Project Kinect
The Social Change Firm For the Modern World
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by Stephanie Riedel

While you probably recognize, “that’s what she said!” as a joke, here in Madison it’s also a show that’s changing lives. Thought up in 2011 by Molly Vanderlin of The Bricks Theatre along with friends Miranda Hawk and Karen Saari-Pausch, they imagined a show where women could come together to find strength and share stories of their lives on stage with an audience.

Every show starts with a theme such as resolution, mother-load, lie or perfection and a group of six to ten women. Rehearsals start with a meet and greet where the women discuss the theme for that show and read what they have started writing. For the next month the cast breaks up into smaller groups that meet once a week to workshop what they’ve written with Molly leading them.

The whole process is emotional, powerful and sometimes extremely difficult. Even the most benign stories can lead to some pretty powerful places as the women explore them, which is exactly what makes this show so special. Past stories have included buying your first house as a single woman only to find you’ve got a roommate: a mouse; starting new Christmas traditions after your old ones were torn apart by divorce; that time you were in college and ended up working as a cocktail waitress in a strip club; having your first orgasm at fifty while coming to terms with a marriage that brings you both joy and absolutely no sex; coping with migraines that seek to destroy all the relationships around you; and being an adoptive mother trying to maintain her place in her child’s life as they meet their biological mother for the first time in India. Stories are unique to women, but reach out and transcend gender, race and age.

The women who perform are always from the community. Some of them have experience in performance, but not writing, others are writers, but not performers, still others have never done anything like this in their lives. The one thing they have in common is they are all terrified and they are all brave.

This August is their ninth show, themed Crave and marks the third year in the That’s What She Said run and this show may be the most important one yet with stories of addiction. Rehearsals start July 13th and the show runs August 20th-21st with eight women performing at The Brink Lounge (701 E. Washington Ave). Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door, or at brownpapertickets.com.

***For more information check out the group’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TWSSBricks, or call (608)358-9609.

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On Monday, June 29th, Project Kinect’s founder, Gregg Potter, produced a program on WORTFM to illustrate the organization and have a conversation about positive social change and community engagement. He invited Sara Alvarado from the Alvarado Group, Amy Kesling from Sustain Dane, and Tariq Saqqaf, from the Madison Mayor’s Office to have an in-depth discussion on, ‘What positive social change looks like on an individual level?’ These change agents will discuss different definitions of positive social change and how each of them identify as an agent of change. The goal of this open dialogue is to build capacity to agents of change in Madison in the diverse life roles we play.

In a city like Madison, we must celebrate our social change and always remember how individually, we all make a difference.

You can listen to the show now on WORT’s Website.

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Let’s Eat Out! has some amazing things coming up! 

  • Summer Concert Series

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Let’s Eat Out! has asked Project Kinect to assist in a four part pilot summer concert series at Burr Jones Field in Madison, WI. The series will be three concerts in June 21st, 28th,  & July 5th and a final concert, the “Fall Food Cart Festival”, on September 27th. The concert series would include the presence of local bands (3 bands for each date), six food carts representing LEO!, A beer trailer representing a local brewery, a sponsored children’s area, and a specific nonprofit benefactor for each event. Project Kinect’s role with the concert series will be to assist logistics for the events while outlining the process for giving donations to local nonprofits. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please check out the Let’s Eat Out! sponsorship page.

  • Internship Program

The Let’s Eat Out! Internship Initiative, in partnership with Briarpatch Youth Services, will target youth between the ages of 16 and 18 from economically challenged communities around the city of Madison who are seeking unique skills related to food service and entrepreneurship. The internship will not only provide a steady summer job (at $9 per hour), it will also provide external correlated training and the potential for long term job and entrepreneurial development.

In addition to providing valuable work experience and other training, the Let’s Eat Out! Internship initiative will also provide mentors for youth.  Food cart owners will serve as mentors for their interns and offer an up close and personal look at what it takes to manage and operate a small business.

Unlike other internship opportunities where interns often work at the bottom-rungs of the company, Let’s Eat Out! interns will be trained through day-to-day interactions with the owners of the businesses they’re working for.  The business owners will provide valuable guidance and insight on all aspects of small business management. Additionally, interns will be involved in labs each week that will assist to strengthen and add to their skill sets.

If this is something you would like to support financially, then here is where to donate.

If you want to volunteer,  here are great volunteer opportunities provided by Let’s Eat Out!s weekly dinners.

 

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Project Kinect is so happy to call Madison, Wisconsin home for so many reasons.  One of the biggest reasons however, is because Madison is filled with forward thinkers and positive social change makers. One of them is Rebecca Ryan. She is the founder of Next Generation Consulting, is a futurist, an author, and a public speaker. And basically, she rocks. A couple weeks ago, she published a little piece on her Facebook page, “I am a Liability to the Status Quo” that we found brilliant.  Here it is in the entirety:

I am a liability to the status quo.

Last night, I was having drinks with the executive director and the chairman of a board I serve on. They shared another board member’s response to my strategic ideas: “You know,” he said hesitantly, “Rebecca’s a fighter. And she’s W A A A Y out there…” He was pointing to the future, or the edge of his vision. I’m not sure which.

I felt a little guilty about this. I wondered if I’d put our chairman or ED in a bad spot with this other board member.

So I slept on it. And I’ve come to this: if you want to preserve the status quo, if you don’t want to stretch your vision, I’m gonna make you uncomfortable. And I’m willing to fight mightily for a future that benefits all of our children. Here’s my secret: in every meeting, I imagine a row of chairs occupied by kids I’ll never meet, people who will be born long after I’m dead. And I think about what decisions I can make today that will benefit them.

That’s not “out there” in the future. That’s in here. (I am pointing to my heart.)

So screw anyone who wants to judge me because of their lack of comfort with the future or their discomfort with conflict. Future generations aren’t going to look back on us and say, “Thank you for maintaining the status quo. Thank you for continuing with your consumptive, environment-killing, selfish ways. I know that’s what made you comfortable, and I’m so glad you valued your comfort over my future.”

Hell, no.

I’ll continue to be a liability to the status quo. And I’ll work my face off to help others do the same.

‪#‎mytruth‬

If you want to see a little more of Rebecca Ryan’s brilliance, here is a video. It is a few years old, but still embodies her forwardness, honesty, and greatness.

 

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Project Kinect is working on a food access initiative in Madison, WI.  We have a lot moving in the right direction but we have a ways to go.  Tulsa, OK on the other hand is already succeeding at this type of initiative. They have the Food on the Move Initiative that is kicking butt with using mobil food trucks and mobil grocery stores. The Food On The Move, mobile food initiative, is a collaboration of food and health experts and community partners to mobilize good quality food into hard to reach economically challenged areas, helping combat hunger in Tulsa and Oklahoma in a new way.  What they’re doing should be, and can be replicated through out the country.  Great job Tulsa!

 

Check out the Food on the Move website to see a great video about what is happening.

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For Immediate Release


Social Change Firm Launches in Madison

Project Kinect will make its official home Madison, Wisconsin


Madison, WI, January 12th, 2015: Project Kinect will be officially launching in Madison, WI Monday, February 23rd. The week will be filled with events, Meet Ups, and community engagement activities. The culmination of the week will be the first annual Social Change Forum that will be held Thursday, February 26th, at the Goodman Community Foundation.

The Social Change Forum’s theme this year is ‘Using Privilege to Become More Inclusive’. The goal is to better develop advocacy skills to make room for everyone’s voice and bring a more inclusive community to the table when planning and developing. This one day event will bring together interested parties in Madison to openly discuss and articulate how we can empower people citywide, thus creating the most impactful community possible. Both organizers and participants will leave energized, connected, and knowledgeable with action items to continue the conversation after the forum. The forum will cost $25 per participant and will begin at 8:30 am. Tickets for the forum can be purchased at EventBrite.

Following the forum, the first quarterly Social Change Happy Hour will take place at Ale Asylum at 6pm. Food will be provided and drinks will have special discounted prices. Social Change Happy Hours are open to the public.

Project Kinect is a firm that connects resources and tools to people and groups seeking to accomplish their own positive social change endeavors. Project Kinect can be contracted for single task objectives or can work as a project manager and assist in entire projects. Currently partnerships have been made with Let’s Eat Out, MadCity Bazaar, Goodman Community Center, 100 State, and many more. For more information about Project Kinect and the official launch week, check out Projectkinect.com.

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This last week, Dane Buy Local added Project Kinect to the extraordinary group of local businesses that make up this initiative.  The mission of Dane Buy Local is “to create a sustainable, vital local economy through education, collaboration, and promotion as a nonprofit member organization.”  To date, there are nearly 800 members with Dane Buy Local, and they are the #1 Largest Buy Local Organization in the United States.

Some values and vision points:

• Importance of local ownership and purchasing
• Supporting small business practices and ethics
• Sense of community
• Desire to learn
• Belonging and inclusion
• Sustainability
• Respect
• Value of uniqueness vs. sameness
• Commitment to future generations
• Better quality of life for all
• Building social and economic capital

 

We thank you Dane Buy Local for including us in this very unique and groundbreaking organization.

 

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This isn’t brand-new news, but it is still newsworthy.  This early polar freeze we are experiencing has shaken us all up.  This cold coming early also makes life as a homeless person more difficult. Our founder, Gregg Potter, has worked extensively with homeless populations globally.  His view is that homelessness is not a problem, it is a circumstance.  Each one of us could find an unfortunate path that leads us to life without a place to rest our head. Because it is a circumstance, and not a problem, we need to aid people in their individual situations.

Occupy Madison is taking steps to assist the homeless population in south central Wisconsin. This last Saturday, there was a ribbon cutting for the Tiny House Village.  This village is creating homes that people from the homeless population can partner with to obtain. Each person must volunteer, agree with the mission and vision of the village, and abide by strict rules. The idea is that this will be enough a stepping stone to reach personal goals.

The Tiny House Blog mentioned this:

Occupy Madison, with help from numerous community groups, has built nine tiny houses, a day resource center, laundry facilities and a community gardening space in the village. The 96 square foot homes are made from reclaimed and recycled materials and include a bed, a toilet, propane heat and solar panels for electricity. Each building costs around $5,000 to build and the money was raised with private donations.

There may never be one definite solution to homelessness because each person, with or without a home, has their own story and their own set of circumstances.  The Tiny House Project is a great step towards helping out in specific communities.  Click here if you’re interested in doing this where you live.

Here is a Huffington Post article about the Tiny House Project.

And, even though we assume people know this, a list of things one should never ask a homeless person.

 

As we looked back at the year 2011, we can’t help to look at the political climate over the year as well as the outrage that citizens had all over the country.  Three months after the protests and demonstrations began in Madison, WI, I went for a walk with my friend Alyssa to check out what was happening in the middle of everything happening.  Here is that post as well as the video we took.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to witness everything happening in Madison, WI in the months of February and March but when I arrived into Madison, I wanted to make sure I got the feeling of what was happening over those two months.  Thankfully, my friend Alyssa was in the middle of it which made her the perfect tour guide for this video.  As you watch it, keep in mind that it was the middle of winter, covered in snow with an average temperature of 26 degrees.  Over those two months, there were hundreds of thousands of people with the largest protest maxing out at close to a hundred thousand people.  That was the protest where the state farmers came to support and brought their tractors right up to the capital and drove around it the entire day.

 Also keep in mind what this means to have a hundred thousand people in this space.  Over the last five months, we have been reading and hearing about hundreds of protests in the Middle East from places like Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and so on.  The protests in Madison were as large and in some moments, larger than those.  Americans will rally too and we can’t forget what we can do when we come together.

In this video there are a couple references that are made and just in case you would like to check them out, here are a few links.

Kent State Massacre

Kloppenburg Recount

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to witness everything happening in Madison, WI in the months of February and March but when I arrived into Madison, I wanted to make sure I got the feeling of what was happening over those two months.  Thankfully, my friend Alyssa was in the middle of it which made her the perfect tour guide for this video.  As you watch it, keep in mind that it was the middle of winter, covered in snow with an average temperature of 26 degrees.  Over those two months, there were hundreds of thousands of people with the largest protest maxing out at close to a hundred thousand people.  That was the protest where the state farmers came to support and brought their tractors right up to the capital and drove around it the entire day.

Also keep in mind what this means to have a hundred thousand people in this space.  Over the last five months, we have been reading and hearing about hundreds of protests in the Middle East from places like Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and so on.  The protests in Madison were as large and in some moments, larger than those.  Americans will rally too and we can’t forget what we can do when we come together.

In this video there are a couple references that are made and just in case you would like to check them out, here are a few links.

Kent State Massacre

Kloppenburg Recount