“I was really excited about the opportunity, but I didn’t fall in love with it until we started working on it and sitting down with the curriculum and imagining with my kids” says Nicole Ramos, one of the people who is working with Design for Change in Dallas, USA.
“We were introduced to DFC by our professor, and he connected us to Alfonso Romo (DFC Mexico partner). We met him and we were so inspired about what he’d been doing in Mexico and how it started in India, and from there we said we have to find everything we can about this organization.” Inspired by the successes of Design for Change across the world, Nicole and her friends brought DFC to Dallas, Texas.
The 4 member team in Dallas is helping schools implement DFC. They are currently working with 4 schools and 12 teams, with students ranging from 2nd to 8th grade. Alan, a team member, says “luck had a lot to do with getting schools. Two said yes immediately, but the other 2 were hesitant.”
“One of the big challenges was getting students to trust us,” says Bethany, the third team member. “Another was trying to coordinate with teachers and explain to them what we are trying to do.” “Challenges are based on the kids themselves and how they receive what we try to give them,” Alan adds. “Discipline can be a problem. Not for the groups that come in once a week - they see us as these fun groups coming in. But the groups we see 3-4 times a week can be really challenging.”
But their efforts seem to have paid off. When talking about the impact they have seen on the students, Bethany says “we’ve told them from the beginning – these are projects you guys are going to do, you’re going to complete them! But as we were picking projects with them, almost in every single class we would have a kid raise their hand and say ‘wait, we’re really going to do this? We weren’t just imagining?’ And we say, yes you guys are going to do this! And then they all get excited and can’t believe it because they don’t realize that they can do this. And so watching that mind shift is really just beginning to happen with them and it’s a really big thing.” Nicole also observed a shift. “I was really frustrated the week before because I felt like some of the kids just weren’t getting it. When I heard them go all the way back, I realized that all of that stuff, they got it, they got everything I wanted them to get, and they were applying it now. They made those connections and they’re making them now as they look at their communities…that was one of those, ‘I want to do this for the rest of my life’ moments.”
We can’t wait to see the great projects the kids from Dallas come up with! Best of luck, DFC Dallas Team!
Over the past 5 years of our existence, Design for Change has seen some excellent stories of change. Problems as diverse as waste management to a long walk to school, with impacts from one person to entire communities, have been realized by kids from 6 to 18 years old.
We are now launching this series to commemorate and recognize the invaluable contributions of the progressive, passionate and idealistic individuals behind the scenes who kick-start the efforts, and provide a helping hand throughout: teachers. We would like to give a big cheer to the teachers and facilitators who work tirelessly to allow the children to realize their potential and, in the Gandhian spirit, be the change!