Have you ever wondered how people who motivate others stay motivated themselves? In this episode of Add Passion and Stir, two high-powered changemakers talk about what drives them as they inspire those around them. Dr. Clint Mitchell, Principal at Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School in Fairfax, VA works in a low-income community school. In a career that has unusually high turn-over (statistics say most teachers will quit after three to five years) Mitchell finds he has to hire teachers who are passionate about the work and willing to go the extra mile for underprivileged kids. “It’s my job to keep them positive,” he says. Relating it to passion in the cooks he hires, Zack Mills, chef at Wit & Wisdom in Baltimore, jokes, “It’s a slight craziness. You have to be slightly off to be that passionate.” Host Billy Shore asks his two guests how they themselves avoid burnout. Chef Mills considers himself lucky because he’s always had a passion for cooking and enjoys helping those who work for him achieve success. He uses the Japanese term Kaizen – trying to be better than the day before – to describe his philosophy for work and life. “We’re always learning. If we think we’re not learning anymore, then we’re in the wrong place,” he concludes. Dr. Mitchell echoes that sentiment. “I tell my teachers, ‘every single day we get a fresh start and the kids get a fresh start. So every single day, make that day the best day.’”
Both Mitchell and Mills are long-time supporters of the No Kid Hungry campaign. Mitchell is on the frontlines of the battle against childhood hunger in our schools; 91% of the kids in his district receive free or reduced meals. “When kids are hungry, they shut down. It becomes a behavior issue…but the root cause is hunger,” he points out. Mills recently participated in a No Kid Hungry impact trip in Northern Virginia. He says there is nothing like bearing witness to the kids in need and the work that is being done to help them. “Everybody was so passionate about making sure the children were fed. I wanted to get even more involved after that,” he says.
Get back to basics through this conversation about school hunger with two changemakers who not only share their own passion, but bring it out in others.