Education Thought Leader: Bill Strickland

Bill Strickland“Rethink your assumptions about what is and isn’t possible in our lives and convince yourself that you not only have the right but also the responsibility, and the capacity, to dream big and to make those dreams come true.” – Bill Strickland

A few years ago I read “Making the Impossible Possible” by Bill Strickland and I recommend you read it too. It is an inspiring story about his life that starts in the ghetto. After being introduced to pottery and the arts, his life changed. He went on to create programs to help other disadvantaged kids. Today he operates Manchester Bidwell; a centre of excellence for youth arts education and job training programs. It provides opportunity for people who wouldn’t otherwise have it. The impact on the 500 children who take part in the arts programs each year is incredible. “We have doubled the graduation rate for inner city black and Hispanic kids. It is a methodology. We have figured this out.” The centre also offers job training to 200 people annually. By partnering with industry they are able to boast an 80% employment rate after graduation.

Strickland has built partnerships and duplicated his education model around the world. Former eBay president Jeff Skoll is involved in the expansion plans through his social enterprise foundation.

I love this story and hope you will be inspired by his message. I included a link for you to buy the book and to watch his Ted Talk. Enjoy!

Some excerpts from the book:

Nothing is impossible if you have the vision, the courage, and the sheer stubbornness to open the doors to a dream.

Art is a bridge. it connects you to a wider world, a broader experience. It has the power to change a human being. It is magic. People stop defining themselves by what they can’t do and get the first glimmer of what a meaningful life might feel like.

“What happens, particularly to kids who are from difficult economic circumstances, is your hope gets cut off when you’re very young, and you don’t see the world as a set of possibilities; you see it as a set of limitations. … You think of yourself simply as a survivor. What our center is showing is that’s not true. You are an asset. And if you treat people like an asset, they’ll behave like one.”

Buy the book
Making the Impossible Possible

Watch Bill’s Ted Talk