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Learning to Leave Your Mistakes Behind and Let Yourself Dream Big

A trip to the Grammy Museum and the Staples Center helps the Pathfinder Fellows dream big.

This week the Pathfinder Fellowship took us to the heart of entertainment in Downtown Los Angeles. Valentina Martinez, the community affairs manager for AEG, organized a tour for us of the Grammy Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, which is an interactive, educational museum devoted to the history and winners of the Grammy Awards. We also got to take a tour of the Staples Center, which is right across the street, to check out the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Los Angeles Kings sports teams.

When we first arrived at the Grammy Museum, we were welcomed by Schyler O'Neal, who is a coordinator there. O'Neal served as our tour guide, and as we walked through the museum we got to see several exhibits featuring the work of superstar artists like Michael Jackson, Jenni Rivera, and Ringo Starr. It was amazing to see these artists and what they have done throughout their lives. The Jenni Rivera exhibit was especially inspiring because it showed how Rivera used her work in banda and norteña music to challenge stereotypes about women that are common in Mexican music. They even had the first mixtapes and CDs, her clothing, and her official identification cards.

There were also listening stations where we could listen to several different kinds of music—everything from the hip hop to neo-folk. It was really fun to catch the other Pathfinder Fellows singing along with the karaoke or playing on the instruments on display. O'Neal and the rest of the museum staff also explained the work they’re doing and how it impacts people. Not only do they show visitors the artists and what they did, but they also are involved in education. Through their education efforts, they teach how connected history, science, math, and technology are to the musical experience and how it impacts a person's life.

After taking a tour at the Grammy Museum we got to take another tour through the Staples Center. Michael Roth, the vice president of public relations at Staples Center, explained to us that around four million people visit every year to attend one of the over 250 different events they host. The facility, which can hold nearly 19,000 people, was built to provide a place where people can feel safe, protected, and can enjoy an evening's entertainment. It was amazing to find out that underneath the basketball court where the Lakers and Clippers play, there is also an ice rink where the Kings hockey team plays.

Growing up in low-income families, we were never able to afford stepping in the Staples Center for either a sporting event, concert, or other event. For us to actually get to go inside made us feel like wow, we are actually in here and seeing what it is that they do. We even got to walk on the basketball courts and pretend to dunk like Kobe Bryant or Blake Griffin.

Being exposed to places like this helps us expand our knowledge and helps us to keep looking forward instead of looking back. Getting to have all these new experiences on our Monday field trips takes us further than we ever thought possible. Not only does it get our foot in the door and help us make contact with future employers, and help us dream big, it also helps us reflect on where and when we make the mistakes that we've made before. We don't want to make the mistakes we made in the past all over again. And at the end of the day we have a lot of fun as a group, we continue to support each other, and we leave each field trip knowing that people appreciate us as individuals.

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