about melvin

bray fam apr 07

Assuming that most of you didn’t click this tab to read a full-fledged bio—rather to figure out whether you want to connect—let me start with the short of it: I am a devoted husband, committed father, learner, teacher, writer, storyteller, lover of people, connoisseur of creativity, purveyor of sustainability and believer in possibilities.

The challenge is to find ways to make such ‘noble’ intuitions pay the bills (if I weren’t married with kids I’d probably be homeless :-) ). As my muse, Brudda Langston Hughes, once put it, “An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.”

Thus, I choose to be a social entrepreneur. The way that looks right now:

For the more curious—or those who just have time to kill—the more narrative/descriptive version goes…

Though social entrepreneur may be the more normative descriptor for what I do, up to this point my favorite description of my work is that I grow kids. On a personal level that involves partnering with my bride of 16 years (June 30), Leslie, as we pour ourselves into our three wonderful children—Jaya, Kari & Melvin IV.

On my most enjoyable professional days, growing kids takes the form of some Kid Cultivators project. Kid Cultivators is the nonprofit I founded in the late 90′s and have worked through for the last 13 years to help youth, youth-workers and their families learn habits of sustainability. We teach them to apply the ethics of sustainability to the way they engage ecology, faith, relationships, education, economics, politics, media and art. We currently support home-schooling families in the Atlanta area and facilitate gardening and discovery learning projects throughout the region.

Over the years I have also served as a school principal, program director, classroom teacher, camp director/counselor, curriculum developer, consultant, trainer and general contractor. Prior to founding Kid Cultivators, I even did a short stint on a local television homework enrichment program, for which I was awarded an Emmy™. I also stay active chasing untamed water fowl (Wild Goose Festival), growing generative friendship (Emergent Village) and seeking to re-imagine youth faith development (The Stories in Which We Find Ourselves: A Bible Story Project and Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity). Outside of that, I’m just trying to remain diligent with my arts—writing, teaching and friendship.

My family returned to Atlanta fall 2010 from our two year assignment back at my high school alma mater in the southeast foothills of Pennsylvania. Now “we shall see what becomes of this dreamer and his dreams.”

I hope we can connect.

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