Rudy Barbee is an educator and master networker in Los Angeles, California. He finds great stories and sends them to Bob Barboza for posting on Kids Talk Radio and the Super School University channel.
Find A Tree:
For the past five months I have shared with you photos from my life. I post these not out of vanity, but to share with you how I have lived my dreams.
In the late 1990s I lived in Ghana, West Africa. There, I met twin brothers Jonas and Jonathan Antingdui, who dreamed of having a school of their own, but had no resources. I advised them to “find a tree and start their school there.” The brothers began teaching a few students and soon they had 100 students coming to their school under a tree. Seeing their success, a local businessman gave them a building to use as their schoolhouse. One day, Jonas and Jonathan invited me to see their schoolhouse—and at that moment, my life changed. I witnessed the power of finding a tree and getting started.
I returned to Los Angeles in June 1998 and realized that many Americans were not living their dreams, despite our country’s material wealth. I reflected on my own life experiences and how I was able to meet people and accomplish my dreams. I recognized that throughout my life, I had dreamed and employed the “find a tree and get started” strategy. I wrote down my thoughts and called the publication How to Live Your Dreams: Find A Tree and Get Started. I summarized my dream-building strategies into the Find A Tree Program and Principles.
For sixteen years I have worked with male and female juveniles in prison; students in public and private elementary, middle, and high schools; as well as with college students and adults who are living unfulfilled lives or who are seeking a pathway to their dreams. I have often worked with the students whom schools had given up on. Find A Tree has successfully transformed incarcerated young people as well as low-performing students and has helped the college-bound students achieve even greater success.
I am convinced that despite an education system that is failing, there is hope. That hope is a called Find A Tree: the key to unlocking students’ potential.
As evidenced by the testimonials of educators and students alike, one simple question is altering the lives of students across the country: “What’s your dream?”
Our kids deserve to know the joy that comes with finding their passion and pursuing their dreams. They’re meant to wake up each day with fire in their eyes and hope in their hearts as they prepare to achieve their dreams. However, each day in schools across America, students are filled with hurt; they have lost hope, lack motivation, and do not have a dream.
With 8,000 students dropping out each day nationally, according to a report by the Los Angeles Unified School District, it is clear that students have given up.
It’s time to make students whole again. It’s time to restore their faith in themselves and their futures. It’s time to empower the next generation with hope, motivation, and a dream.
It’s time for every child to find their tree and get started.
On Friday, November 27, 2015 at 12:00 noon, we will have a digital video premiere of the Find A Tree Vision – “”Hope For American Education.”” This video will be available here on Facebook and you will be able to “attend” the premiere by watching the video online on your favorite electronic device. This video embodies my life’s work for the past 16 years. I hope you will watch and share this important video about transformation and achievement with your friends and together, we can offer the nation a strategy to address the education crisis.