How can a playground in California inspire a tutoring facility?

It’s been a big year for Acrodemics.

Colby, Peregrine, and Aidan practice their teamwork
Colby, Peregrine, and Aidan practice their teamwork at Acrodemics

As we approach the end of the school year, Acrodemics ends its pilot run. For the past nine months, I’ve been working with Bricolage Academy, a small charter school in New Orleans, to develop and expand the programming behind my dream venture– bringing AcroYoga to kids.

As it currently stands, Acrodemics is an after-school program that combines elements of yoga, AcroYoga, gymnastics, academic tutoring, and mindfulness. This enrichment program helps kids ages 5-8 learn social skills, self-efficacy, and mindful coping skills that they can take back to the classroom with them.

The Taylor Center has been pivotal in helping Acrodemics get off the ground. Because of the support of the Social Innovation/Social Entrepreneurship program, I have been able to trademark the name of my program; attend a 7-week venture incubator; and make plans for a site visit. The latter only exists because of the Changemaker Catalyst Award. On March 26th, the Taylor Center authorized a Changemaker Catalyst Award to the tune of $750 so that I might visit The Athletic Playground in Emeryville, CA, and learn about how they run their program.

The Athletic Playground is a revolutionary program in California that brings movement classes to a highly underserved population. A not-too-distant goal for Acrodemics is to be able to do the same thing. The Athletic Playground offers a mix of circus arts, AcroYoga, and many other movement arts to the community of Emeryville; as I wrote in my grant application, experiencing a site visit there is the best possible training I can think of in order to develop Acrodemics.

Athletic playground
The Athletic Playground- Emeryville, CA

The Taylor Center, and specifically Rebecca Otten, were unfailingly supportive and communicative during the application process for the Changemaker Catalyst Award. I was invited to apply for Catalyst award after receiving the Alvarez Spark Innovation Award earlier this year, and originally intended to use the award money to attend an educational advancement conference. However, that conference turned out to be invitation-only, and my work with Acrodemics was not yet established enough to merit an invitation. While other granters may have rescinded the award, the Taylor Center worked with me to find an alternative use of the awarded money. We landed on a site visit to the Athletic Playground. After sending an updated budget and itinerary, the change was quickly and easily made.

I can’t wait for my visit! I’ll take some time there to get familiar with the setup, attend classes, and conduct interviews with the founder and operations manager of the Athletic Playground. The trip is currently set for June 21-25 of this year. Watch this space for an update!