October 25, 2019

Carolynn King Richmond, Microsociety

by Kiss of the Wolf in Community, Women of Kiss

Life is a moving target, and Carolynn King Richmond keeps up with it. As CEO of MicroSociety, Inc., she understands the importance of connectedness and of being ready for new experiences. She demands the same flexibility from her clothing. 

In today’s work world, women need clothes that translate from work to after work to weekends. Kiss answers that need while adding distinction, fun and flair to any wardrobe. With Kiss, you get a warm Lori hug every time you put it on. ~ Carolynn King Richmond

Making Connections with Kiss

Carolynn King Richmond at work in a Classic white blouse from KissCarolynn met Lori at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Big national shows are marathons, requiring weeks of preparation, and a few very busy, very long days. As busy as she is, though, Lori always makes the time to get to know her clients.

As a huge fan of her work, I became one of those lucky clients nearly 15 years ago. Over time, we’ve met outside Philadelphia, visiting in Oklahoma and elsewhere. Over the years, Lori and I have shared pain from lost love, and updates on business, family, and friends.

“Lori is generous and always eager to connect people she believes might like to know each other,” Carolynn says.“Since her clientele is so interesting and far-reaching, her network is a treasure.” Years ago, Lori introduced Carolynn to Karen Saillant. Karen is the founder and Artistic Director of the International Opera Theater. Both women live in Philadelphia and they became trusted friends. Carolynn is also now a board member of the opera company.

Since then, I’ve followed Karen’s trajectory of creativity. We owe it all to Lori.

Karen’s International Opera Theater has created a new opera every year for 16 years. Each year, the new opera premieres in Citta della Pieve, a beautiful walled city in Umbria, Italy. One year, Carolynn was able to join Karen there, working behind the scenes to put on the opera.

Building MicroSociety

George Richmond, Carolynn’s late husband, began his career as a teacher in an inner-city elementary school. He created a miniature society in his classroom to help his students be more engaged. He called it a “microsociety.” For part of each day, his students built a government with laws, businesses, and jobs. This gave the students agency and increased their confidence. The program connected their classroom with the world outside its doors.

When I met my husband, who was the creator of Microsociety, I really found my home.

He was the Executive Director of a job training program and she was a lawyer. Carolyn persuaded him to go back to his roots and together, they built his classroom model into an organization. When George fell ill, Carolynn left her law practice to take the helm and in 2001, became President and CEO. Since then, MicroSociety, Inc. has grown from a handful of sites to a broad international network.

Connected Global Thinkers

MicroSociety reception in her Kiss Swing Blouse

The US Department of Education has cited MicroSociety for its impressive results with disadvantaged children. Nationally, 68% of Micro Citizens are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. 71% are Hispanic, African American, or represent other minority groups. Students with special needs are completely integrated into their activities.

In every group, MicroSociety students experience improved academic achievement, attendance, behavior, and attitude. School as society challenges children to discover who they are and where they fit in. It makes academic work meaningful to them. The learning environment elevates student motivation, engagement, and academic achievement. It also improves social behavior and scores on standardized tests.

Connecting the Community

The MicroSociety model leverages the uniqueness of each community by incorporating volunteers. Student interaction with working adults is one of the key elements of the program. Community members, individuals, and businesses help make learning authentic and up-to-date. 

Life is a Moving Target

You can help children succeed and keep up by connecting with MicroSociety. Find out more about volunteering and  helping your community connect on their Volunteer page.

MicroSociety Aspen Heights from Ben Harowitz on Vimeo.

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