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Andy’s Update: Why is Creativity Important?

Andy’s Update: Why is Creativity Important?

by Adam / May 15, 2017


The following Andy’s notes will be all about:

THE SEARCH FOR A BETTER EDUCATION SYSTEM!!!

Or: Why is creativity important?

In line with our proud tradition of fearless ideas, BFI is facing a big, three-exclamation-mark topics. Before we get there, though, let me just sum up the past few weeks.

PEG: Last time you heard from me, BFI was racing toward its annual fundraising gala, People Eating & Giving (PEG). I’m happy to report that PEG 2017 was a top-to-bottom smash.

Huge thanks to Fremont Studios for hosting us in their state-of-the-art audio/visual soundstage, which made the evening’s program—starring top-tier entertainers Lindy West, Tacocat, and Nancy Pearl, as well as a corps of amazing BFI students—look like a million bucks. Best of all, by the time the last dime was in and the employee matches were tallied, we met our $270,000 fundraising goal. 

Thanks so much to all the donors and volunteers for helping us carry the BFI mission forward for another year!

Volunteer Meet-ups: Speaking of awesome parties, the week before last, a half-dozen BFI staffers and over 40 volunteers (!) gathered at Greenwood’s Naked City Brewery for our monthly Volunteer Meet-up Happy Hour and, oh man, was it fun. Field trip teams mingled with after-school and high school tutors and Space Travel Supply Store volunteers, the beer and cider flowed freely, and a Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney musical played silently in the background on a wall-sized screen.

One longstanding volunteer proclaimed it “the best volunteer gathering ever”—an honor we’re determined to surpass with next month’s even-more-awesome meet-up. (Volunteers and those who love them: Stay tuned for the date/location.)

Press Praise: Meanwhile, a journalist and blogger who found us by chance was so impressed with BFI children and programs that she spontaneously wrote an article about us. It is so gushy that we’re almost embarrassed. Almost. (Click here to read it.)

Fostering Creativity: Anyway, back to those big issues we're facing. . . . A primary goal of every educational system should be to prepare students to succeed economically, while developing them into people who can lead balanced and fulfilled lives outside of work.

Our current school system, however, favors a one-size-fits-all, somewhat binary approach that tends to measure success by right and wrong answers. Yet, today, many jobs require the ability to problem-solve, work in multicultural teams, adapt to unexpected situations, and yes, be creative. Our world is non-binary. Every scientist and programmer knows that you have to be ready to fail multiple times to solve a problem, and even then, the outcome may not look exactly like what you envisioned in the planning phase.

Some educators, therefore, have proposed an "educational revolution," one that replaces a more standardized approach with an individualized, creative teaching model that fosters each student's talent and interests. (Here's how Sir Ken Robinson explains it in his Ted Talk).  While some teachers and even schools try to take these principles into account as much as possible, it is a lofty goal to expect a paradigm shift, especially at a time when Washington State is struggling to meet legislatively-mandated funding for public schools.

Of necessity, parents and nonprofit arts and education organizations like BFI must foster the creativity, collaboration, and process of self-discovery required to unearth each student's innate talents.

BFI embodies these values in several ways, notably with our free Saturday and summer writing workshops and after-homework clubs:

We have also organized outings to all kinds of learning environments, such as farms, law schools, and tech companies. Visitors to BFI have included librarians, the leader of an African orphanage, and staff of other nonprofits who talk to our kids about the work of their organizations.

All in all, BFI strives to offer kids diverse experiences to build writing skills, inspire creativity, tap individual interests, and support them on their path to becoming fulfilled individuals and engaged citizens, whatever that might look like for each of them.

Managing the Dollars: Now, let me get back to the more mundane tasks of a small nonprofit, such as figuring out how to reduce the vast amounts of paper towels we go through every week! In fact, Dave, our creative director, regularly corrals kids into his mini-workshop, How to Dry Your Hands With Only One Paper Towel. (No kidding! He really does that.

As always, thank you so much for being involved with BFI! We literally can't do what we do without your help.

Thanks,