Charley’s World Episode Thirty-One

Charley was excited about developing a more comprehensive Learning Center and the role it could play in the community. He reconvened with his advisory group of Nellie, Pastor Sophia, Sandra, and Homer. Rather than just asking them to imagine additional services the Center could provide, he wanted them to imagine the impact that learning could have on individuals and the community. He was especially concerned that the Learning Center not become a rival to the schools.

The list of impacts was slow to generate at the beginning. Most of the impacts were what you normally associate with learning:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Credentials

All of these were the domain of the public schools, and Charley didn’t see much of a role for the Learning Center in these, at least initially.

Nellie provided the breakthrough in their thinking.  “What you did for me was to boost my self-esteem. That was something the schools never did for me.”

Building on this expansive view of the Learning Center, Pastor Sophia commented: “I had a wonderful mentor who helped me understand my life purpose. I’m already seeing that emerge from some of our discussions.”

Charley had a memory of Sam when he said “I think we can help people discover and put into use their talent. I just think we have a lot of undiscovered talent in this community.

Don’t forget developing what are often called soft skills,” said Homer.  “Things like personal discipline, empathy, team work, and communications are critical in the workplace, in our community, and at home.

I’m going to put on my foundation hat”, said Sandra, “by saying we need to develop citizenship skills as well. I’m not talking just about voting. I’m talking about working with others for the betterment of this community and society in general.

“Let me suggest one more,” Charley said. “A lot of what we do here is to develop learning habits. In effect we become that match that ignites the kindling wood, which then becomes a learning fire.”

With that, the group felt they had a great list to start. It was also overwhelming to think about how one small Learning Center could do all of that.

That was the challenge for the next day.

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“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.” – Alain de Botton (Philosopher)