Born in Queens, New York, Lourds Lane was raised by a hard-working immigrant Filipino mom of modest means, who also was the victim of domestic violence. Amid the turbulence at home, Lourds lost herself in the world of music. A classically-trained prodigy on violin and piano at age 3, Lourds toured with youth orchestras, playing in concert halls around the world. Her mission and purpose were clear: to achieve and to please her mother. And that was the problem.
“My mom told me I wanted to be a doctor," Lourds reminisces with a smile. So, Lourds dutifully and relentlessly kept forcing herself into a box that was not meant for her. Upon graduating from Harvard, Lourds rebelled against her mother’s expectations and capitalized on her musical talent. She played the electric violin as front person and lead singer of her own rock band, touring the country and performing to packed venues. But all the years of pleasing and rebelling brought Lourds further and further away from her true self-- or as Lourds would say, her superhero self.
“When people connect to their superhero selves, to their unique voices, suddenly they will find themselves connected to magic, miracles and mission. Suddenly, they will find purpose and passion that is way bigger than themselves.”
Two years ago, Lourds discovered her own big purpose when she became her own superhero called “Shine.”
“It took me so many years to embrace my superpower… but now that I know that I am a superhero, there is no way for me NOT to shine my boundless love onto the world.”
Lourds likes to envision a world where people embrace who they truly are; a world where children are given the love and support they need to celebrate their own unique voice from an early age.
"I'm on a mission to connect people to their inner superhero so that they not only feel personally empowered, but they also feel excited to uplift their communities and become activists, leaders and global change-makers."
And this is the world Lourds is working to create through the non-profit she founded in 2013 called The SuperYou FUNdation.
Based on a curriculum she designed for elementary school students, and inspired by the theme, “The Superhero is You,” from the transformative Broadway-bound rock musical “Chix 6“, SuperYou uses the language of "superheroes" to give teachers a way to truly know their students, especially those who are hard to reach. Through writing, presenting, music and art, students discover what they are most proud of in themselves, who they aspire to be, and what their fears and obstacles are.
At the same time, the SuperYou curriculum incorporates Common Core Learning Standards and helps develop the 21st century skills students need to excel in society, including collaborating, information gathering, interpersonal skills, data collection, and logical, strategic, and analytical thinking. School administrators have reported an increase in attendance, test scores, student participation and engagement, as well as a dramatic decrease in disruptive behaviors and bullying as a result of SuperYou.
"When we empower youth to see themselves and each other as brave, kind, and powerful superheroes, and to collaborate on social good missions to help their communities, we create global citizens who feel like their voice matters, and who ultimately become voices for the world," says Lourds.
Since its founding, The SuperYou FUNdation is in partnership with UNESCO working to incorporate the program into their global curriculum, and positively impacting tens of thousands of youth.
In the spring of 2016, Lourds will be spearheading a groundbreaking event to celebrate the biggest Special Needs/Special Education school district in the world (District 75 of NYC) at Citi Field. The theme of the event is to redefine the meaning of "Special." The event will honor 25,000 students of the district accompanied by teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, and administrators from all five NYC boroughs-- all in self-designed costumes of their most empowered superhero selves; for instance, love, kindness, resilience, empathy, bravery, and super reader. Multi-media on the jumbotron will highlight student superhero actions collected throughout the school year and students will sing, dance, present, chant and perform songs and poetry from the SuperYou FUNdation curriculum.
“We are expanding exponentially because the curriculum just works. SuperYou personalizes education so that youth feel valued, seen, and heard… and it’s just fun, which is the true magic of it all.”
And the program does more than benefit elementary school students. The high school students who learn the curriculum become “superhero mentors,” teaching younger kids to become more confident, connected and expressive--a win-win relationship. The teachers, who model the curriculum for the students also report a boost of personal growth and empowerment.
According to Lourds, now that she has stepped into her own superpower, she understands that every single step she took led her to the work she is doing right now.
Lourds says in helping others find their superpowers, she has also found hers.
“I am the superhero called ‘Shine’… the superhero of LOVE. From learning first to love myself and value and listen to my own voice, I learned how to give galaxies of love to others. And guess what? My Momma couldn’t be more proud.”