Pockets of excellence

Pocket of Excellence – Paulette Johnson

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Think you can’t deepen social bonds during this time of pandemic-related physical distancing? We invite you to think again! 

Times of great challenge bring great opportunity to pave new paths forward. 

Perhaps this is just the time to start a new tradition that will build resilience now and into future generations. This month, we honor longstanding THRIVE youth champions, Paulette Johnson and her daughter Jamila, as Worldmaker pockets of excellence.

A bit of background: 

We first met Paulette, a passionate, longstanding school board member, when she participated in our 2018 virtual Youth THRIVE program. Her daughter Jamila, a dedicated school administrator, then joined us to explore establishing a Worldmaker Academy named after Paulette’s father, Paul D. White, who was the first African American City Court Judge in Cleveland Ohio. 

Our collective vision was to create a school where the THRIVE Model serves as the foundation for a middle and high school student curriculum rich in basic human rights, justice and peace principles, and mutual thriving that would equip and inspire students to pursue careers in law, policy and social justice. 

As Paulette wrote when setting forth her vision, “Dr. Marti, the events of our times calls for educators and advocates like us to provide a venue for our youth to study and better put into practice peace, justice and human dignity principles and practices.”

While we are flexing these plans in response to the pandemic, we stand in awe of these women’s determination to preserve their family’s legacy to strengthen vulnerable youth and make their community and our world a better place for all. 

We invite you to use Paulette’s latest “bright idea” to inspire shining your own light in new ways:

“Not being able to see, hug, embrace, or celebrate our adult children and precious grandchildren has been a great heartbreak. So, I decided to schedule weekly Family Meetings on Zoom for the last 20 weeks on Thursday evenings from 7-8:30 pm. 

Using old photos that I forward to her, our daughter Jamila prepares wonderful 30-45 minute PowerPoint presentations to share during each Zoom session. This allows our grandchildren to see their parents when they were very young children. We laugh so much!

It’s amazing to see how similar our grandchildren look to their parents in these photos and how their behaviors remind us of our adult children. Their spouses also greatly enjoy sharing and viewing these childhood experiences.

The Pandemic has challenged us to share and celebrate past experiences in a way that we never imagined!” 

When we asked Paulette if we could share her idea with other worldmakers, she wrote, “It would be wonderful to see others move forward with this idea. Fyi, you were instrumental in helping me come up with this idea. I greatly enjoyed and very much looked forward to your monthly THRIVE Zoom sessions. I had not been introduced to Zoom before. Learning the platform and experiencing the gift of bringing people together with similar values and ideals was a teachable moment that empowered me to move beyond our monthly THRIVE meetings to our now weekly family Zoom meetings.”

Paulette letting us know of this “full circle” moment was an additional gift as a reminder that you never know how other worldmakers will amplify your contributions in their own way.

How might you use this example to deepen connections that support you and your loved ones during this time? 

How can you take something you recently learned and expand upon it in ways that strengthen yourself and others? 

Please let us know and we’ll be sure to pass on your stories to Paulette and Jamila. 

We always welcome your stories of the inspiring worldmakers in your community working to create a world where all can thrive. Email us at thrive @ worldmakerinternational.org



Honoring a decade of work with deep roots and strong wings.

As a community resiliency project and national nonprofit building strength across America before, during and after traumatic disruptions, we planted deep roots.

Stepping forward to meet humanitarian needs without borders, we grew strong wings.

We now invite you to JOIN US at Worldmaker International.

There’s a place for you .