The Diverse Learners Coalition could not be more thrilled to launch at this year’s Education Revolution Conference hosted by Parents Education Network.
I remember the first time I went to the very first event, it was 2009, and I was in fifth grade. I recall that year being the hardest year, there was not many nights where I would not break down crying in the midst of my homework and my mother helping me with every move. I felt that I was years behind my peer group and success was not in sight that time. That was, until I first set foot in Ed-Rev. I listened to the inspiration speakers from Student Advisers for Education (SAFE), but I particularly remember a specific speaker, who had gone through troubles way worse than what I had gone through and had achieved success at a very high rate. For the first time I realized that regardless of my Learning Differences (LD), I could be able to succeed. Four years later, I was fortunate enough to become a member of SAFE where I learned to advocate for myself, and what I believed in.
Through a long process of hard work and determination, I have become able to understand my self and the way I learn, and with that, I have learned to advocate.
With that, I have come to the understanding that life is too valuable to label students like me with disabilities. For too many years, we have focused on the weaknesses and stretches of individual students and forget to realize the importance of the amazing gifts that all these students have. With the launch of the Diverse Learners Coalition this year, we plan to do just that, maximize the fullest potential of every student. Because we cannot afford to lose so many intelligences.
It is through this process of growth that I have met this amazing team of individuals who I am so honored to co-found the DLC with! I met my dear friend Ben Engel on a basketball court at the beginning of middle school, the new beginning of a new chapter in my life. We instantly became friends and we both learned how to advocate for ourselves at SAFE. As I began to expand my horizons to look more nationally, I got in touch with Zak Malemed and the wonderful team at Student Voice! I was put in touch with my dear friend Theresa Soares. After months of deep conversation, and a panel in New York City, throughout the fall we developed an idea to bring together the youth of America who learn differently to make drastic change under the entity of the students. Development took place during the late winter and early springtime, highlighted by the addition of Clement Coulston, who has an array of experience under his belt, and a truly amazing man, along with a presentation at SXSW Education Conference with PEN’s own Laura Maloney at Student Voice Live! This is a Coalition from the students and for LD education community.
As said before, the team and I could not be more ecstatic to show off all of the hard work that we have been putting into the Diverse Learners Coalition. By no means have we come to an end in the road, in fact, this is just the very beginning of the road! There is so much work to be done, and we need your help! You are the life and the blood of the movement, if it does not live within you, it does not breathe. During the course of the next weeks, we look to turn to you to help set up the map for where the Education Revolution road will take us!
We look forward to hearing your stories and in return, encourage you to join our movement by becoming an Empowerer, an Innovator or an Activist! And please, don’t forget to follow us on twitter, and tell your friends about the amazing work we all are doing! Be proud of your diversity and don’t forget to speak up about it!