Tuesday, January 7, 2014

We're Choosing to Matter

“It is the diversity in humankind that results in some making positive contributions. It's necessary to have enough to make positive contributions to overcome the problems of each age.” 
― Jonas Salk

What matters to you?  Your answer to that question could take the form of a statement of philosophy or religious faith, a sense of purpose, an ideal, a belief, a value, a relationship with one or more people, passion, performance or love. It could be a person, a place, a thing. Of course there is no “right” answer but chances are that in looking for what matters, you will find yourself looking back at your life and performing some kind of emotional "accounting" in your decision.

Think about the times in your life when you were truly motivated, energized and engaged completely in something. Food and sleep certainly motivate us, so consider the times that you worked through meals and sacrificed sleep for something that mattered more to you. What were you working on or what goal were you working towards? Why did it matter so much?

Have we lost that passion in our lives?  
Do we ever really work on things that truly matter to us anymore?

What breaks your heart?   Finding your passion is really about finding what moves you. Discovering what breaks your heart may be the first step in that direction.

Here’s why:  Knowing what breaks your heart identifies what you find most interesting. When something truly breaks your heart, there is no doubt that you will find it compelling enough to act upon it.  It uncovers a cause you need to be called for – some people call it a “life’s purpose.” It closely aligns your passion and your skills with your environment. Believing the world out there needs what you’ve got is the best motivation to propel yourself forward and create change.

“Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution.” 
― Deepak Chopra

As Angela Maiers says, In my experience, following a heartbreak whether it is your own or the world’s is the single most effective way to help individuals, organizations, and the world discover what they were meant and called to do.

One of the most frequent questions that schools ask is, how can we provide meaning to the work that our students do in school?  

How can we make the work engaging and personally meaningful? How do we tap into our student's passions and creativity? How can we have kids solving "real world" problems? Students at East Greenwich High School will find out on February 13th and 14th when Angela Maiers will come to the school with her Choose2Matter team and we will change the world.

We will also demonstrate all of the East Greenwich High School's Core Values in that process:

Respect: Be considerate of others' ideas and opinions while maintaining personal integrity and self- confidence.
Creativity and Innovation: Embrace flexibility and individuality when explaining and demonstrating knowledge and skills.
Relevance: Link concepts across subjects and make connections to today's global society.
Enthusiasm: Generate excitement and curiosity about learning.
Achievement: Work vigorously to obtain knowledge and skills measured against the highest standards.

Choose2Matter is a movement that challenges and inspires students to work collaboratively to develop empathetic and innovative solutions to social problems. Students tackle real world problems and learn the skills needed in today’s world with a team of facilitators and leaders in an international social-entrepreneurship experience. For two days, the entire study body will work in tandem with national, state and local industry and civic leaders to develop innovative solutions to bring about social change--on a local, national and/or global level.

Choose2Matter demands and builds upon a set of 21st Century success skills that are stoked by what students are passionate about. Skills, habits, and traits that will be exercised and developed include:

Critical Thinking
Problem Solving
Team building and management
Time management
Entrepreneurial Know-how
Open Mindset
Local/Global Awareness
Media Literacy
Financial Literacy
Communication Skills

Students will also benefit from an online library of content resources and “live” experts as they solve problems individually and in working groups. Moreover, students will present their ideas to worldwide audiences, and will be recognized by international and business leaders, civic and industry partners.

As part of the goal to sustain this project venture, the Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship program of Brown University will mentor our students, an arrangement we expect to replicate with additional partners, including the nationally-renowned Business Innovation Factory.

Five-hundred-million young people, including our students, will enter the workforce over the next decade. We need to begin now to nurture this next generation of entrepreneurs and social-change agents through relevant work that is not typically integrated in traditional school experiences and curriculum.

When students believe that they matter, they see the world in a different light, and behave differently. They approach life and work in a manner that understands that their actions can have a positive impact on the world.

The first Choose2Matter experience began at Downingtown (PA) STEM Academy. A class of 300 sophomores participated, on the final days of school before summer break.The students created this video on their own after summer vacation began in which they spoke of how the event changed them, for good.

A quote by the author Viktor Frankl in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, helps frame this mission: “It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us…. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

EGHS students, faculty and the community will change the world in February, I guarantee it....  Stay Tuned.

“Legacy is not what's left tomorrow when you're gone. It's what you give, create, impact and contribute today while you're here that then happens to live on.” 
― Rasheed Ogunlaru


  1. Hello Mr. Chace! I am excited to report that I will be joining you along with four or five of my students from Raritan Valley Community College in Somerville, NJ during your school's Quest2Matter adventure!!!! Mark and Angela have graciously considered my idea to infuse the Quest as part of my pre-service teachers' service learning components for their coursework, and we are venturing to Rhode Island to watch what we saw in the Downington STEM Academy and related videos come to life live with all of you! We look forward to learning and growing and supporting your ventures as we look to travel this journey here for more students in the Education program at the college, their cooperating teacher in the field, and their students, and most importantly, the WORLD! I look forward to meeting you! Be WARM! Kathryn Suk, M. Ed. Program Coordinator and Instructor, RVCC ksuk@raritanval.edu 908.526.1200 x8983

  2. How awesome is that? Thank you so much, Kathryn. The parent and community feedback has been outstanding thus far. For example, I am meeting next week with representatives from Hasbro, Rotary and New England Tech regarding additional expert and human capital investment in the project.

    You are going to be part of something important, and something that I have no doubt will change the world, whether it is in a small, individual way by changing the direction of a student's life through empowerment and understanding that their contributions matter or in ways that will benefit many others through substantial programs, policies and organizations that will be created as a result of our collaborative work.

    I look forward to meeting you and your students and truly appreciate your assistance and commitment to making this a world-changing experience.