Practical Item Gets a Meaningful Twist… And Reinforces That All Kids Are Worthy of A College Education
At the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ)—a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the educational achievement gap in north Minneapolis, Minn.—all children are future college graduates. To reinforce the organization’s dedication to helping children and families succeed, Lauren Bedosky and other members of the organization’s marketing team embedded positive messages of educational achievement in every piece of collateral.
At one point, a challenge was posed to create a special gift for children entering kindergarten that both perpetuated the college message and gave the children and their families something practical to use. Lauren considered the needs of parents and children at this stage, and ultimately landed on backpacks stitched with the child’s anticipated college graduation year. She and her team researched backpacks of the appropriate size and price, and coordinated with a local print vendor to have them stitched. The matching red backpacks were a huge hit among parents and children alike.
For many families in north Minneapolis, backpacks are a costly expense. But for the child, the backpack represents an exciting transition in her life. By infusing these highly coveted items with a positive college message, Lauren created a useful item that families will treasure long past kindergarten.
Some People Never Give Up
In 2016, Lauren Bedosky and her husband adopted a Shiba Inu who had been rescued from a puppy mill. They promptly named him Squirrel, and welcomed him into their family. Thanks to the companionship of two other dogs, Moose and Otter, and the gentle and calming presence of Lauren and her husband, Squirrel went from shy and skittish to loving and playful.
Then one day, the unthinkable happened…
Squirrel slipped through a loose board in the backyard fence and took off running. His naturally shy and skittish nature was amplified by the unfamiliar surroundings, and Lauren was unable to catch him before he disappeared from sight. Frantic, she and her husband spent hours searching by foot and by car, calling shelters, setting up profiles on lost dog sites, and alerting neighbors. By nightfall, there was still no sign of their dog.
The next twelve days were like a bad dream. Lauren and her husband were in a state of constant alert and action. They monitored websites, posted flyers and lawn signs, and even recruited an army of volunteers to help search. Each took turns reassuring the other that Squirrel would be found, and spent nights tossing and turning with worry.
Finally, after days of hearing and seeing nothing of Squirrel, their efforts began to pay off when reports of sightings started flooding in. Lauren and her husband plotted the sightings on a map, and eventually tracked down Squirrel’s hiding spot less than two miles from their home.
One afternoon, with dog Otter in tow, Lauren was able to coax Squirrel out into the open. It was the first time she had seen him in nearly two weeks. While he was considerably thinner, he became playful the moment he recognized his canine friend. But even with Otter’s comforting presence, it took three patient hours and two gas station cheeseburgers to lure the wary Shiba close enough for Lauren’s husband to grab his collar.
Relieved beyond words, Lauren and her husband brought Squirrel back home for a happy reunion. Coworkers, friends, family, and acquaintances were all shocked that they had searched for so long. But for Lauren and her husband, giving up was never an option.
Sixth Grader Confronts Principal to Resolve Lunchtime Drama
Imagine you’re an 11-year old child who, after spending all morning listening to your teacher’s lectures, looks forward to socializing with your friends at lunch. Then, imagine that in an effort to maintain order and discipline, the vice-principal demanded you and your classmates were to spend every lunch sitting in virtual silence.
This is what happened to Lauren Bedosky. And she immediately decided to do something about it…
Using her passion and writing skills, she wrote a strong letter to the principal of the school. In it, she argued that the vice-principal’s move was unjustified, unreasonable, and fostered an authoritarian environment where she and her classmates were in constant fear of being reprimanded.
A day after delivering the letter, Lauren was called into the principal’s office for a face-to-face meeting. Though terrified of the potential consequences, the sixth grader faced the principal because she believed her cause was just. Lauren also knew she wouldn’t forgive herself if she backed down from the challenge. So she walked into the meeting prepared to argue her points.
The principal posed several questions, each of which Lauren was able to answer with thought and care. By the end of the meeting, he was impressed by her courage and convinced by her arguments. Shortly thereafter, the principal ordered that lunchtime return to normal. For the remainder of the school year, the students were able to relax and enjoy their free hour without threat of reprimand.
View samples of Lauren’s work.
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