Walden Challenged to Raise $50K to Support Diversity

April 18, 2011

We are excited to announce that Walden parents Jeremy LaTrasse and Shannon Solano have challenged the wider Walden community to raise $50,000, which they will match! They want to see Walden’s diverse community remain so—and grow—by supporting tuition assistance.

Jeremy and Shannon appreciate that Walden gives their children individual opportunities, and teaches them to act as part of a community. They believe that a diverse community is a strong community. Children learn how to navigate differences—including their own—with compassion and humanity by being taught how to do so from an early age within a multilayered and multitextured community.

Walden’s social-emotional learning curriculum helps children learn to voice their feelings and opinions freely and to listen to others well, especially when it is difficult—when they disagree, when they have different experiences or assumptions, or when they are just feeling cranky! Walden children really learn to “use their words.”

Jeremy and Shannon are being supported in their fund-raising efforts by Walden founder Lee McRae, who with others, began Walden as an intentional act of pacifism. They followed Gandhi’s advise, “If we are to reach real peace in this world, we shall have to begin with the children.” Recently Lee reached out to her pacifist friends around the country asking them to support Walden.

As part of their peaceful education, Lee and her cofounders wanted all children to experience the joy of learning, feel self-confident, and develop the capacity for critical thinking. They wanted children to engage in art as an every day experience, not something reserved for artists. Fifty years before experts demonstrated the value of arts in education Walden focused on the arts as the way to teach and reach each student. Jeremy and Shannon see that legacy in their own children. “Our kids get amazing creative training and thus they are led to a love of learning.”

We invite you to join Lee, Jeremy, Shannon, and the Walden community in rising to this amazing challenge. Help us bring another family to Walden who needs financial assistance to attend. You can donate now or mail a check to the Walden Foundation at 2446 McKinley Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703.

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