Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Finding Your Passion: Ihi (passion) and the River City Youth Foundation

Dr. Greg Cajete wrote a landmark text on indigenous education titled "Look to the Mountain." He described an indigenous approach to achieving a fulfilled life, through understanding:
One's true face (character, potential identity)
One's true heart (soul, creative self, true passion)
One's foundation (true work, vocation).

I've attended several recent events that have revolved around the theme of passion--passion in expression, in celebration, and in finding fulfillment in the workplace.

The WIPCE conference in Aotearoa-New Zealand closed with a live performance event at the Waikato Stadium, an event called Ihi, the Maori word for passion. Billed as a celebration to "stimulate our pride and inspiration as indigenous people," the evening featured performers including Anika Moa, Whirimako Black (I have 3 of her CDs, including "Kura Huna" and "Honou Te Rongo/Cultivate Peace"), top reggae group (Katchafire), and Ash Puriri, billed as New Zealand's own Barry White.

Our School of Information's December Commencement event was held on Saturday, 10 December. Gretchen McCord Hoffmann, President of the Texas Library Association, gave the commencement address on the theme of "Live Your Passion." She spoke about finding your passion, sharing your passion, and keeping your passion ignited.

Today I spent several hours with the staff at the River City Youth Foundation, located in east Austin, it provides young people, ages 6 to 17, with a safe place to learn and grow. About 300 neighborhood youth attend computer lab sessons, participate in YTV (youth TV), and in other programs such as "I Can Be Me," a new program designed to reduce teen experimentation with drugs and the culture of violence. Over 500 attend RCYF events, such as the Greater Dover Springs March for Neighborhood Pride. One of my three doctoral students, Pedro Reynoso, will soon join the RCYF staff as a technology trainer. The location offers many opportunities for practicum, Capstone, and independent studies for iSchool students who might help organize data collection for ongoing program evaluation, grant writing, project management,Web site usability studies, and face-to-face training.
RCYF is a wonderful location where one can ignite the passion for professional service and see that spark continue in the lives of many young people.