EPIC stands for
Experience – Passion – Integrity – Creativity
“It is the sin of the soul to force young people into opinions – indoctrination is of the devil – but it is culpable neglect not to impel young people into experiences”
EPIC Smiles aims to provide young people with new experiences. These experiences (creating caricatures, seeing the world in a new way, and connecting with new cultures) open doors for them and creates new opportunities for newly discovered possibilities. Children will challenge assumptions, create new meaning, and ideally find something that ignites passion within themselves.
Anyone who has been around a young child has witnessed their incredible imagination and passion for exploration. Between social pressures, increasing self-consciousness, and the rigorous conformity drilled into children in school, creativity is lost and passion is subdued. EPIC Smiles aims to provide new experiences for students that will potentially lead to newly discovered passions. Without exposure to new experiences, children may never discover what they are passionate about. The feeling of being excited about something is amazing. It makes you want to wake up the next day and do it all over again. Passion is what makes you want to try again and again at something in order to get better or understand it. Passion is gold.
Once children have discovered a new passion, they must follow it with the utmost sense of purpose. Children should be true to themselves, experience failure, embrace challenge, and believe in their abilities to persist. In order for this to happen, children must do what they believe is right, not only for themselves but others. Integrity includes being true to what inspires you, striving to use your passion for some good in the world, and not succumbing to the multitude of temptations that sidetrack so many of us, and keep us from reaching our goals.
Creativity is an undervalued and misunderstood human aspect. Everyone is creative and creativity is absolutely essential to a healthy and fulfilled life. However, in order for children (or anyone) to pursue creativity in a manner that will honor their individual differences and passions, they must celebrate failures and successes, and be honest with themselves about what they value in life. If EPIC Smiles has done its job, children will have been exposed to new and exciting experiences. Some will find a new passion in caricatures or art, or become curious about places in the world that are far different from what they know. It is crucial they follow their passions with integrity and pursue what is of value to them. As a result, they will find a life full of creative opportunities that will increase happiness and satisfaction, allow for greater independence and freedom, and just make the world a better place overall.