Welcome to our e-newsletter
 Minds in Motion
Welcome to the graduation issue of Minds in Motion! Our May issue is always special, and this one has a tribute to our graduating class, big thanks to our program partners, and words of wisdom from this year's class speaker. Plus, you'll find a Free Minds job opening and links to apply for the Free Minds Class of 2020. Enjoy!
Congratulations, Class of 2019!
In his poem, “Crossing,” Jericho Brown leaves us with these last lines: “I’m more than a conqueror, bigger / Than bravery. I don’t march. I’m the one who leaps.”

The Class of 2019 is certainly one that leaps. They’ve spent the last year digging into Plato's Republic, writing This I Believe essays, studying the United States' long and complicated history, and reciting Hamlet's soliloquys. They are an eager, impassioned group. Now they’re barreling forward with nine months of hard study, discourse, and community-building under their belts.

Celebrating the graduating class was a magic event. As graduate Jadinson Sastre put it, "Today I feel that finishing the process, I have reached that peak at the top of the mountain." Attendees spilled into the balcony, the auditorium’s capacity no match for the outpouring these graduates were met with: kiddos and grandparents, volunteers, community supporters, and honeys alike, all communing to honor the students as they received their medals.

The ceremony included speeches from faculty, partners at ACC, UT Austin, and Creative Action, as well as graduates, who read and offered celebratory remarks. The energy was electric, with graduates cheering and offering standing ovations to their fellow classmates as they took the podium. This sense of community which they have built together is one of the things that will keep them moving forward. And if any of them ever feel themselves falter or feel a small doubt starting to build, they can turn to the 20-person group chat they’ve created via text. It takes a village, as we say, and this crew has created theirs.

As they wrapped their Free Minds experience, student reader April Anschutz left the Class of 2019 with these wise words from her This I Believe essay: "Not knowing can steal your power, but knowledge will help you take it back."

Congratulations, Class of 2019. Onward!

Want to meet our grads? Click here to read their graduation bios.
Are you picturing yourself walking across that graduation stage next year? Or have someone in mind who might fit the bill? We'd love to see you in the Class of 2020!
Visit our website  to apply or find out more about eligibility guidelines, and call
512-610-7961 or email freeminds@foundcom.org with any questions.

The application deadline is July 8, 2019.    

We're hiring!
Free Minds is looking for a Full-time Community Liaison to begin mid-July. This person will take the lead on student recruitment and building community relationships. They will coordinate our community writing workshops, as well as provide administrative support and communication assistance for the program.

If you or someone you know is interested, check out the details here and send any questions to freeminds@foundcom.org. 

Special Thanks to Our Partners
In Free Minds, we may sometimes overuse the word community. But that’s because learning in community is the heart of Free Minds. When we look beyond the walls of the classroom, the time students and faculty spend together each Monday and Thursday night, we find a whole crew of people working to make this experience a reality. We owe big thanks to that extended family of collaborators.

In addition to those who support Free Minds financially and with their time, we are grateful to all who have borne witness to the journey of this year and to the achievements of our Class of 2019. We are grateful, too, for the promise of bringing this experience further into the world.

For our full thanks to program supporters and contributors, please click here .
The Final Word
Each year, members of the Free Minds class select a speaker to represent them on graduation night. This year's speaker, Sandy Wolff, focused her speech on the transforming power of education and her well wishes for fellow graduates. It is excerpted below.
I applied to the Free Minds program believing there would be no way I would be accepted. Opportunities like this would not be wasted on one with a GED, which I received while in prison. Yet I wanted to be a part of this course, wanted to be offered that second chance to prove to myself that it was not too late to begin a college education. When I got the acceptance phone call, I cried; someone was willing to take a chance on my abilities as a student. ...

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Change the world, just a small piece of it anyway, is exactly what each of us saw we were capable of doing by taking the course Free Minds offered us. We are a piece of the world and each and every one of us has grown from the experience and lessons taught, the course leading us to telling our truths. We, as a class, and as individuals, weathered many storms over the nine months we spent in our classroom. At times we thought, I’m not going to make it through this, knowing we wanted to succeed and make it to this evening. We as a community, a family of sorts, have cried, laughed, rejoiced, and taken on a new understanding of ourselves and our educational goals together. ...

I’d like to say to my fellow classmates, WE DID IT! Each of us has grown from the experiences we shared as a group and as individuals over the last nine months. We have become a family, not by blood, but by taking our walls down and showing who we are in the moment, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and expressive. My hopes for you are that you continue to experience growth in your education, and you look at the glass as half full instead of half empty. Each of you has the ability to impact the people around you, to help change the world in some kind of way. As for myself, I genuinely carry you in my heart and I have learned from each of you.
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
Program Specialist: Zoë Fay-Stindt
Classroom Assistant: Irene Salas

Ph: 512-610-7961  F: 512-447-0288