Healing our Divide through “Reach-Listen-Learn-Lead”

There has been a great deal of talk since the last election and the inauguration of a new President of how divided our country is, both in terms of political and cultural views. Part of this divide can clearly be seen on political maps showing how people voted county by county through-out the U.S.  However, very little has been proposed regarding how to bridge this divide and create a culture of understanding and tolerance for others. I am in the process of trying to address this issue from the ground up with an urban and out-state/rural school exchange program. We have to look to our young people and give them the opportunity to help solve this serious problem confronting the very foundation of our democracy. It has become quite obvious that it will not happen through our politicians or most of the "grown ups" in this country. They are too busy going after those who they differ with or don't understand. Reach-Listen-Learn-Lead is a cross cultural exchange program aimed at bringing classrooms of urban and rural students together through electronic and physical exchanges. It is based on the philosophy of existing international cross cultural exchange programs.  It is designed for both Middle and High school age students.  The program is founded on the premise of reaching out to others that are different and listening to their viewpoint on things. This in turn opens up a dialogue that can be the foundation for understanding. This in turn helps develop our future leaders.  Please visit my website at beyondthewallseducation.com and you will find more information as well as a Power Point that will give you more details on how the program works.  I can also be contacted at chris@beyondthewallseducation.com for more information.  It may feel good to preach to the choir, or march and protest (all of which have their place), but we must also be willing to Reach, listen, learn and lead to help bridge the divide.