On the Road Collaborative has kicked off YEAR 2 of the program. This year they welcomed 87 Skyline Middle School youth to their day 1 event. This organization, founded by Brent Holsinger, creates an entire pathway of opportunity and support for young people from middle school through high school graduation. Our connection to On the Road Collaborative began last year. Deborah Smith and I, along with Eastern Mennonite School student Erin Hostetler, took on the challenge of teaching 5th and 6th grade students architectural design.
Over 11 weeks this past Spring we met with the students in the 6th grade computer lab for 1 1/2 hours each week to learn about design. What an incredible opportunity for us to teach young minds that will one day run our city the importance of design. This often overlooked idea, design, impacts every aspect of our lives. Design creates places for conversation in our homes, communities, downtown, and in our places of work. Design impacts our health, energy usage, access to natural light, and the health of our streams. That is a lot to cover in 11 weeks with young minds at the end of their long day. So we called on our friends and had guest speakers join us each week to talk about architecture, building, civil engineering, building science, structural design, building code, and even marketing. Through this 11 week course where the students each designed a house they were also exposed to the broader world of design and how the human mind impacts so many more things through design decisions.
The broader goal will not be realized for many years – to help influence these young leaders to understand the importance of design. Perhaps some will enter into a profession where they will design solutions to reduce our impact on the environment, but all will experience the impacts of design and hopefully realize that we are living what we have designed. The immediate goal, they designed houses that were cool and imaginative, is that they know Deborah, Erin, and I care about them and want them to succeed.
On the Road Collaborative is such a wonderful organization and is giving these students a gift. It is also an organization that is giving this community a gift by opening up possibilities for these students to see the world in a new way. If you want to change the future? Mentor those that will be the change. Support On the Road Collaborative as they empower the next generation.