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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 12.15.2023

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

“You’re invited to Mingle with and Muddle Through the things that Matter to us.


At this event we will also introduce the B-Unbound, mentorship program as an opportunity for Cooper Union Students to mentor New York City Public School Students.”


Being back in NYC right before the holidays is one of my favorite times to come home. When we first started The Met, we would take the entire school to NYC. During that time students made choices around their interest around where they wanted to go all over NYC. I took a group to Brooklyn and walked over the Bridge. Danique went up to Harlem. Others went to Greenwich Village, Central Park Zoo, The World Trade Center, etc. At 7 pm, we all ended up at The Rockefeller Center Tree and took a group photo, no selfies then, and afterwards back to Providence. Early on, it was one of the ways we all bonded as a school. This time, I still went to The Rockefeller Center Tree with Scott and after that it was a walk to Cooper Union for our first book talk at their Civics Lab Project space where Scott, Zelia and I had a discussion facilitated by David Gersten (BPL Board member and Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies at Cooper). The crowd was a mix of students, professors and administrative staff with a few friends showing up including our magician friend Mark Mitton who entertained us at McSorely’s for hours after the talk. Casey showed up for both talks and added loads to the conversation around the IBPLC. Charlie made the trip from Montclair, NJ and talked about Harbor Freight Fellows. The next day was more meetings. One with Lara Evangelista about a new school merging BPL and Internationals practices and with Andrea Pizziconi about work in Kenya. Then off to The Hub on 149th and 3rd in Da Bronx. I’m really glad we had the opportunity to use these spaces for the talks. Jeff Palladino and some staff from Fannie Lou Hamer came along and some longtime friends showed up like Dorothy Dunn. Carey Duff drove in from Massachusetts. The night stretched into dinner and a late-night stop at KGB’s. Book talks are strange events. You never know who is going to show up and what the follow-up will be. In these cases, although different the places made them really special. There’s follow-up as well specifically around the development of these sites and B-U Centers.

Fixing, Repairing, Mending and Maintaining 

Since the beginning of Harbor Freight Fellows I’ve tried to figure out how fixing, repairing, mending and maintaining can have their own version of Harbor Freight Fellows. Last weekend, I put together a proposal about the many reasons why this is important and how to develop it.


Here’s the Introduction:

In a world dominated by fast-paced consumption and a throwaway culture, the art of fixing and repairing is rising as a crucial skill set for the future. We propose an exciting initiative that invites students to immerse themselves in the world of fixing and repair businesses, offering them a hands-on experience that goes beyond the classroom. Through this program, students will have the opportunity to meet with skilled repair professionals, learn the intricacies of repair work, and understand how to run a successful repair business aligned with their unique interests that also lead to their spirit of entrepreneurship and the start-up of their own businesses.

As usual Stuart Brand’s perspective is not what we all might think and for that reason alone it is a good read. There are very well-thought-out positions on climate change and consumerism that surprised me. Here's an early Electric Car circa 1912

New Ways, New Forms and New Measures

Danny Corwin, Executive Director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, emailed that Fortune and Capital & Main (expanded version) published Rick Wartman’s piece titled “College for All Has Failed America. Can It Be Fixed?” Rick lays out how CTE is underfunded and points to needing a whole new system. Almost 30 years ago, BPL and The Met were specifically set up with Federal dollars and the State of Rhode Island to do just that. The problem was and still is exactly what Rick points out. The policies around No Child Let Behind combined with College for All took all the oxygen out of the education space and left little room for anything else. Well-intentioned but ill-informed foundations and the USDOE joined forces in the name of equity to create policies that led our future to look almost exactly like our past. I’m glad Rick put it out there. We are not The only ones thinking this way.

And this just in….

An article from Florence, South Carolina about a grant we received from Power:Ed for our Harbor Freight Fellows Initiative where the skilled trades classified as non-clinical work but still a large part of running a hospital is a site for youth apprenticeships. Crishell and Charlie opened up this avenue with tremendous growth potential. Environments like these where the skilled trades thrive but are not readily apparent to the public or schools are places, we have always assumed would open up for Harbor Freight Fellows.


Next week, I’m off to Kauai for meetings with Kapua and Mel where we will work on Namahana School becoming a great place of North Shore youth, families and community and a new way forward around Hawaiian ways and BPL.



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