Jersey Grad Celebrates MLK Day with ‘Bag of Dreams’ for Newark Teens

mlk-kids.jpgWhen Landmark Education graduate Cinda Gaskin grew up in Harlen, there wasn’t a lot of dreaming. “If you were lucky you got a job and got a roof over your head,” she says. When Cinda started Landmark’s Self-Expression and Leadership program last fall, Martin Luther King Day was a few months away. She realized she wanted to have King’s dream of a better world for all of us be felt and realized by those who hadn’t had the opportunity to do much dreaming.

kings-dream.jpg“In many places, there’s a lot of things that take people away from their dreams; gangs, poverty and so on,” she notes. “My dream is that all children, especially those in urban areas, understand that there are lots of career opportunities available to them, not just what they see around them. There are lots of careers that are completely off the radar screens of most 8th graders. I want to bring those options to the forefront now–Before they enter high school.”

With all this in mind, she brought a “Bag of Dreams” to eighth graders at the Burnett Street School in Newark, New Jersey on January 25th, just after King’s birthday. The event started with talks from a variety of successful people from a variety of professions–Spreakers included a museum curator, a minister, a sound specialist who worked in TV and film, a photographer and more.

Then the students were allowed an opportunity to discuss their own dreams of their lives–Something some of them had never done publicly before. “There were people who wanted to be choreographers, computer game designers–Everything!” says Gaskin.

dream-map.jpgFinally, each student was given a ‘Dream Bag’ full of useful and inspirational material. Contents included a Dream map with Dr. King’s dream on one side and their own map with a practical outline for their vocational dreams on the other side. There was a card with a Dr. King quote signed by a volunteer. There was a career and salary information booklet. There was a CD with inspirational material including speeches by Dr. King. Finally each bag contained a finely made ‘Dream Journal’ with a pen.

Gaskin has realized the potential to expand this project to many different schools, and she is already speaking to other principals about ‘bringing the Dream’ to many other places. For more information or to get involved, email Cindy at [email protected] or call Andrea Hogan at 973-534-2636. For more great pictures of the event, go to Bryce York Photography and look under Events and Dream Bag Project.

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