When You Refuse To Abandon Hope [and Kids]

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Friday seems a good day to share an inspiring story…

It started out as a way to engage a small group of kids who’d been given up on. High-schoolers, most hanging on by a thread.

The same old way of doing things hadn’t worked. Schools had largely given up, and so had the communities around them. But a small group of mentors found themselves unable to walk away. These kids, they believed, we extraordinary. They had heart, grit and purpose. And an ability to learn on an exceptional level. It just had to be unlocked in a different way.

So, instead of a classroom with textbooks, they chose a garage. Every week, what began as a ragtag group of at-risk kids and volunteer mentors, ranging from automotive engineers to architects to marketing and tech execs, gathered together to find a different way to light a fire in these kids souls. To open to gates to learning a different way. One that was hands-on, all-in. The project was called MindDrive.

They set a quest. To tear apart, then rebuild a formula 1 race car as a revolutionary new electric car. Accomplishing the quest would take hundreds of woman and man hours (maybe thousands even), hard work, from fabricating to engineering to design. And all those things that held no appeal in the classroom – math, physics, communications, chemistry and tech – would need to be learned to complete a mission others said was impossible.

What came out of this experience blew every participant away. Kids who supposedly couldn’t be taught lit up with the desire to learn more in months than they’d done in years. Bonds formed, trust emerged…and a family came together to pull off something extraordinary.

As I write this, a team of MIndDrive kids and mentors are taking their quest to an entirely different level…

Having completed a radical electric rebuild of a high-end Lotus street car, they’re now a week into a two week coast-to-coast glory lap. They’re driving the car cross country to prove to the world what’s possible when you have faith, when you commit to the impossible and when you lead with service, science and love.

The whole way, the kids and their mentors are sharing the journey, stopping in towns to show off the car, answering questions, tweeting and facebooking up a storm and being interviewed by media.

And every day, they’re posting video updates to let us all share in the journey with them. To see the pride, the smiles, the connections and the growth.

People say education is broken in the U.S.. And on the whole, I agree. But while others fight out the myriad of ways to fix it, visionary groups of selfless innovators step up and act, on whatever level they can, to create experiences that operate outside the limitations of the system to inspire hope, knowledge and connection today.

So, go follow along their journey. And, if you’re so inclined, you can even “buy a mile” to help fund their cross country trip and raise your hand in support not of the dream they’re chasing, but of the vision they’re owning.

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7 responses

7 responses to “When You Refuse To Abandon Hope [and Kids]”

  1. Experiential learning…game friggin’ on!

  2. Ameena Falchetto says:

    This is so incredibly inspiring. I am all for experiencial learning. I know I never cared much for school and ended up at uni totally unexpectedly and went on to do a masters. Everyone, it seemed had me down as someone going nowhere.

    I do often question if I could have set up 4 businesses before I was 30 had I not gone to university. Guess it is the chicken or the egg scenario.

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s something for the think box when it comes to my daughter 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing this (I just bought “a mile”). Such a great, innovative idea!

  4. Jack Durish says:

    This program is no anomaly. I used to do the same thing with boys who were incarcerated at a juvenile detention facility. I taught them to sail (and slipped in lessons in history, science, math, etc.). They excelled even though their teachers had long before given up on them. Thank God for people like those who created MindDrive.

  5. Now this is awesome sauce! I tell you – One #BrainDowload at a time dude 😉

  6. […] Fields did a great post last week about Minddrive, a program where “at risk” youth work together with mentors to convert a Formula 1 race […]

  7. […] Jonathan Fields showcases an inspiring story of what happens when you don’t give up on hope and kids. […]