A few years ago I introduced Marco Torres at our Illinois conference as a fellow Spanish-speaking Irishman and have resurrected that joke on occasion. This week it just so happens that Marco and some of his former students are out here in Boston presenting at and documenting the Building Learning Communities Conference. I almost referred to his alumni as “kids” because I’ve kind of seen them grow up on film, but after watching them present and handle interviews I can see why they are now his partners at Alas Media. Anyhow, I sat down at their table after lunch to finish off a cup of coffee and visit a little. A couple of minutes after pleasantries were exchanged one of the young men looked at me and then asked Marco, “Is this Joe the O’Torres Joe?” Looks like my old play on his name (Mark O’Torres) has come full circle right back at me. As usual, Marco had some great technical tips and insights into storyboarding. But what really sets him and his alumni apart is their emphasis on empowering students to help shape their world and those of their families and community.

And talk about changing the world – the founder of kiva.org closed yesterday’s sessions with her inspiring story (even made Oprah) of getting loans into the hands of third world entrepeneurs by accepting backer investments as low as $25. More than a million dollars is dispersed through their organization every two weeks. Here’s a pre-Oprah interview. Check it out and maybe even write out a check.


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