September 13, 2010
What would you call a center for development open to people of all ages? With an array of programs, workshops and classes spanning culture, performance, leadership, volunteerism? Offering sessions with development coaches as often as you wish? Having the opportunity to grow from all NYC has to offer? And a Global Outreach Department for fulfilling worldly dreams? All this free of cost? The All Stars Project is calling it UX—the U for a university that isn’t a univiersity, the X for the unknown.
I was at the opening of UX on Saturday along with 500+ other people, from 5 to 85. It was staggeringly beautiful.
From the welcomes by All Stars President and CEO Gabrielle Kurlander and UX Dean Lenora Fulani, to the hundreds of children and adults who had one-on-one sessions with Develoment Coaches (who had been trained by young people), to the dance, improv and play reading sessions… I left convinced that NYC was actually healthier by virtue of all the growing that went on on 42 St.
At an early point in the day about 100 or so participants were gathered in one of the theatres for a welcome and orientation to UX. We were asked from the stage what we thought the X stood for. “Malcolm X.” “X-rated.” “X-files.” “A variable.” “The unknown.” It’s all that.
I asked two young people what it was like to train the adults to be Development Coaches. They really enjoyed it, they said. They did a lot of work on teaching them how to ask good questions and to “really listen” to what people were saying. The hardest part, they told me, was how opinionated the adults were.