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IACT: Creativity for Tomorrow

The GEM Sparks Collab Between Brixilated and Dayton Sprouts

By Willie Morris IV, IACT Communications Coordinator

The GEM at The Hub (Dayton Arcade) was designed to be a space that allowed creative collaboration to thrive between community members and University of Dayton students. We started to bring in some of the people that we saw best demonstrating growth-mindset in the Dayton area and let them go to work. Turns out, whenever you bring a room full of creative collaborators together, the results are pretty incredible!

For instance, one early outcome of The GEM is what came out of the partnership of two collaborators, Adam Mullins (UD Class of ‘03) of Brixilated, and Sarah Richard (UD Class of ‘19) of Dayton Sprouts. Brixilated is an early-stage social enterprise on a mission to change the way the world plays with Lego®, producing innovative products and experiences that sit at the intersection of learning and fun. Dayton Sprouts is a program that engages youth around the connections of sustainability, food literacy, and healthy lifestyles. 

Sarah’s work initially caught the attention of Adam in the on-campus GEMnasium while Sarah was a senior at the University of Dayton in 2019. Sarah was helping develop the “Better Box”, a concept for a social enterprise focused on providing fresh produce to areas of food insecurity through delivering healthy meal prep kits.

Through their time spent collaborating in The GEM 2 years later, Sarah and Adam realized the ties between the goals of their respective organizations, although not immediately apparent, went much deeper than they initially thought. Part of the 8 week City of Dayton Recreation camp that Dayton Sprouts runs includes sending children home with an at-home growing kit that allows campers to grow the food that they will eventually harvest and use to create a healthy meal for their own family. Adam and Sarah saw the opportunity to add an additional level of hands-on learning to each of the childrens’ experiences by developing a Lego® building set that doubles as a plant growing kit, affectionately known as “Legrowables”.  Because of this unique collaboration, young students in the Dayton community will leave their 8 week program with a sense of completion, a chance to create with their hands, and the knowledge to continue growing their own sustainable and healthy food options. 

The best part about all of this? This type of collaborative partnership isn’t unique to Brixilated and Dayton Sprouts. This type of collaborative partnership isn’t even unique to people affiliated with UD! These types of connections are happening every day between collaborators from around the city in The GEM. Interested in being the next success story for social innovation in Dayton? Shoot us an email. We’d love to chat and get you connected with other collaborators here at The GEM at the Hub in the Dayton Arcade. 

The Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation (IACT) is an academic institute training students in the creative competencies that today’s job market demands — critical thinking, creative problem solving and cross-disciplinary collaboration — while applying those same skills to the students’ diverse disciplines of study. The GEM is a space where all learners have the opportunity to build their creative skills. As a school for schools, collaborators in The GEM merge creative skill building into existing curriculum or programs focused on equity, workforce skill development, and/or personal growth mindset.

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