Below is the announcement that went out last month, detailing the end of what has been over four incredible years. Words can not express the gratitude I have for my friends, family, and the Curiosity Hacked community for their support.
I am, however, excited for what’s next.
Dearest Makers and Hackers, This is BIG news.
When we started teaching new skills to kids though our mentorship programs as Hacker Scouts over four years ago we had no idea how far we would go!
* We have grown from a twice monthly volunteer program at a community space to a 501(c)3 with dedicated facilities running daily programing supporting youth STEAM learning.
* Our guild mentorship program has registered over 50 groups across the country. Members of the first group still meet nearly four years since it started.
* Classes have expanded beyond the technology and the arts to include history and literature
* Daytime classes and our independent learner lab cater to the underserved homeschool community
* After school classes are taught at our locations as well as outreach at multiple Berkeley and Oakland public schools.
And throughout we’ve received glowing coverage in the press and public radio, and much support from the local communities. There was also that interesting hassle with the Boy Scouts of America.
Curiosity Hacked has been an all consuming passion project for Chris and myself since the beginning. We have loved every moment of working with the children and seeing the delight in their eyes as they make a new connection or become empowered by new experiences. The thanks of the families, the refrain of how they ‘wish this was around when I was a kid’, and the joy of seeing parent and child working together; it’s kept us going.
As you know, I announced a few weeks ago that I would be stepping down as Executive Director of Curiosity Hacked. In the past year and a half we’ve tried to transition more of the responsibilities of running the organization to paid staff and away from volunteers and myself. Paradoxically, though maybe not surprisingly, that has actually increased much of the administration required. This load has placed undue stress on our health and family. We began to look at the options of replacing me or shifting to a community model and found that there were complexities to each path we could take.
After taking everything into consideration, we have decided that the best option for us at this time is to close the Oakland Lab. I realize this may come as a surprise to some of you, but I assure you this decision was not made lightly. It is, indeed, the best thing I can do for myself and my family at this time. We are still making decisions on the fate of the organization itself.
On the upside, I will be continuing to teach my own classes in my personal studio in Berkeley, which has all the equipment the Lab does, and will allow me to focus on the small ratio, more complex, and deeply rich classes that I am passionate about. I am still dedicated to the independent learning community I started with an amazing group of home/unschooled kids. It will also allow me to say yes to many projects and educational consulting work I have been previously unable to take on, and feel called to do. As Jana Stanfield says: I can not do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good I can do.
I am deeply grateful for you and your kids. I hope we can continue this journey together. Of course, I will keep all of you in the loop via our website and social media.
We're a homeschooling family in Sunnyvale, and are looking for resources for our 10-year-old who is very interested in exactly the kinds of projects that apparently went on in your recently closed fabulous-sounding Oakland facility.
We are still pretty new here (less than two years). I contacted curiousityhacked in the past and tried to find a local Hacker Scouts group but was never able to reach anyone to get more information.
Now that you have a studio in Berkeley, I see you have some classes that sound great but unfortunately are not possible for us to attend weekly. Do you have plans for something like "Open Studio" space, or one-day workshops? If so, would love to be on your mailing list. Also, I'd be happy to spread the word about anything you are planning to the homeschool community, especially regarding events in the South Bay area.
If you have info or contacts (perhaps current Hacker Scouts leaders?) to suggest I'm interested in reaching out to them as well...Thanks so much for any information and best wishes to you in your newest venture.
Rina Davis, Sunnyvale