Hip-hop's Common is bringing fresh perspectives to the world of education.
Academy award-winning actor, hip-hop artist, and writer Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr.—better known as Common—founded a non-profit with the belief that education should constantly be evolving to adapt to new ideas.
Common Ground Foundation provides mentorship to high school students and hosts youth-focused summer camps and conferences around the country. They hope to nurture their students to become informed citizens who are active in creating a sustainable future.
“I always believed that if we started with the youth then we would be planting the seeds for our future to blossom,” it says in their mission statement. “Give the children a sense of hope, self-esteem, and love that will better the world.”
What makes Common Ground particularly unique in comparison to other after-school programs is the idea of a reciprocal relationship between student and mentor. Ideas, opinions, and personal interests are welcome additions from students. Common Ground wants students to find what sparks their curiosity and to run with it, whatever it is.
“We have to relate to one another,” Common says. “Teachers have to know how to relate. If we can relate as educators, and teachers and school systems to the youth, they will receive it and retain it. And go out and apply it at a higher level.”
Their programs focus on character development, finding a healthy lifestyle, literacy in global leadership, tech and finances, and the importance of social impact.
Common knows that a little self-esteem and support can go a long way. Through this positive impact he hopes to see poverty go down and education go up.
Feature photo: CultureSaving.com