Past years have showed us how much VSM students have enjoyed Be frank, not only that but how much it has helped our children to give voice to their thoughts. Effect of which was seen when students for whom we conducted Be Frank are now coming up with desire to conduct the same. They are showing the confidence to stand before crowd of fifty and more, being creative and adaptive at the same time while conducting Be Franks. This is what we envisioned for and we were happy knowing kids under VSM are growing, being creative and confident. Among all this happiness we heard a plea from one of our KP, It was about her school where a student has ended his life. This incident shocked everyone at the school and made our KP to think, why that student could not speak his thoughts out, why he did not feel safe and felt understood enough to be frank with his friends and teachers at school. This thought made us think maybe there is true need for event like Be Frank to be conducted at school level. At schools, where children truly lacked the idea of expression but mainly the idea of belonging. We all know belonging comes through our connection to the environment we live in and what can be a better way than Be Frank to help these school kids to connect with each other, to express their thoughts. Thus we came up with mission for the academic year 2019-2020 and it was named “School Chale Hum”
With the experience of last three years’ by our side, Team Be Frank made a curriculum that will be followed for this mission, this included events like : Be Frank Be Prepared and Be confident to be conducted for 9th standard students. Whereas we designed Be Frank Be Focused for 10th standard students. We also included themes like Be adaptive and Be friend based on the audience we were facing. In last academic year of 2019-2020, we have conducted over 16 School Be Franks, from schools situated in beautiful villages of Shahapur and Murbad to schools in the metro city of Mumbai.
This gave us spectrum of experiences from witnessing moments like being felicitated by the principal of the school appreciating our efforts with certificate, to not being able to convey our theme to some children in another school. We did tackled situations where we almost thought of giving up the event but our facilitators took on this challenge and completed the Be Frank.
We tried many suitable activities so that every theme could reach to students. Students were asked to perform role plays on pre-decided topics like negative and positive friendship; here we could convey what being friend should mean to us. Similarly 10th standard students were asked to perform role play on topics like distractions. In themes like Be frank Be prepared students were asked to make list of items if they were to go out for picnic, after which we asked them to delete five items from their list, but they told us; doing so would not be advisable thus we could convey our message to them that sometimes we neglect some portion from our studies, this is also not advisable if we truly wish to prepare ourselves.
For themes like Be Frank Be Confident, we tried giving idea of low and over confidence. To do so we took an activity where students were asked to draw stars on a piece of paper in a minute but before doing so at the start they had to tell us number of stars that they think they can draw in a minute. This activity showed them how we must not under or overestimate our capabilities as the ability to estimate our own capability helps us to grow more confident in life.
There were instances where feedback from students itself told us that we were successful in conveying the theme of Be frank. One of such experience was when a particularly shy student, who had stuttering problem asked us if he could speak about the event in front of everyone, where he added how much Be frank event taken in past in his school has helped him to know his fellow classmates, bond with them and how much Be Frank Be confident has given him enough confidence to stand and speak on that day. We will remember this feedback as it will always remind us how much difference can be made by events like Be Frank.
In this whole journey of last year, one moment that no one in Team Be Frank will forget was that of Shikshak Melawa 2019 of Shahapur district, where teachers mentioned Be Frank events being held at their respective schools and how much students truly enjoyed the experience.
This journey was different because this time, we were standing in front of kids who were not known to us or at least would give us their attention because we are from VSM. Here we had to start from starch, from telling them what VSM is till explaining the concept of Be frank. This last year from August 2019 till the mid of February 2020, we visited 14 schools from Shahapur, Murbad, Bhandup and Grant Road, Mumbai. This years’ Be Frank themes were Be Frank be Prepared, Be Frank be confident, Be Frank be friend, Be Frank be adaptive and Be Frank be focused. Here we tried to choose appropriate theme as per the audience.
Our future plans include, reaching out to districts like Palghar, where we think there is a true need for events like Be Frank and more than that there is need for awareness of organizations like our VSM. We are working on our new motto of “Quality over Quantity” from planning till execution of Be Frank. We are also planning to reach to places like Satara (near Pune), Nagpur, Nagar and Kokan in Maharashtra.
As T. S Eliot once wrote. “We shall not cease from exploration. And end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.” That’s exactly what we desire to do, to explore Be Frank at its core in order to excel, we must work on ourselves. That is our mission at the dawn of this never ending night, where we all seem to find ourselves.