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Art Behind Walls

When Daniel Ager’s father was sentenced to prison for 16 years, Daniel knew right then he wanted to make some kind of a difference. The specific idea for the Art Behind Walls project came to him when he received his first letter from prison from his father (in the form of a poem) which included a beautiful sketch of he and his father that a fellow inmate had drawn from a photograph his father had with him.

Daniel realized that inmates had a contribution to make and a way to communicate through art and poetry. The first project he initiated is a coloring book for kids that inmates created through drawings of heroes that were imprisoned at one time, such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Ghandhi. The coloring book is being given to teachers as an educational tool and to kids whose parent or parents are incarcerated. Watch Ager tell the story in his own words:

To find out more information, please go to the Art Behind Walls web site.

Cycling for Children

Moira Bailey of London is 52 years old. She’s asthmatic, didn’t own a bicycle and hadn’t ridden a bicycle in over 30 years. Thus it was more than a little extraordinary that she took on cycling in Kenya for the International Childcare trust. She was facing both getting in shape and raising the minimum £8,000. In Landmark’s Team Management Leadership Program, she realized that she couldn’t do it all herself, and she put together a team as her game in the world to make it happen. She named her game Cycling for Children 2008.

She and her team created fun events which they sold tickets to to raise money, including a Queen tribute concert, an Elvis event, and an event that featured salsa dancing and flamenco guitar. Bailey came out of her comfort zone of friends and family and began inviting strangers to participate in the project.

Said Bailey: “More and more I can see when I create inspiring big games people want to participate and they show up as being generous and extraordinary.”

Bailey’s actual trip to Kenya featured a grueling (412 km in five days) but inspiring week of cycling through the beautiful Kenyan countryside. At the end, the riders got to go to the International Childcare Trust project site,where ICT was working with WEAEP – Western Education, Advocacy and Empowerment Project, a Kenya-based, child-centred NGO. It is estimated that there are around 800,000 orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya’s Western Province.

The aim of the project is to build a Child Protection and Community Centre, to provide care and improve quality of life for orphans and vulnerable children suffering from extreme poverty, disease, abuse and neglect. When complete, the centre will provide access to basic rights and protection to 500 children and young people per year by offering: consultation and assessment of needs and aspirations; psychological therapy; legal advice and child protection; rescue services for girls abused by violence; linking orphans to foster parents/guardians; community training in child rights and protection; and integrate/place orphans and street children in formal education. The centre will provide vocational training to vulnerable youngsters at risk and provide toolkits for those who successfully complete their courses, enabling them to find work or become self-employed.

Bailey ended up raising over £12,500 for the International Childcare Trust. But she didn’t stop there. She is setting up a September 27 event back in the UK to raise more money for the organization. Watch the video below to see Bailey speak about Cycling for Children.

Step by Step

Becca Carr-Hopkins and Andrea Howe met by chance at a TMLP classroom in London. Andrea was visiting from Washington DC, and thought it would be fun to experience TMLP in a foreign country. Becca, one of 53 London TMLP participants, stood up at one point and shared about her Game in the World. In an instant, a global connection was created: both realized they were using technology to transform difficult step-family dynamics into experiences of relatedness and love. What followed was a blossoming friendship, as well as a shared commitment to make a difference for step-families all over the world.

Becca hatched the idea for Step by Step at her second TMLP weekend in November 2007. Her relationship with her soon-to-be step-daughters — Olivia, 13 and India, 9 — had taken a nose dive and Becca saw that weekend just how numb she was; in fact, she realized she’d given up on things being any different. The girls had decided they wouldn’t be coming to the wedding (Becca’s to their dad), and they were increasingly reluctant to come and visit on the weekends.

Standing in the possibility of Love and Communication, Step by Step was born. Becca and her partner each have two children from previous relationships. Becca’s ex-husband had already remarried, so her biological children had a step mum, step grandparents, and step aunts and uncles. In a conversation with her ex’s new wife, Becca saw a common ‘what’s so’ with being a step mum that just doesn’t get talked about. “Lecia had felt rejected by my kids, just like I had felt rejected by my partner’s kids,” Becca recalled.

Furthermore, Becca discovered that the children were facing common challenges. “It turns out that my kids had had the same stuff going on as my partner’s kids, my sister’s kids and my friend’s kids,” added
Becca.

With the childrens’ encouragement, Becca created Step by Step: an Internet-based resource for step-family members to share their experiences. “The kids decided they wanted to build a website so that other kids around the world could find out what being in a step family was like and be reassured if they were worried.”

The website www.stepbystepguide.co.uk was built by a family friend and went live on 15.2.08, and now needs to be developed further. It features stories and poems written by 15 kids and adults, all part of or connected to Becca’s family in some way. The site also includes a family tree that depicts the connectedness between all family members.

Becca says, “The best part of all of this was the extraordinary conversations we all had in our families about being in a step family. The things that were said were not always easy to hear, but all of the conversations took our relatedness to a whole new level and were absolutely magical to be part of. I was left feeling very proud of our kids, and present to how great they are and what an extraordinary family we have created.”

The kids have also gotten a huge amount from being part of the project and seeing their work live on the internet and could be heard exclaiming, “Yeah we did it”, when they looked the site up.

What’s possible in the world as a result of Step by Step? “Aside from Olivia and India choosing to come to our wedding – a miracle in itself — our kids got to experience themselves as young people that can and do make a difference, now.” says Becca.

And what could you build with that?! A new Team Game of course…

— Becca Carr-Hopkins, Team London

To read about what Andrea Howe created around step-families out of her partnership with Becca, check out this previous Team Leadership story.

CAST Stands for Peace

CAST is an organization created by graduates of the Landmark Forum in Oklahoma through taking the Team Management Leadership program. The organization supports a variety of programs that support peace in different communities. First CAST supported Pinwheels for Peace, where thousands of students across Oklahoman made pinwheels to celebrate peace and cause peace within themselves. Another project undertaken by CAST was to raise awareness and money for Invisible Children, an organization that has been helping refugees and bringing peace to Uganda, where the war between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan Army has displaced an estimated 1.4 million people. The money raised has gone directly to a school in Northern Uganda. Later CAST took on the World Neighbors Hunger Banquet. World Neighbors is an organization working to end hunger, disease and poverty in developing countries. The group has also supported a multi-cultural fair and April’s earth day recyclathon.

Families Having Fun Together!

Sitting in a room with almost 600 people in Orlando, my first Team Management and Leadership Weekend was pretty intimidating yet transformational.  The leaders were incredible!  They knew just what to say.  I remember thinking, “Everybody is sharing and inspiring, everything has a meaning, but, what will my contribution be?”  I was blank.

It was not too long ago that I was living in Prince George in Northern British Columbia.  My kids and I would spend the entire day in the park playing “hide and seek”, roasting hot dogs on an open fire.  The game, “Forest for the World” was played in a real forest with a huge lagoon in the middle.  Some days we met black bears and moose – it was a pretty wild place. One day, another family joined us spontaneously to play.  Wow!  That created memories that I will never forget!

When I came back from Orlando all pumped up, I started enrolling a team for my Game in the World: creating Fun Raisers, a project where kids and their families would discover the fun in simply playing games outside together. My vision was that Fun Raisers would inspire other communities to follow in creating more Fun Raisers all over the world.

My team includes my son Klaus, 17, who came up with the name Fun Raisers. (What a huge contribution to this game!) Another team member is Jennifer, a real estate colleague. There is my friend, Michael, from whom I often seek wisdom and guidance and, my good friend, Raman, with whom we spend great times playing with our kids.

My game quickly picked up momentum as the team created newsletters and invitations and delivered them to thousands of people all over the world. Thanks to the internet, our message was received throughout the United States and Canada, as well as Mexico, South America, South Africa, and Japan.

To my surprise, at our first event, that first weekend of Fun Raisers, only four people showed up: Jennifer, her kids, Samuel and Olivia, and me. I thought, what is this?  My friends Michael and Raman aren’t here? I thought I’d been being an “enrollment machine”! With coaching from my team, I realized that I had not been being enrolling at all. I had been doing what I do best: telling people what to do. That was my €˜team concept’. Clearly, it didn’t work!

I looked at where I’d been being inauthentic, the impact on me and on my team, and created the possibility of being vulnerable and open. I can’t believe the difference that made!  Now, the project is moving forward.  I can’t imagine where I’m going to be at the end of my first year on Team.  I wake up every day excited about what it is that I – and my team – will discover.

Fun Raisers inspires me everyday. It is bringing people together around the world.  We are making a difference!

— Eduardo Fritis, Team Vancouver

 

Help for aids orphans struggling against the odds

Sweet Waters is a South African community dying of AIDS. Currently 196 homes housing in excess of 500 children are parentless and without adult supervision. These orphaned children live in a culture being shredded by AIDS.

Love Is All We Need is a charity committed to diverting what will be a catastrophic outcome for children, communities, a country.

The Hope Centre is a haven that houses children affected by and infected with AIDS and reaches out into the Sweet Waters community taking measures to care for these children.

Presently children in the community are being raped and robbed, living in homes ill-equipped to meet their needs and struggling to survive against insurmountable odds. They are unable to attend school due to lack of funds for fees and uniforms putting their futures in jeopardy.

At present The Hope Centre has set up a mobile mother scheme where 8 local women between them visit 90 homes a day. They earn a box of food and the equivalent of £10 a month. This is a positive step to making a difference.

Sponsor-a-mother is a project being set up to fund the existing mobile mothers and 12 more in the next 2 months. The aim is for these mothers to be earning the equivalent of £70 a month to honour them with a decent wage.

Other immediate projects that Love Is All We Need is taking on for this community include a campaign to have 500 children to start a new school year in January 2008 and to provide each home with a small, safe cooker.

Ultimately we are in the process of working towards building a village inside the community that we believe is a long term solution for restoring hope, love and security.

This describes one community.

THE VISION:

To utilize resources locally from the community eg. People in the community making bricks and being employed to build.

The project is child-led!! Children here funding the project there are leading it in conjunction with the children in the Sweet Waters community eg. The children decide what shape they want their houses to be.

While the village is being built there are skills around building that are being taught. Mark who will oversee the project is an experienced construction worker and has built in Africa before.

A real sense of community is restored inside of hope and possibility for the future.

The homes are safe dispelling childrens fears of what will come in to them from the night under ill fitting doors and through cracks in the walls.

Team Managment and Leadership Program participants use their wedding as an opportunity to raise money for charity

frarys1.jpgRichard Frary is a participant in the Team Managment and Leadership Program

 

On most bridal registries you will find things like coffee makers, china, linens and other household goods.

 

If you were on the guest list of Linda and Richard Frary’s wedding last spring, you would have found goats, pigs and trees; all items that they were asking be purchased through Heifer International in order to benefit children and families in rural villages around the world.


Richard and Linda were both participating at Landmark Education when they met. They say that as they began to plan their wedding they wanted to make sure that it made a difference in the world. Instead of having people give customary gifts they requested that people make donations to Heifer International.

Heifer International is a global non-profit that provides farm animals and trees to families in developing countries so that they can create economic self-reliance. Each donation pays for at least one animal that goes to a family in need and to date the Frary wedding has resulted in 55 donations.

Both retired from previous careers, Linda and Richard are dedicated to helping others fulfill their dreams. Said Richard, “You get nothing if you don’t give something away.”

You can read more about Richard and Linda’s wedding in this story from the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Couple proves it’s never too late to find true love


BY AIMEE CHOUINARD CORRESPONDENT

The Frarys are new homeowners in Beneva Pines. Married just a few weeks ago, Richard, 66, and Linda, 59, are a testament that finding love late in life is possible. In two weeks, they will embark on a three-week honeymoon toBora Bora. The Frarys dated for two years before they married. One year into the relationship, Richard Frary asked Linda to marry him.”I asked her, and she said, ‘No,'” Richard said with a laugh. “I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to get married again,” Linda explained. “And that was OK,” Richard said. “A couple months later, we were at the beach, looking out at the ocean, and I asked her again.”

 

They were married on Turtle Beach on Siesta Key, surrounded by family and friends, including Linda’s newly found birth family, whom Linda, who was adopted, never knew.Instead of registering for gifts at a department store, the Frarys registered with an organization called Heifer International, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help end world hunger and poverty through self-reliance and sustainability. More than 60 guests visited the Web site beforehand to donate goats, pigs and trees to help children and families around the world become self-reliant. Richard Frary has been retired for 10 years from his Miami wholesale air-conditioning and heating products company. Linda Frary owned a picture-framing store in Connecticut and opened the same business here in Sarasota. She recently closed Sarasota Framing and Design to retire.” We’re getting younger, so we need more time to play,” Richard Frary joked. The Frarys both have children from previous marriages, Linda has a daughter and Richard has a son and a daughter.Richard Frary recently moved from Miami to Englewood, leaving his Englewood beach home to live with Linda in Sarasota.

Some of their best memories are of hours they spent engrossed in long conversations about their lives, their families and their dreams at the beach house.” It was during those intimate conversations that I realized Richard was such a special guy,” Linda said.

Intimate conversations have been a part of the Frarys’ relationship since they both participated in personal development work with a company called Landmark Education.” Landmark has had a lot to do with the incredible relationship we have created. When I did the Landmark Forum, I got over my past. Linda was a huge support during that time. That’s when I fell in love with her,” Richard said. The Frays are committed to making a difference in their community and the world. “We have great friends,” Linda said. “We meet people everywhere we go and just start talking.

“We love to meet people when we travel and are looking for ways we can contribute in other countries. We strive to be an example of a loving relationship in the world.”

The Frarys say they love Sarasota because of the arts, the entertainment and the creative spiritual community with so many organizations to be a part of. They plan to keep Sarasota as their home while traveling the world. Linda volunteers with Girls Inc., assisting with classes and programs. She says she loves being with the kids. She plans to also continue her already established involvement with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.” We have an easygoing life,” Linda said. “We’re always running somewhere and always have something to do.”

In addition to traveling, the Frarys garden together and especially enjoy growing orchids. They kayak, snorkel and go boating together. Richard’s passion is windsurfing.“People ask, “How can I have what you and Linda have?” says Richard.

In unison, the Frarys say, “We just choose it!”

Educate, Entertain, Inform

My name is Tom Barwood and I am an educational presenter.  So some people may think that the magic of the Team Management and LeadershipProgram finishes when you leave the course. Wrong! Once you have the technology you can use it to create amazing things.

A year after I had finished the course I was asked by a school in Tonbridge, Kent if I would be prepared to do a presentation to all of the Year 11 students in three of the High schools in the town. This was a total of five hundred and eighty sixteen year olds, from three of the least academic schools in the town.

Initially I simply wanted to say No but instead I chose to say Yes.

Using team management and leadership I managed to create a day in which we educated, informed, entertained and fed all of those students – and all within budget.

I got an airline pilot and an Everest mountaineer involved. Also the mayor and various other people – but the most important thing was that the clients were delighted, my team really enjoyed it, I felt like a true leader – and it didn’t feel like particularly hard work. The kids themselves were superb and there was not one incident despite it being one boys school, a girls and one mixed – all of whom apparently don’t like each other.

The experience lifted my company and my view of myself as a presenter to an entirely different level.


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