Checking in with: Making the Write Choices

It’s Testing Phase, and we’ve been making the rounds to participate in our Youth Challenge cohort’s events throughout Chattanooga. We’ve talked about these solutions for 6 weeks. Now we get the chance to see these solutions in action.

Laura Brown meets with her group of students, who range from Middle to High School aged, in the Edney Innovation Center. The end goal: writing and publishing a book focused on violence and community action from their own perspectives which will be available for sale.

She began the meeting by working through her exercise “How a Leader S.O.L.V.E.S a Problem”, which is broken down into 6 steps corresponding with the word “solve.” Together, the group took on the topic of social media safety, working from the first letter of “S.O.L.V.E.S”, “Seeing signs of disorder”, through “Seeking results.” As they worked through the activity, it became obvious that social media safety was a personal issue for the group— some of the participants had close friends who had been hurt via social media.

S.O.L.V.E.S exposed them to the necessary steps of problem-solving and primed them for brainstorming safer communities, thoughts which will eventually end up in their book. Laura was happy with how the students were quick to engage with the activity and were “challenged to critically think about a scenario and use the steps to connect the dots from beginning (recognizing problem) to end (creating simple solutions).”

Laura is still thinking through the group dynamic, asking herself: who should be included in these meetings? Parents? Adults from the community? Or should it be a youth-only event? As the Testing Phase continues, she’ll be working out what kind of environment is best for creativity and honesty.


Laura Brown practiced keeping her eye on the prize with this inspirational activity from Week 6 of Incubation.

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