Even with the best efforts of dedicated public school teachers and administrators, inner city kids inevitably face a major obstacle: Trying to work out how their hard won book smarts fit into the fast-moving world of adult professionals.
Daunting enough for college-bound children from supportive, stable, middle-class backgrounds. But for the disadvantaged, it’s often an insurmountable challenge that can affect even the most hopeful, willing young person—and marks the beginning of a downward spiral to a future as a minimum wage statistic.
That’s the reality that the Knowledge Project has worked to change for the last 11 years.
“THE KNOW”. REWRITING KIDS FUTURES SINCE 1995.
Begun as an innovative literacy program by top TV and film Production
Supervisor Margaret Hunnewell, the Knowledge Project (or “The Know”) was an immediate success with kids and schools across the country. Along with that exposure came an opportunity to learn first-hand what was missing from these kids’ developmental equation.
In response, our expansion began. The Know has evolved from a single
creative writing event held once a year to multiple literacy programs, to a
whole range of ongoing programs: WordWorks, MediaWorks, GreenWorks, FoodWorks, ProductionWorks and most recently, AdWorks.
Each is centered around a specific communications, technology, Environmental or service industry, but has something important in common. The Know may be unique in recognizing the importance of teaching kids basic work ethic and people skills that are the make-or-break factors to success: Teamwork, setting goals, meeting deadlines, researching your market, selling an idea and sourcing outside suppliers and support.
And it’s not just an academic exercise. Under the guidance of senior level professionals, kids get to practice their fledgling skills in real working environments: Industrial kitchens, TV, recording and photography studios, publishers, community “farms”, local businesses and city government offices. Working independently and in groups, students take their first steps to becoming young entrepreneurs by taking their ideas from proposals to marketable finished products.
But the real end product is confidence.
Know kids don’t just discover what careers mesh with their abilities and preferences. The Know shows them that the world of business isn’t a intimidating, confusing place, where only kids who’ve been luckier in life belong. It’s s a exciting, opportunity filled world where they can really see themselves making the grade.