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A Leadership & Life Playlist: Songs That Have Inspired My Work

By Charli Kemp

"Wake Up Everybody" by John Legend and The Roots is the theme song of my teaching experience. I love this song for so many reasons, especially the lines: “Wake up all the teachers / Time to teach a new way / Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say / Cause they're the ones who's coming up / And the world is in their hands / When you teach the children / Teach 'em the very best you can.” I employed this song as a signal for students to come in to class and get started quickly – it meant we had a lot to cover that day.

“Wake up all the teachers / Time to teach a new way / Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say / Cause they're the ones who's coming up / And the world is in their hands / When you teach the children / Teach 'em the very best you can.”

- "Wake Up Everybody" John Legend & The Roots

As a middle school math teacher in New York City, I used to say I didn’t care if my students ever learned math. 

Are you like what??? Please click Here to read more from our founder on the Green Dot Public Schools Blog. 


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July 21, 2017

“Turn Out for What” AKA “Turn Down for What”

October 8, 2014

So once again the power of music has struck again. It’s been a while since I have written a post, but I was motivated through watching this music video to share this experience with others.  This is a prime example of how individuals can be called to action to make a change or difference with Music. This video is hilarious dance worthy amazingness all at once. My mom shared it with me, and it made me want to make sure I am registered to vote in the next election.

Music bridges the gaps between generations. If my mom were to just tell me to go vote, I would not be significantly motivated. However, with her informally sharing this video with me it makes me want to run out to the polls right now.

Rock The Vote is a powerful organization that was started by members of the recording industry to help encourage young people to exercise their right to vote. They have gotten millions of individuals registered to vote over the years, and I am really curious to know the impact of this video and similar videos can be measured. Even if it’s only one person motivated, that is one more person working to make a difference.

Think about it, with all that is going on…What do you want to turn out for?!?

“Turn out For What”


“I don’t know what you came to do”

July 17, 2014

The Power of Music. I saw this posted on Facebook, with the caption “Music Unites All.”

The original video has over 17 million views, which have happened in less than 2 months. Imagine if this power could be harnessed and leveraged to make a difference in our world.

“I shouldn’t Have to Wait”

July 15, 2014

This is a throw back song.  It took me a while to figure out what my next post should be about. Then I heard this song today. The chorus of the song motivated me to pick up the laptop and start typing. When searching for social impact news, one will find postings can be very sparse and spread apart. Hopefully, with this blog we will develop a much more consistent voice, because our people “Shouldn’t Have to Wait” :-). 

The second reason the chorus of the song resonated, was because of an article that was discovered entitled: “4 Reasons Why Startups Committed to Social Responsibility Succeed.” Many people have a belief system that supports the concept, once they make it to a certain level, then and only then, will they be able to give back. This mindset does not only exist in individuals, but is also the common mindset within companies. Many companies will wait until they are “Financially Sound”, before they decide to give back to communities. Despite this way of thinking based on this article and many successful models like Toms, Warby Parker, Medtronic,  realize that when creating a business “You shouldn't have to wait,” to start go give back. In fact, according to the article there are significant benefits for integrating social responsibility into your model from the outset, and many drive your success, which include;

1. Startups connect with customers on a deeper level and develop stronger relationships with vendors by incorporating social initiatives within company values.

2. A startup’s involvement in philanthropy attracts and retains employees.

3. Social responsibility enhances a startup’s reputation.

4. A startup’s philanthropy can impact their stock value and shareholders’ interest.

The article can be found at : 4 Reasons

As you make purchasing decisions, and go about your daily routine’s begin to think about how you can stop waiting and start making an impact now.


“It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day” … “Feelin Good”

June 25, 2014
“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.
Yeah, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, ooooooooh…
And I’m feelin’ good.”  -  Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse

It’s a new Dawn for Change the Tune

So the song of the post is “Feeling Good.” Originally sung by Nina Simone, but there have been many remakes of this song. The different versions are actually pretty good, we are curious to know which one do you prefer? (Yes you!!! Feel Free to comment!)

This song was chosen because “It’s a new dawn and a new day” for this site. Initially when we started, there was a large focus on the power and impact of music. However, we are expanding our reach to examine the concept of “Changing the Tune,” for our global community through social impact, with an emphasis on various social enterprise models. The focus of our blog will shift to highlighting who is making a significant impact on our local and global communities. We will be examining how they are making the impact, and also providing at time suggested opportunities for individuals and other organizations to evoke change, or strengthen their efforts.

In order to “Change the Tune,” you have to move the dial on the radio. Sometimes there is static in the process, and feedback. Feel free to provide that feedback and commentary. It is necessary to improve things.

With that said, Let us know what you think of the different song versions? Also what do you think of our “ New Dawn”, “ New Day”, “New Direction”?


An Example… So Beautiful

April 22, 2014

So it is the end of my semester, and I have a million things I should be working on, but once again the power of music has me drawn in.

I learned about this artist earlier, and I felt that he had to be shared with everyone today!!!  If you check him out on youtube, he has tons of awesome videos where he merges a traditional classical instrument withmainstream soul music. The next post will be on the power of music to unite. Until I have a little more time to write,  please check out Lee England Jr.



My Favorite: