Emotional Imprint™ at Street Squash
In 2012 we were given the opportunity to put Emotional Imprint™ into action at Street Squash, a Harlem-based youth enrichment program that combines academic tutoring with squash instruction and college preparation. During the summer of 2012, Street Squash invited us to design a pilot project for their middle school students.
For one week, we turned the Street Squash classroom into a microcosm of adult society. We assigned students “future selves,” complete with careers, incomes, and tax brackets. The 60 students discussed their feelings about their jobs and incomes in relation to their classmates’, calculated their taxes, learned how the government uses those taxes, and explored the perspectives of our political parties and candidates. They designed posters and made oral presentations. Studying current events, they discussed the importance of reading closely for context and understanding the perspective of others – “putting themselves in the other’s shoes.”
In this summer program, we challenged the Street Squash kids to consider their unique emotional imprint, imagine the emotional experience of people from different backgrounds, talk TO rather than AT friends from across imaginary divides, and imagine new ways to effect social change. The work was engaging, the discussions lively, and the atmosphere fun.
Our collaboration with Street Squash continued over the next five years, with afterschool programs that served approximately 20 teenagers every semester.
‘Why do we have war and what can our generation do about it?’
In January, 2014, our Emotional Imprint interns led a forum, “Why Do We Have War, and What Can Our Generation Do About It?” They interviewed Dr. Vamık D. Volkan, a four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee who has led mediation efforts on the world stage. He is globally renowned for his work on the dynamics of prejudice, ethnic conflict and the forces that lead to war.
Lord John Alderdice, a key negotiator who helped bring peace to the conflict in Northern Ireland during the 1990s came to speak with our high school students in New York City. During the discussion he answered their questions, including the primary question posed in this ongoing series of videos – ‘Why do we have war and what can our generation do about it?’
(Videos by Sheryll Franko and Falling Awake Productions.)
Divides: Students Reflect on Intergroup Conflict
In 2014 we added an innovative internship for eight of our StreetSquash students. In 2016 our interns collaborated with students at Hunter High School to continue to study the work of Dr. Volkan and create the Divides e-book.