24 June 2012

The Dream Defined

In the documentary The Lottery, Harlem Success parent Karl Willingham describes his frustration with those who protested the opening of a new charter school in Harlem, New York:
I get emotional about what these children can have. You watch these parents protesting; you want to grab them: Do you remember when you were a child and you wanted to be an astronaut, or a scientist, or President of the United States, and you couldn't because no one taught you which direction to go to get there? So wanting to be an astronaut seemed as far away as the moon, which it's really not that far, but no one told you that. And you just don't want to see anyone else missing out just because no one told them they can have it.
This month, I received my acceptance letter to the Civic Leadership master's program at Lipscomb University. The program aims to help students utilize the resources available through government, non profit, and for profit avenues to accomplish civic goals such as my desire to expand business opportunities to the young and underserved. In hopeful anticipation of my acceptance, I have been working on a way to fund my participation in the program, which begins this fall. Since I refuse to take out additional student loans with such a tenuous potential return on investment as civic work would provide, and scholarships and grants for master's programs are extremely limited, I decided to sell the populace on my ideas.

When I speak with people about my goals, many bring up Junior Achievement or the Entrepreneur Center in Nashville. Both bring real results, but my plan goes further. While I am not yet exactly sure what form my project will take--that's one of the reasons for seeking a master's education, to evolve my ideas--I do seek to distinguish whatever I do from existing programs in a way that would reach people not yet cognizant of certain business opportunities available to them. That might involve partnering with an existing organization, or I might create my own. However the program takes shape, the goal will be to end the cycle of poverty and dependency by empowering people who might not otherwise pursue an MBA or start their own business to establish security for themselves within an existing job or by creating new jobs.

To better understand my goals for this degree, you can download my admissions essay here. If you think there might be even a smidgeon of merit in that idea, you can then help me achieve those goals and help me afford tuition by purchasing a copy of my Business Plan for America for $5. (Update: This has been removed due to embarrassing failure and subsequent lack of confidence in it's quality, but leave a comment if you'd really like a copy.) Beyond the initial goal described above, I have been working for over a year developing a new plan for our country outside of the current political stream. Some people don't believe $5 is enough to charge for this plan, as nearly 7,000 people will have to buy in to cover the cost of tuition. For five bucks, though, nearly anyone can afford to buy in, and I hope that the Business Plan for America will go viral. It does not seem unreasonable to me to think that 7,000 people in the world would want to learn about and support a different means of moving the economy. In fact, I challenge Nashville, especially, to tap into our well-documented entrepreneurial spirit and invest in the idea of an economic and cultural renaissance.

If you believe in teaching people skills instead of offering them a handout; if you believe that the poor deserve an opportunity to revitalize their own neighborhoods through their own devices; if you believe that children will be better prepared for a job when they understand how businesses work; or if you simply believe in our right to pursue happiness and want to preserve it, please support the dream. Then, use the buttons below or the Share link at the top of the screen to spread the word. Let no one live without achieving their dreams because no one showed them how to do it.


Anonymous said...

Love this. Hope and pray you succeed. Keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Outstanding plan! God be with you on this endeavor!

Donna Wheeler said...

You are an amazing woman, Christine! Can't wait to see what you are able to accomplish...