Author: Annemarie M. Grassi, Ph.D.

The Flawed Leader

For the past 15 years, I have developed and grown an afterschool program model from its infancy serving 20 kids in a church to serving over 600 kids across three cities, demonstrating incredible success rates. By all means I have been deemed as a visionary, strong, competent leader.  Each year as we get larger and stronger, the pressure mounts as the praise continues, and the expectations build.  ...

The Fragility of Freedom

It is the eve of November 8th, Election Day, a critical and contentious moment in our nation’s history. I am currently sitting on a bus sandwiched between three teenage boys, all three who are much bigger than me, and who after several hours of driving are starting to produce a scent I like to call “teen spirit”. We are enroute back to Cleveland from a two-day college tour, among...

The Challenge of the Selfie and the Great Social Experiment

As I write this blog entry, I am driving back on a large charter bus with 50 high school students, after spending the last 3 days exploring the many adventures that the great city of Chicago has to offer. A high-energy experience filled with museums, college tours, tilting over the John Hancock Observatory, deep dish pizza, and even an evening swim. Throughout the last three days of this fun-fille...

Can You Alter Unconscious Bias? Changing the Conversation.

On Saturday morning… the City of Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs anxiously awaited the verdict reading of the Michael Brelo case, a white American police officer who stood on the hood of a car and shot fifteen rounds into the bodies of two black Americans who sat in the front seat of the car. There is nothing right about this situation and there is nothing right about the verdict, whic...

My Why: Understanding Education as a Pathway to Freedom

My belief for why I do what I do is quite simple. I firmly believe that every child should be afforded the right to a healthy childhood, a fair and equal education, and a strong network of support that navigates and guides that child’s future. Education is the sole key to our freedom and to our ability to advance humanity forward. Unfortunately, as a society we have failed to fully realize t...

Hugs are Free Today but Tomorrow they’re a Dollar

Over the last few years, I have become known as “the lady who loves hugs.” When I visit any of our campuses, the kids come running ready for a hug, while others sit back and wait for me to approach them. Regardless if they run or wait, almost every single kid extends out their arms awaiting the embrace. For 13 years, I have wholeheartedly embraced the belief that we must hug our kids. ...