February 2017
Welcome to our e-newsletter
Minds in Motion   
This month's Minds in Motion offers a view into our spring literature unit. Current student Keante Scott muses on juggling parenthood and student life, and we introduce College Hub Manager Natasha Brockington and her vision to move adult students beyond the GED. Read on!  
The College Hub Offers New Opportunities for Students
Navigating through college from enrollment to a degree can be tricky. Our new College Hub is designed to support nontraditional and first-generation students , like those in Free Minds, pursue their educational goals.
At the College Hub students can explore their academic options, complete financial aid forms, get ongoing support, and participate in college success workshops. The Hub's manager, Natasha Brockington, sees it as the perfect bridge for adult students. "As a community organization, we can work with students and with colleges. Together we can get a lot of people through school."
Brockington came to Foundation Communities after a decade as director of GED and literacy programming at LifeWorks. There she helped youth who had faced difficult circumstances, like aging out of foster care, facing homelessness, or suffering trauma, move forward with their education. But she came to see that people needed more than a GED. Working with adult students in the College Hub was the obvious next step. "They are ready and bring such experience to the table," she said. "They've lived life and seen the path and direction they want to take."
As part of the College Hub, Free Minds can offer even more support to its students and graduates. And more people may find their way to our classroom. "Free Minds is our gateway program," Brockington said. "There's something about being in that classroom that makes people confident. I wish even more people could get to experience it."
Spring Events

Acting the Human Struggle 
with Perry Crafton, director and professor of Drama,
Austin Community College 
Saturday, March 11, 10 am - noon 
M Station Apartments (above the leasing office) 

Tracing the Light of Lucille Clifton 
with Drea Brown, professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at UT Austin
Saturday, April 8, 10 am - noon 
M Station Apartments (above the leasing office)
Class of 2017 Graduation Ceremony
honoring the Free Minds Class of 2017
Monday, May 22, 7 pm 
ACC Eastview Campus  

Click here for a detailed view of our spring events. 
In Free Minds, Both Virginia Woolf and Sandra Cisneros Long for "A Room of One's Own"
Literature Professor Pat Gracia (far left) leads Free Minds discussion.

At first glance it might seem that Modernist British writer Virginia Woolf and contemporary Latina novelist Sandra Cisneros have little in common. But around the Free Minds table, they are in deep conversation. Free Minds students read the two authors back to back as a way of thinking about what women need to create art.

Literature professor Dr. Patricia Garcia teaches Woolf and Cisneros in separate courses at UT Austin, but in Free Minds, she pairs them. "I always felt they spoke to the same audience," she said, "those who, in the midst of the business of their everyday lives recognize the need for solitude, for space, for resources, and for equity so that they can find their true selves."

While Woolf may be immediately recognized as a writer of the English literature canon, Cisneros is contemporary and lived for years just down the road in San Antonio. That doesn't make her any less valuable to study, according to Garcia. "I teach Shakespeare in the fall, so in the spring I want to teach someone whose work has not only been recognized as 'great' and 'important' in its own right, but someone who comes from the same time and experiences we do."
Students agree. Both texts regularly show up on their list of favorites at year's end. So Garcia returns to them, and to her seat at the Free Minds table. Asked why she keeps coming back, she said simply, "Free Minds fills my teaching soul."
Issue 64         
In This Issue
College Hub Offers New Opportunities
Spring Events
Woolf and Cisneros Long for Room of One's Own
The Final Word

Special Thanks

This month, we appreciate the volunteers, college representatives, and alumni who made the Free Minds College Fair a success. A big shout out to:

Tracy Canales,
St. Edward's University
Julie Cuellar-Reck,
Austin Community College
Anne Dapremont,
Western Governor's University
Jill Davis,
Free Minds '16
Samantha Endress, PelotonU
Jennifer Furl,
Free Minds Advisory Committee
Laura Ines Juarez,
Free Minds '15
 Daniel Lopez,
Capital Idea
Jhonniece Meeks,
Huston-Tillotson University
Ross Nelson,
Austin Community College
Jennifer Reyes,
Free Minds '12

If you are interested in volunteering with or supporting Free Minds, you can find more information on our website

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Minds in Motion

November 2016
We honor Free Minds Director Vivé Griffith for her nine years of service.

  September 2016
The Class of 2017 embarks on a year of study and community. 

May 2016
Free Minds turned ten years old and had a big party to celebrate. 

Looking for earlier newsletters?
Visit our complete 
The Final Word 
Current Student Keante Scott encourages adults trying to balance school and parenting: "It can be done."

I am a mother of four beautiful children, ages 1 to 18, who I push to excel in all that they do. Most of my activities are centered around my kids and spending as much family time together as we can. In fact, during the semester break, we spent each evening that I would have been in class doing something as a family, going to the park or the movies, anything to be together. I knew that when the break ended, we'd be right back to rush, rush, rush.

Watching my son go through his senior year not knowing what he wanted to do once his high school journey was over pushed me to go back to school. Education is so important, and I felt the best way to show him that was to further my education through Free Minds. I wanted show him that it can be done no matter what the circumstances.

I still think about one of the very first classes when our philosophy professor Matthew told us, "Do not confuse education with a degree." That has stuck with me since the day he said it. Just because I haven't completed my degree yet, it does not mean that I am not just as smart as the next person who already has their degree. At the beginning of year, I thought, Am I going to be able to do this? Is something going to stop me in the middle? But coming back for the second semester, I just felt excited to see my friends and ready to get back to work. I want people to know that I am a fighter, and I won't give up.

Free Minds is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to continue their education. You will be surrounded by people who take genuine interest in helping you succeed and accomplish your goals. My advice to other parents who are trying to balance school with raising kids is that it can be done. You just have to rearrange your schedule and realize just how precious and valuable your time really is.  

A program of Foundation Communities, in partnership with The University of Texas at Austin and Austin Community College, Free Minds offers a two-semester college course in the humanities for Central Texas adults who want to fulfill their intellectual potential and begin a new chapter in their lives.

Free Minds Project
Foundation Communities
5900 Airport Blvd
Austin TX, 78752

Academic Director: Amelia Pace-Borah

Classroom Assistant: Irene Salas


Ph: 512-610-7961