Our 2018 Annual Campaign: #HeartwoodVan

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Who We Are

Almost three years ago, we took the bull by the horns and started Heartwood ALC, Atlanta’s first Agile Learning Center . We wanted to create a mixed-age school for independent learners: A place that honored young people’s innate curiosity about the world around them and a culture made from meaningful connections.  We didn’t want to wait for this school to emerge, our kids needed it now.

So we built it! We opened in 2016 and last year, our 2nd year, we did more than we ever could have imagined.

  • We found our semi permanent home in Clarkston, GA, just 5 miles east of Decatur
  • We doubled our enrollment from 12 to 25
  • We hired a 3rd facilitator
  • We got our first grant from 4.0 Schools
  • We launched Atlanta’s first Self-Directed Education Learning and Liberation Summit
  • We solidified a partnership with Pricewaterhouse Cooper's BXT program  where our school gets access to donations in exchange for our kids giving feedback about pitches by new entrepreneurs

The Impasse

We love our new home and what continues to unfold here. But now, we need help expanding our programming. Our young people want to get out into the larger community and we are at an impasse.  Last year, we averaged large outings twice a month based on the availability of parents to help us drive. This required a heavy time commitment from parents and time-consuming coordination from the staff. Despite these challenges, we went to North Georgia to view the solar eclipse, Stone Mountain, Dunwoody Nature Center, The High Museum, MODA, Yellow River Park, the Swaminarayan Mandir Temple, Decatur Library, Charis Books, YMCA and more. What we learned from those few trips was that being out in the community exponentially fuels student learning. The young people love it and they want to get out more.

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The Opportunity

But…We need a van. A big van.

Before we get to that, there is one quick thing you should know about Heartwood - we would not be the school that we are without the endless support of our parent community. Our parents serve on the board, help with marketing efforts, show up to teach classes, help with administrative tasks, help clean our space, build stuff for us, coordinate guest speakers, help with fundraisers, table events, speak at info sessions, host students to visit their jobs, the list goes on and on. If we continue to rely on our parents as drivers, it takes away from the time they could use to serve towards other important efforts.

But a van … Having a passenger van would relieve parent overload, free staff from the effort of coordinating drivers, and double our field trip capacity!

Our young people want to see, serve, experience, try new things and connect with others. We can do all of this and more with a passenger van.

Just think about all the time you spent at a desk or in front of tests as a youth. Imagine that, instead, you were connected to an inclusive schooling environment that followed your interests and your lead. If you wanted to go somewhere, your teachers would facilitate it.  And your friends would join you! That's what we aim to do at Heartwood and having a passenger van will allow this to happen more frequently and more fluidly.

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If we buy this van, here are the things students have expressed interest in doing so far:

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  • Volunteering with Hands On Atlanta
  • Volunteering with Atlanta Food Bank
  • Attend National Black Arts Festival 
  • Attend PRIDE festivities
  • Going to Noahś Ark Animal Sanctuary
  • Chattahoochee Nature Center
  • More trips to MODA
  • Center for Civil and Human Rights
  • Coca-cola museum 
  • Protests at the Capitol building
  • Visit the ALC school in NC and in NYC
  • Visit other local  alternative schools 
  • Visit a nursing home considering partnership with schools like ours.
  • Visit Tellus Science Museum 
  • Visit admissions offices of local colleges
  • Help transport to internships
  • Attend a job placement fair at Kennesaw State University
  • Attend the Atlanta Science Festival
  • Take weekly hikes with our Hiking Club
  • Visit the Downtown library
  • The list goes on ...

This campaign is just the beginning. You could call the van Phase I. For Phase 2, well, we’d like to own our own building (oh, the opportunities we could provide with our own space!!) But more on that later. :) Right now, we just need some safe wheels.

Watch our social media outlets for news about our campaign to #HeartwoodVAN and share, share, share!

Thanks!

The Heartwood Family