art activity for moms and their students. Together, they painted a beautiful

Youth Voice

By, Christian Morales What is one thing every person has, but might not know how to use? A voice. In some way or form, everyone can express themselves. As a matter of fact, some of the most impactful voices are the ones we either refuse to acknowledge or ones that can’t physically be heard.

2018 Adelante Awards

By Christian Morales, Youth Development Correspondent The spanish word ‘adelante’ means ahead, as in exceeding expectations and being above average. Which is exactly what the Latino Center for Leadership Development (LCLD) strives to do for the community. Through the organization’s constant efforts and determination, the LCLD has been making exponential progress in creating a truly

The Trauma of Bullying

By Christian Morales, Youth Development Correspondent Everyone in some shape or form has been involved in bullying. Whether you witnessed it, were a victim or even were a bully. Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. I’ve seen first hand what physical issues can come from bullying, most from

What does Black History Month mean to you?

By Christian Morales, Youth Development Correspondent February: the month of love, pride, and history. This time of year is special for a lot of reasons, not just because of Black History Month itself, but for the nationwide sense of acceptance and equality amongst the people that inspired the month-long celebration.

Meet Chris: Youth Development Correspondent

We are excited to introduce a new series on the Big Thought blog from the perspective of an alumnus from our youth development programs. Chris has been participating in Creative Solutions for several years, helped create a new online platform for youth voice called We the Person, served as an AmeriCorps intern during the summer,


Students get an in-depth, behind-the-scenes view of the airport Who: Big Thought will be presenting the fourth annual Dallas City of Learning Turn Up! At Dallas Love Field, along with Dallas ISD, Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas Love Field and its Centennial Committee, and the city of Dallas. Available for interviews: Kristina Dove, senior partner

How to Support Big Thought with AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that mirrors The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice, like Big Thought (hint hint). Every item available for purchase on is also available on

Dallas City of Learning: Neighborhood Resource Initiative

The Neighborhood Resource Initiative (NRI) offers partner organizations the opportunity to submit a proposal to receive resources to enhance existing or new summer programming to be connected with Dallas City of Learning during the summer. Resources include but are not limited to: Financial, Curriculum, Transportation, Professional Development and Facilities. Proposals were reviewed and scored on

Things to Do with Your Kids During the Summer

Summer is an exciting time filled with fun and exploration! It can also be a time for children to learn a new skill, improve their reading ability or explore the arts. At the Dallas ISD and Dallas City of Learning “Discover Summer” Resource Fair last Saturday, families from all across Dallas discovered hundreds of free

In Search of Real Life Women Superheroes

Studio Movie Grill and Warner Bros. Pictures are looking for Real Life Women Superheroes who “go out of their way to make their communities better places, and like Wonder Woman herself, exhibit power, grace, and wisdom.” The woman with the most compelling story will earn a special advance red carpet screening of the Wonder Woman film,

How To Create a Summer Learning Plan

Chances are that whatever your student might be interested in, there is somewhere in Dallas this summer where they can go to do it! Dallas City of Learning is a citywide initiative to ensure all students have access to high-quality summer learning programs. We encourage you to sit down with your student this spring and

Big Thought Announces President & CEO Accepts Position with Wallace Foundation

For Immediate Release Education nonprofit remains active in addressing needs of Dallas children: narrowing opportunity gap; reducing summer learning loss; and promoting social-emotional learning DALLAS, Texas – Feb. 23, 2017 – Education nonprofit Big Thought today announced that president and CEO Giselle “Gigi” Antoni has accepted a position as the Director of Learning and Enrichment

Social Emotional Learning: Developing the Whole Individual

Social emotional learning, also known as “soft skills,” isn’t a new phenomenon. But it is rapidly gaining momentum nationally as educators, employers and even economists recognize the value of developing the whole individual, not just academic readiness. In this three-part series, we look at social emotional learning from a human interest standpoint, as a burgeoning

The Art of Teaching: Meet Donna Carey

Home Base: Dallas Big Thought History: Carey has been a Big Thought teaching artist since 2010 with the Thriving Minds After School and Summer Camp programs. She’s taught culinary arts, life skills, poetry, visual arts, food photography, performance art and more. Carey coached two America Scores Poetry Slam winning poets during 2014 and 2015, both

The Art of Teaching: Meet Holly Lapinski

Home Base: Wylie Big Thought Teaching History: 16 years, incorporating Learning Partners, Creative Solutions, Make a Connection Through Art programs. Now Creative Solutions, including the summer program at Southern Methodist University and other CS assignments. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Art from Montana State University. Teaching Philosophy: “I just really want them to have a

The Art of Teaching: Meet Mark Shelton

Home Base: Lewisville Teaching Specialty: Percussionist – Marimba, Hammered Dulcimer, Snare Drum, Handpan, Timpani. Big Thought Teaching History: Mark Shelton has been a Big Thought teaching artist since 1987, when the organization was christened as Young Audiences of North Texas. He is currently a teaching artist with the Thriving Minds and Learning Partners programs in

Making Creativity Count: New Year Wishes for Big Thought Kids

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager There’s no stopping the New Year train now. The holidays are rapidly becoming a rear view mirror memory and January 2017 is already cruising along. We have about 360 days to make a mark, to make our imagination and creativity count. So with that in mind, we

Big Thought Intern Jesus Cantú is MIT Bound

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager The news is spectacular: Jesus Cantú, a former Thriving Minds student and three-time summer intern at Big Thought, has been accepted into the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He starts classes during the Fall 2017 semester. Jesus, 17, is a glowing example of the prospering power of

One Line Wonders: Powerful Prose That Cleanses Souls

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Oh those one line wonders. They come at you fast and furious at DaVerse Lounge. We’re talking about young, expressive poets who get up on the platform, face the mic and unleash powerful prose that cleanses their souls as it enlightens the audience. The third DaVerse Lounge

For Tacovia Braggs, DaVerse Lounge Is Essential to Life

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Tacovia Braggs was a junior at David W. Carter High School. She was 16. The perennial wallflower, she buried her head in her poetry. So her spoken word teacher, Darius Frasure, invited her to attend DaVerse Lounge. It was 2005. Tacovia, now a busy, 28-year-old flight attendant,

NEA Chairman Jane Chu Learns Secret Poetry Handshake During Dallas Visit

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Jane Chu knows a secret. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman was officially welcomed into the Raul Quintanilla Sr. Middle School DaVerse Poetry Club with the secret handshake. Students christened Chu as an honorary member during her Quintanilla visit Monday afternoon, November 28, 2016. Big

Thank you Big Thought

Question of the Season: What Are You Thankful For?

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Thanksgiving is upon us, and that essentially means the year is on its way into the history books. So this is a great time to take stock, to reflect on the positives in our lives. It’s the season to be grateful. What are you thankful for? We

Six Word Stories Station Engages DaVerse Lounge Crowd

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Six Word Stories took DaVerse Lounge by storm last Friday evening as 88 attendees stopped by the Six Word Stories station and wrote down their personal tales in half-a-dozen words. We were blown away by the engagement, and the thoughtful stories. Here’s a small sampling of the

One Line Wonders Empower DaVerse Readers and Receivers

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager In a word: empowerment. Yes, yes, that word usually describes the DaVerse Lounge experience, whether you’re reading on the stage or receiving in the audience. But this one, this DaVerse Lounge event Friday, Nov. 11, at Life in Deep Ellum, was especially empowering. We had homeschooled sisters,

DaVerse Lounge Covets Six Word Stories

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager What’s your story in six words? Is it a heartbreaking, painful tale? Or is it love and light? Maybe you share something clever, funny. Perhaps it’s exercise for your creativity. Share your six word story soonest. DaVerse Lounge is the event Friday. Life In Deep Ellum, the

Vivacious Thriving Minds Student Is a Bundle of Sunshine

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager That vivacious smile and boundless energy belong to 5-year-old Asiyale Thomas. She’s in kindergarten at Highland Meadows Elementary School. She’s also a Big Thought Thriving Minds After School student, having spent the last month in the program. Asiyale, a bright, friendly bundle of sunshine, couldn’t wait to

Rachel Dupard Found Her Voice With TBAAL, Big Thought

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager From adversity to triumph: Rachel Dupard is living proof. The 21-year-old native of Duncanville now calls Santa Fe home. She’s a first semester senior at Santa Fe University of Art and Design as a Contemporary Music major. Dupard is a singer whose inner voice broke through a

Dade Student Finds Her Future Inside Mobile Tech XPerience

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager It was a pivotal day for 8th grader Asija Woodson. There she was stepping foot inside the Dallas City of Learning Mobile Tech XPerience, the retrofitted RV that’s a technology fountain of inspiration for middle and high school students. It was early August and 13-year-old Woodson participated

Big Thought’s James Adams Becomes Principal Role Model at Charles Rice

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager We need role models, especially today as the world becomes over-burdened by too many people, too much polarization, and too many mixed messages. Kids, now more than ever, need role models. That is particularly true for minority kids from under-resourced families and communities. For them, role models

DaVerse One Line Wonders Stir Audience Emotions

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager The 12th season of DaVerse Lounge splashed onto Life in Deep Ellum Friday, Oct. 7. We welcomed 358 guests, from readers to receivers, for the 3-hour emotional literacy love fest. Among the array of spoken word poets we watched five performers do a little freestylin’. That always

Spoken Word Poetry Essential for Sam Houston Students

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Spoken word is a calling. Engaging in the kind of self-expression that means baring your soul through poetry in front of a receptive audience isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity. The members of the Spoken Word Poetry club at Sam Houston High School in Arlington need this

Fossil Channels Cardboard Challenge To Fit Dallas Trinity River

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager The imagination doesn’t need expensive materials or professional workmanship. All it needs is the freedom to be creative. A little creativity could take on anything, even the expanse at the foot of Dallas’ Trinity River. That’s where the Fossil Foundation, a longtime Big Thought partner, comes in.

Spoken Word Movement DaVerse Lounge Returns For 12th Season

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Your best friend – that free-spirited, creatively sparked buddy that always makes you feel special, worthy – took a summer vacation. But now this cherished companion is back, ready to provide a safe haven for self-expression. We’re talking about DaVerse Lounge, the spoken word movement that’s been

A World of Free Flowing Imagination In a Box

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Remember the days of free play, when the recess bell rang and you and your pals would storm the schoolyard for a game of Hide and Seek, Kick the Can, Tag, Hopscotch, and Double Dutch? You were independent. You were ingenious. You learned to be a leader

Giving Makes Us Feel Good: The Art of Philanthropy

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Giving makes us feel good. That isn’t a simplistic statement, or one intended to cajole fists full of donations. It’s truth, scientifically proven truth. A New York Times story from December 2015 analyzes the “feel-good school of philanthropy,” which falls into two baskets of motivation. There is

Summer Thanks for Another Successful Dallas City of Learning Season

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager Summer isn’t officially over yet. That’s right, you can still wear shorts and flip-flops to the cool pool party. But kids are back in school and Dallas City of Learning is in wrap-up and assess mode. So this is a huge thank you to our neighborhood partners,

Dallas City of Learning Partners: Trinity River Audubon Center

Established: 2008 in Dallas. About: Trinity River Audubon Center, located just 10 miles south of downtown Dallas, is your gateway to explore the amazing resources of the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest. As the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States, TRAC supports a diverse community of plant and animal species and contains a unique

Dallas City of Learning Partners: Tackle Summer Slide

Established: Tackle Summer Slide began in summer 2015 seeded by the Commit! Partnership in the South Oak Cliff community. About: Tackle Summer Slide is a collaborative effort to reverse summer reading loss by ensuring access to online curriculum, instruction from trained reading specialists, and learning incentives. Organizing partners include the Commit! Partnership, Dallas Afterschool, Dallas