Welcome to the first official Lovelution Tour Love Letter: our virtual newsletter sharing, celebrating, and telling the story of the Lovelution Tour 2014-2015! We hope that opening this e-mail will be like opening a little package of love, as a way to say thank you for being a part of this journey with us.
The Lovelution Tour will be a year-long journey bringing creative programming to children, educators, and communities alike in India, Africa, Asia, South America and the United States. We want to help facilitate self-empowerment and positive social change in communities of children around the world. It’s an ambitious goal, but we are not alone. We believe that we are part of something larger; something that we affectionately, and epically refer to as the Lovelution, a global love movement.
There is an increasing movement of love across the globe born out in the rise of nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurship, volunteerism, and a higher awareness of social responsibility. Youth are increasingly defining success not by their income or their corporate prestige, but by the impact they have in making the world a better place. We are in an era of globalization where we are more aware of and more connected to each other than ever before. People are realizing, more each day, that we are truly all in this together and that the best way to create a better tomorrow is to celebrate and nurture that which connects us.
Our role in this global love movement, this Lovelution, is to teach children to believe in their creative potential and to create positive change towards a world based on lo. This year, we at Project Creo are spanning the globe in that pursuit.
For our first stop on the tour, we landed in India at a school called Shanti Bhavan. Shanti Bhavan is a school in rural India, south of Bangalore, offering free education from grade school through college to impoverished children in the lowest caste; kids who would have no education and no prospects of upward mobility otherwise. Despite the limited resources of the school, they have been able to accomplish miracles through the efforts of committed teachers and volunteers from all over the globe and, above all, a unifying community of love and compassion among its students and faculty. Graduates of Shanti Bhavan have gone on to become successfully employed by some of the largest international financial institutions in the world, breaking out of a generational cycle of poverty with the mission to give back to impoverished communities and carry other disadvantaged children out of poverty with them.
When we arrived at Shanti Bhavan, it was easy to see why their students have been so successful. Students are engaged, eager to learn, disciplined and hard working, and most strikingly, operate from a foundational perspective built on mutual respect, humility, and a sincere appreciation and compassion for others. Young students address each other using phrases that begin with “I’m grateful for…,” “Forgive me for…,” and “I appreciate…” Shanti Bhavan has given these children an education, yes, but most importantly a community of love in how they are treated, and thus, how they treat each other. It was an inspiring, beautiful, and serendipitously appropriate setting to begin our own journey as a part of the global love movement.
Shanti Bhavan is a school that focuses on training for financially-minded professions in engineering, law, business, accounting, etc., but they run a bi-annual arts-camp for the children with the help of one of our partner organizations; ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty). We arrived to teach during this summer camp in conjunction with other ASTEP volunteers. Much of the camp-experience would have been recognizable to anyone who grew up in the United States and attended summer camp as a child: songs, games, enthusiasm and creative play abound. The most exciting part of camp for us was the opportunity to teach several formally-structured classes. The other volunteers taught dance, theater, music, or visual arts, and we ran Shanti Bhavan’s first-ever film classes.
We modeled our classes around the idea of Super Heroes. We wanted to empower the students to recognize, value, and develop those abilities or characteristics that make them different and special, and to use those ‘super powers’ to make the world a better place. We had two groups of students: middle schoolers, and high schoolers. With the middle schoolers we made a trailer for a movie about team of super heroes, and with the high schoolers we created a super hero theme song and filmed the accompanying music video. Both were ambitious projects to achieve with a total of only eight hours of class time, but the students were eager, passionate, and up for the challenge.
As per the Project Creo model, the entire process was student-driven and student-created. The students mapped out their own individual super hero identities based on their personal abilities, perspectives, and imaginations. They then created their own super hero team, their team mission, and how they wanted to tell the story of that mission. They created and performed the scenes dressed as their own personally-designed super heroes. With the older kids, they also wrote their own lyrics and melody to their theme song, before recording the song and creating content for the music video. The week resulted in two completely original, completely student-created short films to be premiered at the end of the week to the entire school and shared globally online. You can see their work below:
Our class of middle-schoolers: the Lovelution Force Trailer
Our class of high-schoolers: the Lovelution Force Theme Song
*Even the name “Lovelution Force” was created by them. We had told them that we were on the Lovelution Tour and they took the name and made it their own.
At the end of the week, we asked our students to give us anonymous feedback to help us improve our creative programming going forward. Here is, in the words of our students, the legacy creative education left them with:
“The thing that went most well for me is the teamwork and the love everyone put in. Everyone worked together, had teamwork, good sportsmanship in the class and spread love. The collaboration made it all the best working class I have seen.”
“You both helped me kick my afraidness of me and helped grow the braveness in me!”
"You have made me believe in what I want to believe – superheroes & all – I never believed in them cause no one else did. But now, I have learnt to ‘be not like dumb, driven cattle.” Now I am a superhero and I will try spreading the idea of LOVELUTION! Honestly we learnt a lot from you, and I will cherish each and every single moment I spent with you. It’s the Lovelution Force! It’s all about love and love is all about. We are exactly where we need to be! Everyone is a superhero! Always believe in yourself. Thank you very much for Everything!"
At the end of the week the students were asked to share the highlight of their week with the entire school. Despite the fact that our class was only one hour of each 12-hour camp day, every one of our students mentioned something about our class as their favorite part of the week. Some of them loved the song creation, some loved the visual arts component, others loved being filmed, others simply loved the games we played, the energy we brought to class, or the songs we sang; but something we did in our class touched each student in an enduring way.
These are all students with limited exposure to the arts as a whole, and no exposure to creating a film of any kind. And yet, they took to the process with the kind of verve that every teacher dreams of seeing in their students. Most encouragingly, they were able to channel all that energy into the act of creating collaboratively with each other, and visibly wanted to continue to engage in collaborative creation again. Project Creo’s goal is empower children to change the world by teaching them to believe in themselves and to create the lives they love. Above all else, we left them with a vivid example of their ability to do just that; believe in your own worth and your own creative potential, and work with others to create something that is born out of love.
These are all students with limited exposure to the arts as a whole, and almost no exposure to creating a film of any kind. And yet, they took to the process with the kind of verve that every teacher dreams of seeing in their students. Most encouragingly, they were able to channel all that energy into the act of creating collaboratively with each other, and visibly wanted to continue to engage in collaborative creation again. Project Creo’s goal is empower children to change the world by teaching them to believe in themselves and to create the lives they love. Through the arts, they have been left with a vivid example of their ability to do just that; believing in their inherent worth and infinite creative potential, and working with others to create something born out of love.
If our work resonates with what you want to see more of in the world, support us by spreading the word. Follow us on social media, forward this Love Letter to friends and colleagues who might be interested, and reach out to us to tell us what you think.
We are in the middle of a fundraising campaign that will allow us to continue our work abroad. If you believe in the power of using the arts and education as an agent for positive change and child-empowerment, or if you just believe in supporting actions of love trying to make the world a better place, please consider donating to our campaign.*
Thank you for your continued love and support, and for doing your part as part of the Project Creo family.
Remember: It's all about love and love is all about!
*as a verified 501(c)(3) non-profit, your donations are tax-deductible.