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Meet Danielle Rose Bardellini of Firefly and SugarPea in Topanga Canyon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Rose Bardellini.

Danielle Rose, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My mission in life is: To Compose Learning Experiences for the Purpose of Advancing Human Potential. I believe in self-development and personal growth as an answer to most of our questions. I believe in becoming a student of life. And so I have devoted my life’s calling to educational innovation.

School never “fit” me. Standardized tests, desks, silence… it was a hurdle throughout my childhood. I wanted to sing, dance, create stories, direct plays and make movies. I couldn’t do “school” the way it was set up. I thought… “What if children grew up doing exactly what they loved to do and learned everything they needed to along the way?”

We are at a time when the education system as we know it is falling apart. Overnight, due to the pandemic, the structures that we once had in place (a brick-and-mortar school, a 9am-3pm schedule, governmental control of public taxes for education) have been destroyed and the world is looking for solutions. The education system today was created from the industrial revolution. This pandemic is an opportunity for the next version of educational structure to emerge. I am proud to be a change-maker for educational opportunities.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have struggled with following my own unique path. I had always had such deep, clear desires and passions. And if I am not actively pursuing these, I feel out of place. I’ve had to fight following my heart’s calling with “surviving”. It’s been a constant battle to do all the things we must in order to live (money, job, rent, food, etc.) and continuing to follow my dreams.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Firefly and SugarPea – what should we know?
“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” – Mahatma Gandhi

When the pandemic hit, I made a major pivot in my business and listened to the new, relevant needs of parents, schools, children, teachers and education. The message was clear: Children need socialization. They need community, collaboration and a place for expression. We all need this right now! And so became the birth of 2 new business’ with the same aim: Social Learning Pods.

Firefly is a digital clubhouse for children offering social, emotional collaboration and community through distance learning. Participants enter a game-like experience, create teams, build avatars and accomplish collaborative quests! Firefly is offered in schools (as enrichment) and direct to parents as an opportunity to allow for students to safely socialize.

SugarPea is a platform connecting local families and teachers to find, form and manage micro-schools and learning pods. It’s like Airbnb meets Tinder for Parents and Teachers. We are currently raising for our seed funding round.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Faith, Persistence, and Honor. Being an entrepreneur is about leading something that has never been done before, and that process requires constant trial and error. I’ve had to change my perception of failure. Instead of thinking about a product or process as “failure”, I had to see it as one crucial piece to the puzzle to reach the next step. This perception has allowed me to develop a deep level of faith and belief in myself.

To gain the energy reserves to persist again and again, I’ve grown the ability to honor where and what I’ve come to. I realized I must carve out time to stop “doing” and rest with this honor. This allows me to continue to thrive and show up to the arena of success.

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Image Credit:

Fernando Samalot

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