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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

Come Together, Right Now...Over Me

I have just wrapped up a three session with my MBA program that was focused on our first graded assignment: Coming up with an innovative way to tackle youth knife crime and violence in Croydon (a troubled area in London).

But to start with the Basics - ITEMS I HAVE LEARNED TODAY

Bobbie on the Beat: Police officers on their shifts (I think?)

Plonker: Idiot

Just Shout: Let me know if you need anything, although randomly just shouting out would be pretty amusing

Chocca: The abbreviated version of "Chock a Block" You totally get it now right? Haha. Apparently its a chocolate bar over here and it means full/very busy.

This is it: that's it! I get it! It's a statement made in agreement.

There's a lot going on at the moment. And if I'm going to be completely and totally honest, right now I feel a bit exhausted.

I was supposed to go to a family friends today to celebrate Thanksgiving.

I was also supposed to go and watch one of my really good friends husband dj last night.

I ended up not doing either.

Today I plan on sleeping, legit.

Maybe writing and working on my paper at some point, but getting my energy back up there.

The last three days were great, but I have a TON of work that I need to do.

Our first assignment is a group project to create a 1500 word online portfolio for the Metropolitan Police.

My group consists of Rob and Rachel. We've named ourselves two Northerners and a Yank.

They're great. We all get along and work together really well. The nice part about the last three days is that pretty much everything we were exposed to: a Question and Answer session with the Met Police, an event on Friday night called Youth Matters, lively discussions with my fellow participants, has just served to reinforce our original concept and vision.

Now, we just need to get that vision on paper.

And we only have 1500 words to do it.

You would think that would be easy, but the more I wrap my head around it, the more I realize that there is going to be a lot for me to do!

I'll get there eventually though, maybe after a few naps haha :)

Anyway the week has been great. The highlights have probably been being able to spend more time with my MBA people, and this Youth Matters event.

Music Relief, a local organization that believes in empowering the creative potential/spirit of the youth (something that resonates very deeply with me) gathered people in Westminster to discuss the reality of youth violence and knife crime. They revealed their new program "more than able:" the belief that these youth are more than able to do anything they set their mind to. The Ambassadors of that particular program performed two songs that they wrote themselves. I still get chills thinking about it. It was that good.

I loved the idea and the principles of this particular organization. I loved the fact that the MP and the Bureau Commander of Croydon were sitting on that panel trying to figure out how to be a part of the solution. I loved that Sarah Jones (the MP) is calling for a long-term 10 year plan. I loved that so many people from the Croydon community gathered together to share their passion for for it all, their willingness to work together, to make the future better for the youth.

So its been an intense couple of days. But its been good.

Are we going to be able to solve knife crime and youth violence tomorrow?


Am I currently a bit stressed about how exactly I am going to get my thoughts on how to tackle knife crime concisely into 1500 words?


But do I know we will get there in the end?


Now I just need to breathe.. and well.. maybe sleep :)


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2 commenti

Maria Vandenburg
Maria Vandenburg
19 nov 2017

I love the idea though! Maybe someday you will still get to bring a production of west side story into the world. It’s got some great songs... I’m named after one of them. <3

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Lauren Hines
Lauren Hines
19 nov 2017

So here's a funny story about knife violence and the healing power of music: An org I worked for was once awarded funding to produce a Broadway musical show using a cast of "at-risk" youth. Many of the kids already had criminal records, so we were eager to help bring some art and fun into their world. It was a pet project of a wealthy patron. The patron demanded that we use "West Side Story," a show famous for its knife fight scene. When we suggested other shows and ultimately refused to give these kids knives, even fake "prop" ones, she pulled the funding and cancelled the project. Sigh. Meanwhile, loving your blog always, Maria! <3

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