March 2016
Welcome to our e-newsletter
Minds in Motion   
As we mark a decade of Free Minds this year, we're excited about what the next 10 years might bring for our community. Find out what's next for an alum who recently became a nurse and preview our Free Minds 10 bash coming on May 24. Plus our newest (and cutest) addition to the Free Minds fam!
Grace Adams, '09, Finds Her Niche
in Pediatric Nursing

Grace with her son, Griffin, 
at her recent graduation 
While attending nursing school full-time at Cisco College in Abilene, Grace Adams adopted a new approach to her days. "My motto became: short-term sacrifice, long-term gain," she said.
She definitely chose to study nursing with her eye on the long-term. After completing Free Minds, she studied English at ACC, but ended up leaving to work full-time. A couple of years later, she was ready to make a commitment to a career. "It was my mother-in-law who got me thinking about nursing," she said. "She had brought it up before, that she thought I would be a good nurse, but I always dismissed it. Because, you know. Blood."
This time, Grace thought more about the advantages: it's a year-long program, there are plenty of available jobs, and it pays well. But nursing school is intense. So Grace and her family moved in with her husband's parents in Abilene. "They made all of this possible because once I started the nursing program, it was all consuming," said Grace. "If I wasn't in class or clinical, I was studying, around the clock."
The sacrifices paid off. Grace graduated at the top of her class with academic honors and passed her national board exams. (Her son, Griffin, jumped up and down at the news.) She's also been awarded a two-semester full scholarship to continue her education. With her LVN complete, she's taking prerequisites toward her RN. "I knew going into this program that I wasn't one of the ones that was 'called' to nursing; I made the choice for practical and financial reasons," noted Grace. "So I was taking a huge leap of faith. I told myself that the right field would speak to me when I found it."
And it did. After a day on the pediatric floor of the hospital with the "coolest kids," Grace didn't want to leave. She's now set her sights on becoming a pediatric nurse, a career path she happily realizes is a perfect fit. 
Free Minds 10:
Graduation, Reunion, Celebration   

Can you believe it's been 10 years since the very first Free Minds class came together around the table to discuss a short story by William Carlos Williams? To celebrate a decade of Free Minds, we've been in touch with alumni to hear their Free Minds stories and to invite everyone to a very special event on May 24. We hope you'll join us on that day to congratulate the graduating Class of 2016 and reunite with old friends and professors. We'll have food, kids activities and more, so make plans to be there!

Free Minds 10: Tuesday, May 24, 7-9 pm
ACC Eastview Campus (parking available)
We hope you'll join us for our other events this spring... 
2nd Saturday: Invisible in Austin
April 9, 10 am - 12 pm, M Station

Join sociologists from UT who have collected stories of working Austinites to examine the expanding gap between the rich and poor in our city. We'll discuss the changes in Austin's class structure and learn more about urban sociology. Plus, you can enter to win a copy of their book, Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City.    

Annual Reunion Picnic
June 11, 11 am, Bartholomew Park

Let's welcome summer with our annual cookout and potluck. 
Want more details? Click here to view our spring 2016 calendar.  
Welcome Mirabai Helen David
to the Free Minds Fam

Free Minds Project Coordinator Amelia Pace-Borah and her husband, Andy David, welcomed Mirabai Helen David on
February 7. 
Mira (as in miracle) weighed 8 lbs,
3 oz and measured 20.25 inches when she was born. 
Congratulations to Amelia and Andy! We look forward to seeing Mira at Free Minds events soon!

Photo by Olsen Photography
Issue 60        
In This Issue
Grace Adams Finds Her Niche in Nursing
Free Minds 10 and Other Spring Events
Welcome Amelia's Little One
The Final Word: Student Jesse Huling

Special Thanks
Already this spring, 
we've held a hopping college fair and two special 2nd Saturdays. We're grateful for those who helped with these events.

Hector Aguayo
Jaime Ayala
Tracy Canales
Kellee Coleman
Sarita Contreras
Jarmesha Harris
Joe Hoppe
Tung Huynh
Stevie Lopez
Tasha McMillion
Marcus McQuirter
Jhonniece Meeks
Darryl Mobley
Diane Ramirez
Samantha Sherman
Lorena Sierra
Barbara Wilson
Extra big thanks to 
Katie Navine for her dedication on our Advisory Committee. We wish her great things in Dallas!

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

Read one alum's journey through cancer to graduation.

November 2015
KLRU features Free Minds, and one student is having an epic year. 
September 2015
Clemente Course receives National Humanities Medal.

Looking for earlier newsletters?
Visit our complete 
The Final Word
Student Jesse Huling: I Believe in Waving Hello 

This spring, students have been writing essays about what they believe -- the core values that guide their lives. We join thousands of people who have penned "This I Believe" essays since the original 1950s radio show of the same name and the more recent iteration of the project heard on NPR. In this essay, titled "Aloha," current student Jesse Huling shares why he believes in waving to people.

I believe in waving to people in passing, as if to say, "Salutations, I'm right here, and I acknowledge your presence as well." And that's it. Not, "Hi, look at me, I have a favor to ask of you." Nope, just, "Here we are, on the same molten stuffed, polarized, puddled rock, thankfully contained within its own vacuum, flying through space. Here we are at the same time, out of countless others, crossing paths. Hello, I'm doing fine. I hope you're doing well. If not, maybe I can help, otherwise, carry on."
It's a habit I picked up in rural Gonzales County. The nearest store to Pa Richardson's ranch was six miles. Out on the roads the people waved to me, to each other, who they didn't necessarily know. That got fun really fast. I can wave to people and they wave back? What a concept! So I did, and so did they. Once, passing each other at about 120 mph, an older gentleman responded with, not a wave, per se, but he extended both index fingers while holding the wheel, and I thought, "What in the hell is that supposed to mean?" Moving forward.
There are good times to wave and not-so-good times to wave, but around the places we live, it ripples through the community to strengthen the ties. I've watched it happen. The couple with the stroller, that neighbor who drives the jeep, the folks that ride by on bicycles, the kid who didn't look both ways, the lady in the wheelchair who sits on her porch; not only did they wave back to me, but I started to notice some of them waving to others, too. There's a saying that once you start looking for something you see it everywhere. So maybe they'd always waved to others before I cared to notice; maybe it was me who had adopted their wave. After all, how absurd would it be for me to think that I invented the wave? Click here to read Jesse's complete essay.

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
3036 South 1st Street
Austin TX, 78704

Project Director: Vivé Griffith

Program Coordinator: Amelia Pace-Borah

Classroom Assistant: Irene Salas


Ph: 512-610-7961   F: 512-447-0288