Dida Academy’s mission is to facilitate self-directed learning and promote youth empowerment. We believe in respecting the humanity of youth and trusting them to make important choices. The problems of our time call for the development of unique perspectives and diverse skillsets. Fortunately, by harnessing human beings’ natural drive to learn, play, create and collaborate, we will prepare the next generation to overcome humanity’s greatest challenges. We seek to connect learners with resources and knowledge holders: experts, professionals and local community members. Through self-discovery and authentic relationships a culture of lifelong learning will flourish.
Dida was designed to be the learning environment William and Danielle wished for in their youth. William C. Schmidt, a school-teacher veteran of 7 years, hatched the idea based on interactions with Brooklyn community members. Danielle cultivated Dida to strength and sustainability with her legal know-how and organizational skills.
William is Dida’s Founder and Learning Director. His ultimate life goal is to inspire learners of all ages through play-based exploration and improvisational games. As a former school teacher, William believes in the capabilities of young people to effect societal change.
Danielle is Dida's Co-Founder and Executive Director. She believes that coercive instruction (i.e. compulsory schooling) is a violation of human rights. As an admitted attorney in the state of New York, Danielle seeks to empower young people and challenge age discrimination.