Peace. This month’s entry comes from a native Virginian who now proudly calls Texas home. From our fellow grad, Chris Jack, in his words…
“Don’t just aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.” These words shared by Denzel Washington at a commencement speech ring loud and true for a generation captivated by the entertaining self-gratification of modern technology. It has become all too easy to fix our eyes on attending school for the simple purpose of making a living and all too foreign to see higher education as a mechanism used, an avenue taken to make a difference! Concordia assuredly points its students toward that mindset, which inevitably yields exponential dividends in the measurable success of satisfaction in life.
Shortly after graduating in 2014 with degrees in music and behavioral science, I began working with my wife, Lexa, on designing resources and programs which could implemented on a large scale to counter the statistically significant rise in diagnosed neurological disorders among children today. Lexa’s family has owned and operated a preschool in Round Rock called Cornerstone Connection for over 35 years. In her time there, she began to be burdened for children who exhibited serious developmental delays. We wanted to know why. After exploring the relevant modern research and coming to an experiential and academic awareness of the developmental challenges faced by children of this technological age, an idea was born. The Kinectory® would be a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) center where children could receive the specific sensory input they were lacking. Through original sensory products and targeted mechanisms of play, children of all ages and developmental levels would be able to Explore, Discover, and Create® in ways that would highlight their neuroplastic potential and move them toward appropriate developmental milestones.
The program was initially implemented as a portable series of activities at Cornerstone, and it wasn’t long before parents and professionals began to notice the dramatic effects of The Kinectory. It quickly morphed into a permanent room and eventually occupied an entire wing of the school! Now, The Kinectory offers trainings and workshops statewide, as well as internships and a line of sensory products distributed across the country! The Kinectory has received letters of recommendation from local school districts, related businesses, and independent professionals as well as endorsements from a handful of major universities such as the University of Texas (UT) and Stephen F. Austin University (SFA).
Currently, we are preparing to launch a major fundraising campaign to present a stand-alone STEM Center to the North Austin community. We are also partnering with the former investigator of a grant issued to the UT STEM Center as well as a team of staff from the Department of Early Childhood Education at SFA to apply for a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) which would fund a cutting-edge research project for the next 5 years!
As I watch what God is doing through this program, I look back on my time at Concordia and see a wealth of preparation which I never truly appreciated or even perceived during those particular years of my education. Concordia taught me to look beyond the common measure of success, the temporal aspirations of comfort and financial gain, and to look to a more fulfilling existence: a life that makes a difference. Perhaps that difference is meant for a single person, patient, employee, co-worker, student, or child as we originally thought. Perhaps it is meant for something more. We never know what may lie beyond the elusive horizon of tomorrow, but there is great peace and a satisfying joy in making a difference in the lives of others. That is the call of the gospel. That is developing Christian leaders.”
Well said, Chris, and thanks be to God for using you and Lexa to impact and improve a significant part of His world.
‘til next time, take care and be well….