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  • Sovanna Pouv

    Thanks for sharing your story and the mission of the Imagination Foundation. I guess I'd consider myself as one of the unlucky kids that would be considered "gifted" but wasn't necessarily given that label because of the schools I went to didn't have these programs. I had to earn and learn the skills I've attained in life so far from being involved in after school non-profit youth centers and hanging out with neighborhood friends. I am often forced to think outside of the box because individuals around me didn't do so.

    Many years later, I am giving this opportunity I didn't have as a child to my daughter by enrolling her in music and creative dance programs. She is at the top of her class with wonderful learning and social interaction skills. I believe it's because I wasn't given the opportunity to be labeled as "gifted" when I was younger.

  • Jan Simson

    Well done, Nirvan. It was quite interesting for me in high school, because whenever I stepped outside of the intellectual box the teachers had prescribed for me to be in, I was told that it was a bad thing and I got put back in my intellectual box. After high school, there weren't any teachers to tell me which box I can or can't be in, so I was able to explore and engage with the real world and use my creativity in all kinds of ways that I couldn't have done in high school. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • Elizabeth Stilwell

    I was lucky too. I went to a play-based preschool and was also put into gifted in 3rd grade in Florida. I had many great experiences in gifted: field trips, problem-solving, a group of kids that stayed together through middle school. I felt lucky, but also segregated from the "regular kids" as we called them. Now, as an educator, I know this is not beneficial for either group to view others as more or less able. Caine is gifted, but was probably not labeled as such at school. Let that be a lesson to us all.

  • AngeeBee

    Thanks for your perspective Nirvan. I saw Caine's video last year and loved it! My daughter recently began the gifted program at her school. I have been so disheartened because they spending their time drilling vocabulary words to perform better on test scores. This has changed in 3 short years since my other child was in the program.

  • Christie Francis

    This is simple, but I love the headliner photo above. It's like -- You can see the light via the cardboard tunnel.. or the cardboard leads to the light.. or something. And for Caine, and others, it has! And the light has inspired them and so many others towards GOOD.

  • Joanne Hughes Emanuele

    Agree...I'm a hs librarian in a low economic/academic district and observe on a daily basis the challenge of motivating and supporting a love of creativity in my students. Additionally, the "updated" curriculum has left my colleagues wishing we could return to a time when embracing creativity was part of teaching.

  • Ainsley_Jo_Phillips

    I was one of the lucky ones who grew up thinking of education and learning as fun and interesting. My folks made sure of that by lovingly nurturing me years before I began my formal education. They were never the type to push flash cards in front of my face to try to turn me into a little genius. Instead, I was always allowed to be a kid--but a kid whose mom and dad observed her pet areas of interest and encouraged them. We found people in society who were on the same page with us--and others who definitely were NOT. That last group was known to make trouble for me. However, I ended up coming out the winner in the long run. I'm 60 now and still learning something new on a regular basis!

  • Victor Pineda

    Creativity is inherent in the act of living. Solving puzzles and finding solutions are key elements of any life. As a person with a disability, finding solutions to various physical or social barriers becomes a daily task. As such I am grateful that I was supported from a young age to think creatively. I had a family and a group of teachers that asked me to think through challenges and confront my obstacle with joy, not fear. Although challenges are difficult and can make us uncomfortable, they unlock hidden gifts. Disability can unlock untapped reserves of creativity and through this unlock untapped resilience. Creativity is a powerful tool that helps us through hardship. Creativity is rewarding and unlocks a life of unlimited rewards. We should each aspire to unlock the creativity that lays in ourselves and each other. Thank you Nirvan for all the GOOD you do in the world.

  • BeLinda Creech

    I don't remember having much room for being creative in school but as an adult I enjoy it very much and I homeschool my kids so we get lots of time to pursue creative ventures. My daughter knits and has raised over $10,000 for charity knitting elephants....the awesome thing is that she is part of a very special community and yarn companies and magazines foster her creativity by freely sharing with her and giving her opportunities to develop as a designer and a knitter. She's been in two national magazines this year and a third to be out this summer and she will be part of a wonderful charity project as part of Stitches South in Atlanta. She would like to send a few of her knitted elephants to Caine for his arcade as prizes sometime.

  • Ben Goldhirsh

    word up, Nirvan. There was a post a few weeks ago about a mom who ran a project based learning school and she was trying to get funding for her girls project which was ti build a little house to live in. She was 11. I went to the funding page on indiegogo and it was so cool to see how the effort incorporated so many interesting aspects. I would love to find a school like that.

    • Nirvan Mullick

      That sounds awesome. I tried looking for it on indiegogo, but didn't find it yet. Let me know if you remember the link. I'm also wondering if Josie made the cardboard trampoline... I've met a few awesome adults who went to all project based learning schools, and it definitely seems like a great model for more kids. Check out the Newtech Network of project based learning schools: http://www.newtechnetwork.org

  • Cece Chou

    Caine is really a lucky one. There should be lots of Caines out there. It's awesome that Caine's work could help more kids get rewarded by their creativities. But as long as our education system, especially how universities evaluate students is not fundamentally changed, Caine's sweet story would still be one out of a thousand...

  • VICTORIA V

    You definitely were one of the lucky ones! If only your experience were the model for the whole. I know I'm spending lots of time re-igniting my creative spark having recently come out of the other end of the boring. Thanks for the inspiration, it's amazing to see people doing awesome things in life :)

    • Nirvan Mullick

      Awesome. Glad to hear you're getting your spark back.

  • Mindy Nguyen

    Great article, Nirvan! I think it is really important the education system shifts away from multiple choice tests to more hands-on learning. It's important to keep in mind that not all students learn the same way, and by teaching creativity as a social value, we'll give those students the opportunity to showcase their talents. Compared to the old, traditional education system, those talents are overshadowed and don't get the chance to develop.

    Keep up all the great work you are doing, and I hope your wish for the future comes true (and soon, too!).

      • Jennifer Fischer

        I agree that fostering creativity is crucial. It will keep children excited about learning and they will understand their amazing potential to truly contribute to their communities when they are confident that they can create and be creativity. Even though I was also part of gifted programs, I never really saw myself as creative until I became an adult and discovered filmmaking and the storytelling capabilities of it. I grew up playing the piano, but saw it as an expressive rather than creative endeavor. Now, I am proud to have co-founded a company that focuses on teaching children and teens to create rather than purely consume media. (And that, as a parent of two little guys, I am very aware of encouraging their natural creative inclinations and big imaginations - yes those rocks are trains, of course - oh and the blankets they are trains too). One of our programs right now is with a group of high school students in East LA. They needed some inspiration so we showed them your Caine's Arcade film and they were blown away and completely inspired. They also want to take a field trip to the Arcade. Inspiration and creativity are catching! Here are a couple of youtube links so that you can see the videos the youth we work with have been inspired to make. (Most were made by youth ages 9-16 and we only guide and teach, they do everything from creating the stories to much of the post-production, depending on the age and time length of the class). http://www.youtube.com/user/scvfilmfestival?ob=0&feature=results_main and http://www.youtube.com/user/MrLeo4GenArts?feature=g-subs-u
        I love what you are doing and love seeing all the updates from the Arcade!

        • Lindsey Smith

          Jennifer, thank you for sharing the Youtube channels. I love the "Lego" video; totally cute and I love the end credits. This past semester, I led a "Media Club" at a local elementary school. My team and I built curriculums to educate eight second to fifth grade students on media and its effects on their lives. We helped the children to write scripts, film a movie, and are in the process of developing a class on the importance of advertising. In addition to fostering creativity, I think the class encouraged media awareness and taught the children to be more attentive to media effects. I totally agree with the lessons that come out of your company. I look forward to more posts about education and creativity!

          • MK Monley

            Hello:
            I'd like to give a shout out to Nirvan who has inspired creativity via Caine's Arcade. I teach art at a pre-K through 4th grade school. Last year I switched my teaching practice to Choice Based Art. So when I happened upon Caine's Arcade, it fit in perfectly with what this teaching model encompasses. Fast forward to the International Day of Play - which we participated in - and then we expanded. Through our behavioral incentive program (PBiS) at school, kindergarten students earned “tickets” for respectful behavior, to use to play games that our third and fourth grade students made. It was a choice during art for students to make these games. Over 70 3rd and 4th grade students made games – coming up with ideas, working in small groups, figuring out how to make things work – and then running the games in the gym for the kindergarten students. It was a great event that was enjoyed by all and inspired by Caine and Nirvan. You can find information about Choice Based Art through the Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) website: http://teachingforartisticbehavior.org/
            Here's to kids creating and having choice in their learning. And thanks for your inspiration!