I am a fixer, and I see a problem. Many students, in the hood that I come from, do not have realistic visions of what they can do in life. Some have never really been out of Oakland and may not know anyone who has gone to college. Most will say they want to be an athlete, a rapper, doctor or firefighter. But there are so many options! And it is so important to understand one’s interests, talents, strengths and goals before entering high school.
As a native of East Oakland, an artist/educator, and mother of three children in the public school system, I strive to bridge the gap in this area with my own family. Now, I want to start the conversation with some of the young children I encounter daily.
My sister wrote a children’s book, called “All That I Aspire To Be”. I am the illustrator. The book features 13 illustrations of an African-American girl dreamily imagining her future career options.
The next step is to self-publish this book through IngramSpark. This will produce hard copies as well as an electronic version. We can then take this book into classrooms at REACH Academy (at the intersection of Bancroft and 98th Avenues) where my son attends kindergarten.
The aim is to use the book educate students about aspirations, career options, and to model a thinking process:
• Print 100 copies of the book for first run • Bring book into 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms (2 classes total, approximately 50 students, each student gets a free copy) • I will volunteer my services as coordinator and facilitator • Coordinate one parent volunteer per class to come read to the whole class (as students read along with own book) • The parents can provide a personal account about their own childhood aspirations • After reading, facilitate a group discussion of the book with guided questions • Work with teacher to provide students with a writing assignment: “What I Aspire to Be” • Donate additional book copies to all other classrooms at REACH
Funded by Oakland, CA (October 2017)