MS. REBECCA SHEIR
I'm Rebecca Sheir.
MR. ROB SACHS
And I'm Rob Sachs.
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.
And our next story talks about some awesome dreams.
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.
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
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
My title is Dean of Awesome for the Awesome Foundation D.C.
And the mission of the Awesome Foundation, she says...
Is really to promote awesomeness in the universe.
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...
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.
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
So the things that we've asked for are things like a higher quality blender and cookware and that kind of thing.
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
Anything's like a story. We're going to do the story of this -- these apples and how they become sauce.
Farmer John Cochran runs the kitchen classroom at Walker Jones.
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?
Eat the apple.
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
A Fab Lab stands for fabulous and also fabrication laboratory.
That's Phyllis Klein, Fab Lab D.C.'s founder.
The Fab Lab consists of a variety of machines that are computer-activated and computer-run.
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.
We need ways to experiment with ideas and part of that is building things and making things.
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.
We need to be innovative and tap the creativity of a larger pool of people.
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.
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.
And that, she says, is just plain awesome. I'm Jessica Gould.
Transcripts of WAMU programs are available for personal use. Transcripts are provided "As Is" without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. WAMU does not warrant that the transcript is error-free. For all WAMU programs, the broadcast audio should be considered the authoritative version. Transcripts are owned by WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio and are protected by laws in both the United States and international law. You may not sell or modify transcripts or reproduce, display, distribute, or otherwise use the transcript, in whole or in part, in any way for any public or commercial purpose without the express written permission of WAMU. All requests for uses beyond personal and noncommercial use should be referred to (202) 885-1200.