Episode #103 Podcast and Post with Steve Sostak on Inspire Citizens: Impact Change

By Barbara Bray

Join Barbara Bray in conversations with awesome educators, leaders, and influencers as they talk about their passion and purpose for planting seeds for change. Each podcast has a link to a related blog post with more information and resources.

Steve Sostak, @inspirecitizen1, is co-director of Inspire Citizens, author of the Global Impact School Self-Study, designer and director of the IC Master Teacher Endorsement, co-director of GlobalYouthMedia.org, and a global education facilitator, implementing  @SDG2030 into school wide learning experiences. 
Following 15 years teaching elementary and middle school in the U.S., Peru, Malaysia, and China, Steve specializes in working with schools, teachers, and students to illuminate how schools can thrive as community centers of personal, local and global applied learning. Grounded in compassionate empathy, Steve and Inspire Citizens empowers students and educators to amplify civic and interdisciplinary literacies to take informed systemic action for: Sustainable Development, Social Justice, Collective Well-being, and Social-Emotional-Ethical Intelligence.
Steve and I had this conversation in April before the end of school during the pandemic and most schools were teaching remotely. We talked about navigating the truth, well-being, compassion, social justice and equity issues, educating for sustainable development, taking care of ourselves during this crisis, and more. Steve shared many ideas and resources that pushed my thinking. I know you will be inspired! Enjoy! Listen, check out the resources here, and reach out to Steve and Inspire Citizens. 
Your story about your background

Quick overview: Chicago son of a teacher and electrician, broken family, closest friends African American and Iraqi American, floor sander, waiter, musician → teacher
Back in 2007, when I was teaching grade four in Lima, Peru, my wife Angie, who was four-months pregnant at the time, and I stood at 3259 meters in Huancayo, breathing in the crisp alpine air, finalizing the adoption of our two Peruvian daughters, Jessica Rocio and Maria Fatima, who at the time were 15 and 5-years-old respectively. Inside the Aldea Infantil El Rosario, we had been tasked with providing 75 pollos de la brasa, rotisserie chickens with sides of thick-cut french fries, Peru-style, for the orphanage children and the caretakers, in celebration of the adoption and a new beginning on an incredible journey that started years before when Angie and I decided to leave Chicago for Lima, trading challenges of inner-city Chicago schools for new challenges in international teaching.

Fatima and Steve Sostak on adoption day at Aldea Infantil El Rosario
Your story about your family
While in Lima, we had led a service-learning group from our school in supporting weekly visits to an abandoned and abused girls shelter where we connected with all of the children but especially Jackie and Melissa who were not available to be adopted despite their difficult situations. Melissa has become like a fourth daughter, and we have been able to provide her with an education, helping her graduate from university in Lima. She’s a fantastic 26-year-old person now and is trilingual, having been inspired to learn Chinese after we moved to Beijing.