September 2016
Welcome to our e-newsletter
Minds in Motion   
As students of all ages re-enter the classroom, we are mindful of Mike Rose's words: "A good education helps us make sense of the world and find our way in it." In our September newsletter, we welcome a bright new group of students, as well as a new faculty member, and we invite you to join our journey on the second Saturday of each month. Plus, our graduates offer wisdom for the road ahead. Read on! 
Class of '17 Embarks on Year of Learning

Twenty-four new students and their kids filled the room at our recent Free Minds orientation; among them were a Guatemalan grandmother, a former writing workshop participant, a singer-songwriter, and a Hurricane Ike survivor, each with his or her own pathway into the classroom. After submitting applications, interviewing with Free Minds staff, and taking a reading assessment, students were selected from a pool of 80 applications based on a range of criteria including how Free Minds could help them reach their goals.

For new student Bethanie Holman, her daughter is a strong source of motivation. As she explained, "I got all the way up to senior year and didn't know that college was supposed to be next. As a thinker now, I want to encourage my daughter to think about what she wants to be." The community of young Free Minders also expanded, with 12 new kids taking part in Creative Action, the educational program for kids while their parents are in class.

The theme for this year's curriculum is "Conversations in Humanities," and includes Shakespeare's Richard III, Plato's Republic, the U.S. Constitution, autobiographies of Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass, and more. (You can check out a complete fall syllabus here.)  

Welcome, Class of 2017!
Expand Your Mind with 2nd Saturdays

On the second Saturday of each month, Free Minds hosts a morning discussion on a topic of interest. These are led by a guest expert and are open to all members of the Free Minds community--students and graduates, as well as friends and supporters.

This fall we'll explore philosophical conceptions of God, Lantina/o contributions to World War II, making mathematical thinking fun, and what it's like on the front lines of a community-oriented theatre collective.

Child care is available; a full calendar of topics and dates is available here. We hope you can join us!

Art History Asks, "What Do You See?"
"We live in a world saturated with images," says Dr. Janis Bergman-Carton, Free Minds' new professor of art history. "I t is important for everyone to learn and practice the visual acuity skills needed to read them critically." Bergman-Carton joins the faculty after 25 years of teaching at SMU, and brings art history to our curriculum for the first time. Her unit expands the rich humanities experience of the classroom and brings new dimensions to what students are already exploring. We will look at the art and architecture of Plato's ancient Greece, consider presentation of self in Renaissance self-portraits, and explore how contemporary photography shapes and reflects culture.
Bergman-Carton has been familiar with Free Minds since its founding and has cheered many classes at graduation, so joining the faculty was an easy decision. "I knew that if the opportunity arose to teach in the program, I would jump at it," she says. "There's nothing more exciting than a room full of students who know exactly why they're there and who can't get enough."
Issue 62       
In This Issue
Class of '17 Embarks on Year of Learning
Expand Your Mind with 2nd Saturdays
Art History Asks, "What Do You See?"
The Final Word

Special Thanks

We are grateful to the following organizations for spreading the word about Free Minds:

Ann Richards School, AISD Family Resource Centers, Any Baby Can, Ascend Center for Learning, Austin Public Library, Breakthrough, City of Austin, CommUnity Care, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, Housing Authority of the City of Austin, Las Comadres, People's Community Clinic, People Fund, Salvation Army, St. Louise House, Travis County Human Resources, the Villager Newspaper, YWCA Greater Austin

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

Free Minds celebrates ten years!  

March 2016
A student shares his belief in waving hello. 
Looking for earlier newsletters?
Visit our complete 
The Final Word
In videos collected at our Free Minds 10 event in May, alumni from all years shared their stories; below, discover their suggestions for new students. Check out all of the videos here.

2016 Graduate Racquel Halverson with her family
"School has never come easy for me, but I found ways to study and to take better notes, and the teachers [at Free Minds] have been super helpful to show me that I can do anything I put my mind to. Don't give up...and don't be afraid to ask for help." -Racquel Halverson, Class of 2016

"The relationships with the people you meet in the class are the most important thing that you get out of it. Don't think in terms of knowledge-base or content; think in terms of questions, critically training yourself to ask questions. Don't assume. Commit and really try to show up, because once you show up the rest is easy." - Kellee Coleman, Class of 2008 

"For me, Free Minds set me on the path. I was working, and I wasn't really passionate at the time about what I was doing. And just coming into the class and finding the path that I wanted to take kind of lit that fire again... So I would say, join! Use all of the options that Free Minds has to offer." - Kyle Fuqua, Class of 2016

"You're never going to have the perfect time. You're never going to have the perfect set of circumstances... Take a leap of faith, hope for the best, and it will come through." - Liliana Mendoza, Class of 2011

"The only way we get better is to face fear, and this class is probably the easiest way to face fear knowing that you have a network, a group of people to catch you in case you fall. They won't let you fall." - Todd Readoaux, Class of 2015 

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