How CHIME IN came to be…

CHIME IN (The Change IMe International) is the flowering of a simple, but pivotal idea conceived in August, 2006 when Kelly Sullivan Walden was first introduced to the UN Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs). She thought, “I bet the solutions to world peace are in the minds and hearts of young people. We have to get the kids in on this!”

That idea soon grew into The Dream Project, an interactive educational program based on the UN MDGs that inspires young people to realize they have the power to transform the world. Engaging the students in a unique use of reverse problem solving, The Dream Project sparks creative and imaginative ways in which to tackle such lofty goals as “Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger” and “Achieve Universal Primary Education” by facilitating access to the “dreaming” part of the mind where, according to Albert Einstein, the solution to any problem resides.

Initially piloted in a 6th grade class at Nimitz Middle School (East Los Angeles) then at an 8th grade class at Celerity Nascent Charter School, the flagship school of Celerity Educational Group, a K-12 charter school system that began in the inner city of Los Angeles, The Dream Project became an instant success with students, teachers, and parents alike. Students became enthusiastic about creating projects to make their community a better place, and parents were happily surprised to hear their children chattering excitedly about what they were doing at school. The Dream Project is now offered school-wide in 20 schools throughout Los Angeles, Louisiana, Ohio, and Florida. To date, over 30,000 students have graduated the program, spreading the roots of Kelly’s initial idea deep and wide.

In the fall of 2014, the idea began to leaf out. Kelly was introduced by Steve Allen (from Steve Allen Media) to the Director of the World Peace Caravan (WPC), Susan Johnson, to adapt the Dream Project curriculum to include young people worldwide. The WPC was planning a peace caravan in the Middle East in December, 2015 and wanted to enlist a contingent of international youth ambassadors to lead the way. An international youth ambassador program for 16-25 year olds became an outcropping of The Dream Project- an interactive, virtual think tank/leadership development program where twelve young people from 10 countries (Pakistan, Nepal, Mongolia, Uganda, Kenya, Dubai, Guatemala, Honduras, The UK, and the US) brainstormed actionable solutions to the UN MDGs (soon to be revamped as the UN Sustainable Development Goals/SDGs) and began implementing them in their respective communities.

The program was in full throttle when complications arose (i.e. growing safety issues in the Middle East), and the WPC put its plans on hold. However, Kelly and the youth ambassadors were deeply invested in both their individual projects and their collective intention, so rather than sputter and die out, they have now budded out as CHIME IN (The Change Is Me International), thanks to a vision of one of the Youth Ambassadors, Mariah Reyes. CHIME IN would like to acknowledge the following sponsors for being instrumental to our success: Celerity Global Development and Young Living Foundation.

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