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Who I Am and What I Do

(…right now…in the ALC context…)

I’m Abby. Yes, it’s a nickname. Yes, with a ‘y.’

I’m NYC-based, presently Holding and co-facilitating at ALC-NYC with @ryanshollenberger. We play regularly with @tomis @abram @bear @drew and other roving ALFs who swing through our space, and we love hosting visitors from other ALCs.

At school, kids come to me to talk about field trips, books, museums, art, plants, languages, history, gender politics, education history, and whatever else they feel like. I show foreign films, lead city adventures (often involving food), and doodle constantly…usually mandalas or flash sketches of people around me. I love playing with kids (and grown-ups). Playing inside and outside…physical games and board games and imagination games.

I also handle lots of the administration stuff that Tomis can’t do from afar, like collecting and organizing paperwork and coordinating student/visitor/volunteer schedules. I also do lots of communication with parents: email threads, texting pictures, posting to Tumblr, and blogging stories as well as reflections. Communicating with parents is really fun for me and comes pretty naturally. It mixes my desire to brag about how awesome kids are, my interest in supporting other on their self-growth/unschooling journeys, and my somewhat compulsive image-making (photos, doodles, doodle notes of conversations and thought trains…) in a way that others seem to find useful.

In the larger network, I don’t officially do much. When specific projects involving explaining what we do (or simplifying/spell-checking other people’s explanations) arise, I love jumping on those. Having lots of experience both working in and critically studying education systems, I feel really comfortable and confident answering lots of different kinds of questions that come up related to ALC. I’ve made myself available to get grilled by business people and professors about what we do, spoken on a Q&A panel, led ALF Summer discussion groups, and contributed to Starter Kit and ALC Network Website content. I also practice informal coaching and heartspace-holding for other ALFs. My server self (ref. archetypes) feels fulfilled and useful when I can support others, and I could easily see myself someday helping with logistics planning for group events (like ALF Summer) which others would facilitate and then showing up to offer one-on-one walks, lunch conversations, and evening salons as my contribution to the experience. I’d also love to do similar small discussion events with parents from other ALCs and aspiring facilitators. Someday.

My non-ALC self loves exploring New York City and the nature around it. I get really excited about sharing those adventures with others. I moved here from outside Philadelphia (Coatesville, PA!), but have also lived in Berlin, Prague, and a village in the Republic of Georgia called Oni. In past lives I was a professional gift-wrapper and bow-maker, event planning intern for an artist in Berlin (Despina Stokou is amazing), equestrian and trainer, garden shop do-everything-person, TEFL teacher, and summer camp director. I went to a self-directed university program where I started out studying story-telling, but then I realized I was interested in the connection between story-telling, identity development, and politics/power structures. Which naturally led me through nationalism development (with Central/Eastern European case studies) to education systems and philosophies (which I’d been studying on the side for fun the whole time).

I have always enjoyed gathering really interesting, wonderful friends and then connecting them…a practice I continue within and without ALC at present. Thaaaat’s all for now!




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