Flint has long been an innovation center. It’s well-known for carriage and automotive inventions as well as research and development and entrepreneurs who helped put the world on wheels. It is also the birthplace of community education.
You can learn all about the history of community education in Flint at Applewood Estate’s free Bring Your Lunch and Learn event on Sept. 7 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
A little more than 80 years ago Charles Stewart Mott, co-founder of General Motors, and Frank J. Manley, a Flint educator, launched a “lighted schoolhouse” model in Flint.
The action-oriented plan made use of school buildings during non-school hours to provide educational and recreational programs for students, families and neighborhood residents.
It all started at a tennis match in 1935.
The Mott family was athletic and enjoyed recreational activities and Mott often invited colleagues and community leaders over to play tennis, squash, and other games. It was during a tennis match Mott and Manley first discussed a partnership between the Flint Board of Education and the C.S. Mott Foundation to develop Flint’s Community Education program.
That program became an international model for expanding the role of schools into community hubs. Unfortunately, Flint followed suit with the rest of the nation and phased out much of the program in the latter 20th century. Now, however, community education is now making a huge comeback.
Applewood staff and community partners will share this and more at the free Bring Your Lunch and Learn event. The presenters are Lauren Holaly-Zembo, vice president for community impact, Crim Fitness Foundation, and Malcolm Cottle, collections assistant, Ruth Mott Foundation/Applewood Estate.
You can also walk on the grass in the same spot Mott and Manley came up with the idea.
You’ll also experience first-hand some of the practices now being taught through community education in Flint, including mindfulness and how that is impacting the community. You will be asked to participate in a mindfulness exercise to experience one of the lessons Flint students receive as part of the present-day community education curriculum. The Crim Fitness Foundation will facilitate that portion of the session.
The Ruth Mott Foundation, which owns and operates Applewood, sponsors the free Bring Your Lunch & Learn sessions. The program also relies on community partners like the Crim Fitness Foundation to share their expertise.
If you want to brush up on Flint’s role in community education before you lunch and learn check out this link https://www.mott.org/work/flint/revitalizing-education/.
Each lunch and learn presentation is a mix of historically relevant information paired with where Flint is today. The talks, which help explore Flint on a deeper level, are led by Applewood staff and community partners. The sessions are family friendly and always free.