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Create An Open-Source Life Skills Toolbox

As submitted to the Big Idea Cincinnati competition in 2013.

Life doesn’t provide an instruction manual for our many roles.  Young mothers need to comfort a crying baby, a graduate needs to know how to budget and buy a car or find a job, a business owner or agency leader needs to give constructive feedback.  We frequently don’t think of our actions as skills we need to succeed let alone the process to gain the knowledge, training or experience to do these things.  If we are lucky, we learn some life skills from our teachers, parents or employers.  If not, we may struggle.

Skill definition is the starting point for learning, i.e. “what do I need to know”.  Examples include manage my time, develop a job resume or control stress.  Once curious about our learning need we then turn to the library, internet, friends or parents (or TV).  This is good but insufficient thus the idea for the Toolbox.

Skill documentation will be developed and managed by volunteer “Guides” (subject matter experts) who we will attract to build an open-source toolbox. The Guides’ reward is in building a foundation of hope, help and stability for those in need – of creating a vibrant and prosperous Greater Cincinnati.  The content should be broad:  interpersonal, financial, job & career, parenting, leadership and more.  The structure should be flexible:  skill definition, the pathway to learn it and various short and in-depth content such as lessons, exercises, tools, videos and reading.

Taking responsibility for our personal learning empowers us and it should never stop.  We all deserve coaches or mentors for encouragement but the confidence and self-esteem gained from owning our “personal development plan” is invaluable.   We want people to learn when they want to vs. having to wait for the next course to be offered or the library to be open.  The Toolbox should address all age groups, youth, teens, adults and seniors.

Imagine a “Wikipedia” of Life Skills freely available to teachers, parents, agencies and anyone who has a need to learn or teach life skills.


Tony Aloise