Transcripts

The Awesome Foundation

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:41:01
I'm Rebecca Sheir.

MR. ROB SACHS

13:41:01
And I'm Rob Sachs.

SHEIR

13:41:02
And welcome back to "Metro Connection." Today's program is all about dreams and so far we've examined everything from the science of dreaming to visions of Olympic glory.

SACHS

13:41:11
And our next story talks about some awesome dreams.

SHEIR

13:41:17
And that is awesome with a capital A. Two years ago, a man in Boston started a thing called the Awesome Foundation and its mission was simple, to support ideas that would make the world a more awesome place.

SACHS

13:41:29
Now, Washington just got its own chapter this past fall and as reporter Jessica Gould tells us, it turns out plenty of people are dreaming up ways to make D.C. inspire all.

MS. JESSICA GOULD

13:41:39
Bonnie Shaw moved to D.C. last year and she thinks her new town is very cool, but she'd like to see it become awesome. Just listen to her title.

MS. BONNIE SHAW

13:41:49
My title is Dean of Awesome for the Awesome Foundation D.C.

GOULD

13:41:53
And the mission of the Awesome Foundation, she says...

SHAW

13:41:54
Is really to promote awesomeness in the universe.

GOULD

13:41:59
By, yes, promoting awesomeness right here in D.C. In October, Shaw gathered ten of the coolest people she knew, artists, activists and innovators, and asked them to join the district's very first Board of Awesome. Now, every month, these aspiring masters of microfinance plan to reach into their pockets and hand out $100 to support one idea they think will make the city a more awesome place. The winner gets $1,000 as seed money to make his or her dream come true. The only requirement...

SHAW

13:42:32
We want ideas that are knock-your-socks-off, awesome ideas, the kind of idea that you dream about and can't wait to get up in the morning and start doing.

GOULD

13:42:42
The Board of Awesome started soliciting applications in November. It received more than 70 proposals from flash mobs, to musical robots, to kitchen equipment.

MS. FRANCES EVANGELISTA

13:42:51
So the things that we've asked for are things like a higher quality blender and cookware and that kind of thing.

GOULD

13:42:58
Frances Evangelista works at Walker Jones Education Campus, a public school in northwest D.C. The school's kitchen classroom combines urban gardening with math, reading and, of course, nutrition.

MR. JOHN COCHRAN

13:43:10
Anything's like a story. We're going to do the story of this -- these apples and how they become sauce.

GOULD

13:43:17
Farmer John Cochran runs the kitchen classroom at Walker Jones.

COCHRAN

13:43:18
First, we're going to take the apple, we're going to take the seeds out, then we're going to cut the apple, then we're going to season the apple. We're going to toss it in here. Then we're going to cook will apple. And then, we're going to what?

STUDENTS

13:43:32
Eat the apple.

COCHRAN

13:43:32
Exactly.

GOULD

13:43:34
The kitchen classroom came in a close second when the Board of Awesome gave out its first grant in December. The winner was something called the Fab Lab D.C.

MS. PHYLLIS KLEIN

13:43:41
A Fab Lab stands for fabulous and also fabrication laboratory.

GOULD

13:43:48
That's Phyllis Klein, Fab Lab D.C.'s founder.

KLEIN

13:43:51
The Fab Lab consists of a variety of machines that are computer-activated and computer-run.

GOULD

13:43:57
The Fab Lab is actually a 32-foot trailer parked near the intersection of 14 and U in northwest D.C. The outside is painted in a 1960s psychedelic style and the inside is crammed with wires and machines that buzz and hum. The idea, Klein says, is to bring technology to the people, to help them create.

KLEIN

13:44:18
We need ways to experiment with ideas and part of that is building things and making things.

GOULD

13:44:28
The Fab Lab idea started at MIT. Now, there are Fab Labs all over the world. Farmers in Norway use the Fab Lab to track their sheep. Teachers in Afghanistan use the Fab Lab to learn about laptops. Some Fab Labs are mobile, like the one in D.C., others are buildings. And eventually, Klein hopes to open up a brick and mortar space downtown. She says the grant from the Awesome Foundation will help her do it.

KLEIN

13:44:55
We need to be innovative and tap the creativity of a larger pool of people.

GOULD

13:45:01
And that's just what Dean of Awesome, Bonnie Shaw, has in mind. With one grant down and many more to do, the Board of Awesome is reviewing a whole new set of applications.

SHAW

13:45:11
One of the things that has become apparent to me since moving to D.C., is D.C. dreamers are also doers. They find the resources and they really act on their ideas and make their dreams come true.

GOULD

13:45:23
And that, she says, is just plain awesome. I'm Jessica Gould.
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