Tag Archive for: Family


Altruism? No way! Or Yes way.

Kamela Laird
Team San Francisco – T2Q4 (T2Q3 when interviewed)

Interviewed on Oct 2, 2013 by Connie Chow from Team San Francisco – T1Q1
Written on Feb 9, 2014 by Connie Chow from Team San Francisco – T1Q2

My very first weekend on TEAM in San Francisco started out fairly frustrating when we were constantly restoring integrity about EVERYTHING; I was just fed up. I hated restoring integrity because I only heard make wrong of the individual, make wrong of others, and make wrong of TEAM. I was getting ancy in my seat, sighing, and getting annoyed (while withholding!). People (who I now know as Team 2’s) kept interrupting the Team Leader from sharing her agenda…..rrRRrrr…..I couldn’t sit through this much longer. Then, Kamela gets the attention of the room by saying “one conversation over here”. She explains that she understands this process may seem frustrating and time consuming and explained that the Team, Management, and Leadership Program is one program that doesn’t have a manual because it’s entrepreneurial. There is no structure in a sense so we get to create what we want in TEAM. And sometimes it’s grueling and necessary to go through the process of restoring integrity.

My jaw literally dropped; JUST LIKE THAT Kamela restored my listening and participation in the weekend. She was able to ‘get’ the listening of those of us who were withholding (like me!). I thought “how did she do that?!” If this is what I’m going to get out of TEAM, then I am in the RIGHT place!

Kamela has consistently articulated her generous listening of TEAM and it is with awe and respect that I write this article. I hope you find this interview inspiring for you and your Game In The World.


What is the possibility of your Game In The World?

My possibility is being limitless generosity. I ask myself this question all the time to keep myself on track; it’s like a personal compass. Am I being limitless generosity right now? If I’m not, then I catch myself and redirect my listening to be more intentional and more generous.


What is your Game In The World?

Team 2’s play a different game than Team 1’s. One of the components of our game is being of service to others. So I started looking at what it means to be of service to others. In Landmark, we have being of service distinguished as being of service for no reason other than to just do it, not doing it to get something out of it, not doing it to make someone else feel good, not doing it to repay a favor… just to be of service and for no other reason. This led me to discover that my game was to empower others to fulfill on their dreams. My game is called Dreams Fulfilled – to be of service to others and to empower them to take actions to fulfill on their dreams. And in empowering, there’s a component of acknowledgement that occurs in every conversation.


How did you select your people to coach and how’s the experience been for you?

Dreams Fulfilled is mostly family – my mom, my dad, and my sister. I made a difference in having their dreams fulfilled. It’s amazing to have my sister listen to me in a way that she can have her measures fulfilled on. They all respect me highly as a coach and that didn’t exist before. All three of them took the Landmark Forum as a result of their new listening of me. The Landmark Forum came into my family through my stand in Team 2. Love occurs at a whole new level now. There are less barriers to hide behind and more honest communication.


What structure did you have in place for your Game Leaders and what were their dreams?

I set up weekly calls to coach six Game Leaders spread over five different games. The structure of our calls involved discussing breakdowns and breakthroughs with regards to their weekly measurable promises and results. In the beginning, we set up what they want to accomplish in the next three months. We create a possibility, an outcome, and measureable results for each game. Team 2 games are set up like Team 1’s GITWs. Every week I touch base with my Game Leaders and discuss whether they won or lost their measures for that week. It’s really about service and what’s really important to my coachees. I empower them to fulfill on their promises. It’s about coaching people to take actions to fulfill on what’s most important to them in their life.

My first Game Leaders are a couple who are business partners. They met in a prestigious design school in Atlanta and they left their prestigious jobs to pursue their business in branding and packaging design work. They are creating a nest egg for their marriage and to have babies. They created a game on gaining clients in the adult beverage and beauty industries. They generated clients, built a new website, and created financial milestones that allowed them to be in Turkey for a long vacation.

My next Game Leader is my father. He created a project around fundraising for a spiritual university where he’s a faculty member. Historically he hates fundraising. It was put on him because he’s a go-getter and an effective worker. So he agreed to take it on. He assessed how much the university needed, which was about $170K. He was overwhelmed by the amount needed. However, since he’s done the Forum, he said let’s be unreasonable and aimed for $250K instead. I saw what was ahead for me; I needed to be able to coach him around something that didn’t sound fun and sounded rather daunting. Using the technology of creating a possibility and creating outcomes, I was able to coach him to go for it! He embraced Landmark technology and kicked ass raising a total of $333K. He raised above and beyond his unreasonable goal! Each week I coached him, there were a lot of breakthroughs, including securing one generous donor who doubled other donations.

This quarter he’s creating a non-profit healing clinic linked to the spiritual university where he works. My dad is a medical doctor and practices alternative medicine. He wants to bring prophetic healing to everyone in the world. The university already supports a student practicum healing clinic that has patients from around the world. They perform Skype healings with people in Africa. It’s happening in a global scale. His dream is to create this healing that spreads across the world to heal people from cancer and heart disease. Touching lives at a global level. [Fast forward to February 2014: Kamela’s dad is focusing on the opening of his new healing clinic, the Shafiyy Institute, which will see its first patient this month!]

My sister is my next Game Leader. She created a game to find ‘the one’ for marriage and kids. She’s 32 years young and through the course of this game, a family friend recommended a London lad for her. My sister started dating him via Skype and it’s been 6 months of online dating. Two weeks ago she flew to London and met him for the first time. She met his mom, dad, sister and his community. They both agreed to continue going forward with the relationship. And now he has a trip booked to visit California to meet us, her family. She definitely has her eyes on this man. [Fast forward to February 2014: Kamela’s sister got engaged a couple months ago and just left for England to move in with her fiancé. They are getting married next month in England!]

My next Game Leader is a friend from college who now lives in Chicago. She works at a Catholic high school as the Extracurricular Activities Director in charge of all the clubs at the school. She’s guiding each student leader to create their Dreams Fulfilled inside the club. She recently took the Landmark Forum as well. Using Landmark style integrity and communication, she is asking the student leaders and the faculty representatives to commit to their promises and to hold their clubs to account. She has been a teacher for years and her passion resides in empowering youth through school channels and integrating those channels with the surrounding community. She loves seeing teachers create a brighter future through empowering the students.

My final game is around expanding a Reiki healing practice. My friend is a Team graduate and a Reiki Master Healer, which is the top ranking for the Reiki Healing method. He is developing a healing clinic. Since my dad is also creating a healing clinic, I combined the coaching calls for these two Game Leaders so they get to have conversations with each other. I created team around this conversation in hopes of having them support each other. Each week as a group we discussed what’s working and what’s not working with their game plans. Then one week I witnessed a breakthrough in their communication – they set up an additional conversation offline. I was really present to causing “others to others” communication.


What has been your experience in being of service to others?

It’s not tangible! Or, it is tangible but hard to articulate. There’s a level of power I have in life that I didn’t have before. It’s humbling and I’m careful to not abuse that power because I can create with my words. I consider everything I create for myself and am careful to say what I want and careful to not sarcastically say what I don’t want because then that gets created. I gained the “power to create” by being on Team and I have the opportunity to continually see my impact around the world. I didn’t focus on this at all in my first year on Team. Team 2 is a completely different program. I see how the space changes when I walk into it. I’m conscious of what I leave behind and am creating a legacy with the number of lives I touch.


How do you use distinctions from The Communications Program in your coaching?

Recreation is present on all of my coaching calls. It’s important for my Game Leaders to have what they’re up to reflected back to them, whether it’s a breakdown or a breakthrough. To have their breakthrough reflected back to them, they can get how big they truly are. And for breakdowns, they can see for themselves how to resolve the breakdown. Recreating them allows them to expand and move into the next level.

Coming from everything nothing is another distinction so I am present with my Game Leaders. I get behind whatever they are creating for themselves. This is their world and I’m in service to them. I can’t come in with an agenda because then I’m coaching them towards what I want and not what they want. I’m always getting back to nothing to clear the space to support them and their world (and their word!).


What breakdowns did you have and how did you overcome them?

When coaching my mom in a previous quarter earlier this year, she wanted to get research for the student healing clinic. She needed a statistically sound survey, which meant collecting a large population of data. She started interviewing clients but didn’t reach her goal in terms of number of people to interview. I helped her see that before the game, there was NO movement. So even though she is not as far ahead as she wanted the survey and data collection is in motion. We don’t stop at the breakdowns because breakdowns happen every day. Going forward we look at how we can make promises that we can fulfill on. We acknowledge and complete the breakdowns then make new promises based on concrete feasible opportunities.

I am so present to the lives transformed through Landmark’s Communications Program distinctions and look forward to my remaining quarters on the Team, Management, and Leadership Program. It is heart-warming to have this structure in place that mirrors back to us how incredibly miraculous we really are and opens the space for us to manage breakdowns.

Family Matters

Jaime Ramirez
Team Pacific Northwest
Team 2, Quarter 3

Possibility: Being Unstoppable and Unconditional Love.

Outcome:  People have the effectiveness, aliveness and accomplishment that lasts a lifetime.

At the San Francisco Weekend, the Global Leaders were talking about the importance of family. It was then that Jaime first realized how important it was share his experience of Team with his family. He believes in making dreams come true and having his family win at their own games was important to him. Here are four games around family.

His first game is to cause an Introduction Leader for Portland’s Family Division. Team, through Jaime’s coaching, is causing a participant in the Introduction Leadership Program to be candidated as an Introduction Leader so she can fulfill her dream of leading Introductions for Teens and young people. The game is to have her leading the Power to Create Evening Session on October 29th. She will then be qualified to lead Introductions for Family Division.

For his second game he is putting together a movie about his work with Persons with Disabilities. He has a friend, Russ who has shared with him the possibility to display a movie trailer, online. Together, Jaime and his friend are putting together a 3 minute preview of his movie. This is being done to show others and have them enrolled in the possibility of this film. The due date for filming and submitting this trailer is October 31st. We are now in process.

Third game is really the most important game. Jaime’s mother, Maria has a dream of creating a beautiful home. Jaime has really got how important this is to her. He has created the possibility, with her of the whole family working on as a team to fulfill her dream of a beautiful home. Together they will reorganize and recreate a family home that reflects her, newly found Joy and happiness. She says that she wants to do this because she wants to create something special to leave for his brothers to live in. Her goal is to have the family home look like it did when she and Jaime’s dad first purchased it.

They have started restoring one of the bathrooms, repairing a hole in the floor and the broken toilet. There is a light fixture that has been dangling from the ceiling and junk that has been surrounding the house. The light fixture has been repaired and the junk taken away. As well, the part of the house that was  once  damaged by a fire is now cleaned up and restored.

Now it is time for working with her to create what she really wants the house to look like and to focus in on one task that she can create team with my family to fulfill. Jaime’s mother is well on her way to fulfilling her dream of a beautiful home.

Jaime’s fourth game is with his sister, Melisa. She wants to earn an income to help her husband to provide a pretty home and life style that would make them happy. She also dreams of making little girls feel like Princess’s with dresses she has sewn. With Jaime’s coaching and support she has established a business out of her home The business is known as Boutique de Treaux and she is presently the sole seamstress. She can sew a little girl’s dress in thirty minutes. She sells them from her home through outside orders and online at Ebay.

She and a friend, also a seamstress, attend Fairs and Markets and set up booths for the display and sale of their clothing. Thanks to Jaime being a stand for his family fulfilling their dreams and bringing team to it.

To Jaime, the greatest advantage of having team leaders playing their games, and him, having caused their effective leadership in creating teams and team work is that they will really accelerate the rate at which their dreams come true. Everyone’s games are unfolding at different rates and regardless, having   taken  what he’s getting from team 2 and contributing that to each of them, gives them to extra boost they need to fulfill their dreams come true.

Jaime concludes to the following to his life. “I now know myself as someone who, around him, their dreams come true.”

These are Jaime’s words about how Landmark has influenced his life. “Through the Team Management and Leadership Program I now realize that I can have Team moving, rather than doing it all myself. I have a greater capacity to make others dreams come true, as well. I now know myself as someone who, around him, people’s dreams come true.”

"Mexico Movimento" – Get Mexico Moving

Paola Bortoluz from Team Mexico knows how to get a party started. Her “Party” is about celebrating the power and joy of making a difference. Through Mexico Moviemento, Paola has created a way for the entire country of Mexico to get up and DO SOMETHING!

Using her experience from Landmark Education’s Team Management and Leadership Program, Paola asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if people who wanted to get involved had an easy way of making a difference? Read more

Por l'Amor de Mis Hijas – Balancing Mind, Body and Soul

Lucia Grajales, of Team Mexico in Landmark Education’s Team, Management and Leadership Program, has created a safe space for children to discover themselves newly and for their parents to learn new ways to be great. Her Game In The World, “Integrated Health” was created as a gift to families to have them explore what a “healthy child” really is: one whose emotional, physical and spiritual selves are in total balance. Lucia is providing the keys for parents to identify and address well-being challenges that are beyond a physical ailment. Her intention: Creating awareness and responsibility in our children for their well being. Read more

México en Movimiento

Paola Bortoluz, (Landmark Education) Equipo México, sí que sabe cómo organizar una fiesta. Su “Fiesta” es acerca de celebrar el poder y la alegría de hacer una diferencia. A través de México en Movimiento, Paola ha creado un modelo para que todo México, como nación, se levante y ¡HAGA ALGO!

En su primer trimestre en EQUIPO, Paola se preguntó: “¿No sería grandioso que la gente que quiere involucrarse tuviera una manera sencilla de hacer una diferencia?”. Yo sentí que para las organizaciones era difícil compartir lo que están ofreciendo Y para la gente que quiera hacer el bien, sepa a dónde ir. En la Ciudad de México no hay muchas noticias locales, más bien son nacionales. En un área metropolitana con 20 millones de ciudadanos, si lo que tú estás haciendo no es ENORME, no se menciona en las noticias y pasa desapercibido. Así que Paola creó México en Movimiento para hacer que México se ponga en acción y que consiste en una base de datos nacional de creación reciente que contiene todas las organizaciones que están haciendo una diferencia con el fin de que los ciudadanos que estén listos para ser de servicio a la comunidad puedan encontrarlas. Paola fundó esta organización con cinco de sus mejores amigos y su esposo y se fueron directo a la acción. Ellos compartieron con tal pasión y compromiso que profesionales muy ocupados y sus familias, se inscribieron para… ¡tener más responsabilidad! Paola, una economista y co-propietaria de una firma de consultoría, compartió: “Mis amigos realmente me mantenían jugando el juego cuando yo quería renunciar Ellos se volvieron tan apasionados acerca de este movimiento, como yo lo estaba para ser de servicio a las comunidades, a mi país y a la humanidad. Uno de mis compañeros de equipo vuela tres horas y media desde San Diego para estar en nuestras reuniones. Estos son hombres muy ocupados que están tan involucrados y comprometidos con México en Movimiento que no renuncio porque no los puedo decepcionar”

Paola ha hecho crecer su equipo de 6 a 12 miembros a través de ¡COMPARTIR! “Yo me encontré a dos amigos del colegio y les dije qué era lo que estaba haciendo desde la última vez que nos vimos y los invité a que se unieran al equipo”, ella explica. “Uno de ellos me llamó tres meses después y me dijo que había creado una idea fabulosa para la campaña de Relaciones Públicas. Dos de los nuevos miembros son mis amigas, de hecho las esposas de los seis miembros originales, quienes se aseguran de que se cumplan las acciones que sus esposos prometieron, lo cual es increíble!”

México en Movimiento está en sociedad con El Centro de Filantropía de la Ciudad de México que tiene 2000 miembros en su organización. Ellos lanzarán en Septiembre del 2010 una campaña a lo largo de todo el país y a través del sitio Web. Como madre de dos jovencitos, Paola ahora está buscando organizaciones que hagan que los niños sean de servicio para sus comunidades también. “Yo quiero que los niños realmente sepan la importancia de devolver.” ¡Bravo Paola!

Miembro del Equipo: Paola Bortoluz
Equipo México
Juego en el Mundo: México en Movimiento
Escrito en Inglés por Anasuya Isaacs y Editado en Inglés por Micole Noble y Traducido al Español por MariMar Covarrubias y Editado en Español por Astrid Reusche-Lari

Por l’Amor de Mis Hijas

Lucía Grajales, (Landmark Education) Equipo México, ha creado un espacio seguro para padres e hijos donde descubrieron juntos una nueva manera de cuidar su salud; como resultado; ver su grandeza, responsabilidad y aceptación. Su juego en el mundo, “Salud Integral” fue creado como un regalo a las familias donde pudieron explorar lo que es cuidar de salud en forma integral: la parte emocional, la física y la espiritual, tres esferas, buscando su equilibrio. Lucía provee a muchos padres las herramientas para puedan identificar y atender los retos de salud y bienestar que van mas aya de malestar fisico. Su intención es: crear conciencia y responsabilidad en nuestros hijos para su bienestar.

Lucía hace incapie en que, “La familia es la base de la sociedad. Muchas de las quejas que nos atañen actualmnete se originan en el seno de nuestras familias, por lo que es importante empezar a cuidar la salud de nuestros hijos de manera holística.” Ella continúa: “En el ritmo acelerado del mundo en que vivimos, la salud de nuestra mente es a menudo violada y abandonada. No es raro que, entonces aparezcan trastornos físicos y el resultado de cuerpos, mentes y emociones se encuentren en desequilibrio.”

Es por eso que su projecto “Por amor a mis hijas” fue creado. Lucía queria buscar la maner de ayudarlas sin perturbar sus emociones. Su hija de 8 años de edad esta lidiando con el sobrepeso a un punto no muy lejano de la obesidad y su hija de 10 años de edad, esta lidiando con el dolor y la culpa de la pérdida de una mascota querida y la separación de sus abuelos maternos. En verdad: “No tengo ni idea de que hacer”, comparte Lucía. Al compartir con amigos Lucía se dio cuenta de la falta de preparacion por parte de los padres para lidiar dos que estos temas. Cuatro talleres con especialistas fueron diseñados para que padres e hijos participaran juntos en el aprendizaje e investigación y en el diálogo abierto en grupo.

Sus hijas fueron las primeras en estar en su equipo. Luego su esposo, una amiga y un amigo se convirtieron en parte de su equipo, al igual que los especialistas que llevaron los talleres. En el primer taller el objetivo fue que los niños sepan que existen tecnologías que a través de respiraciones, sonido y ejercicios simples uno puede mejorar la concentración, inteligencia, creatividad, salud, bienestar emocional, relaciones personales y que con algunas técnicas se puede evitar el estrés. El segundo taller exploró cómo la autoestima de sus hijos es una consecuencia directa de los padres, por lo cual este taller fue estrictamente solo para los padres.

El tercer taller enseño a los niños las leyes de la vida, los ciclos naturales desde el nacimiento hasta la muerte para ayudarlos con el dolor y las pérdidas. El taller final se enfrenta a los desórdenes emocionales detrás de los trastornos alimenticios.

Debido al tamaño del lugar destinado para las pláticas, los talleres se limitaron a diez familias. Sin embargo, Lucía está elaborando una revista con el contenido de los talleres que incluye la experiencia, testimonios, ejercicios, las acciones de los participantes y las imágenes de los mismos, que se distribuirá en tres escuelas privadas para que todas las familias en 3 comunidades tengan acceso a lo que se vivió, de manera de compartir y expandir que hay formas y lugares que puedan apoyar a las familias que así lo requieran

Después de dos talleres, las hijas de Lucía comenzaron a abrirse, empezarón a compartir sentimientos y emociones. Lucía empezó a contener todo su corazón sobre lo que estaban sintiendo, aflorando una nueva profundidad de confianza y afinidad. “No podría estar más feliz”, dice con excesiva efusión Lucía, por siempre agradecida.

Miembro del Equipo: Lucia del Pilar Grajales Leal
Equipo Mexico
Juego en el Mundo: “POR AMOR A MIS HIJAS” ~ Equilibrio,; Cuerpo , Mente y Alma
Escrito en Inglés por Anasuya Isaacs y Editado en Inglés por Shash Broxson y Traducido al Español por Lucia del Pilar Grajales Leal y Editado en Español por Sandra Villacis




Angela Wilson-Team Detroit, T2,Q4

ANGELA WILSON has a vision for Detroit. She has a vision of a city where children are nurtured and cared for, a place where families have access to everything they need. She believes that it is city leaders who will transform her city.

With this in mind, she made the decision to run for Detroit City Council. She used her participation in the Team Management and Leadership Program to create a Game in the World where, with the help of four teams, she would be elected to the city council. She and her teams created the acronym PEOPLE – standing for People Empowerment, Openness, Principled Leadership and Excellence in Detroit government.

The four teams, with two leaders on each team, are:

1) Resource development team – to raise money and secure other resources including businesses, people and time;

2) Community team – to engage the community, recruit volunteers, community events, creating events around a platform and align with others platforms;

3) Partnership team – to focus on creating partnerships with other candidates and share resources; and

4) Leadership team – to manage all teams, making broad policy decisions, approaching and supporting other teams.

When Angela lost the primary on Tuesday August 4th, she and her team leaned some invaluable lessons, the most important of which was to not give up on the game. They are still passionate leaders committed to transforming their city, but have aligned behind two winning primary candidates and will bring the power of their game to those leaders.

The transformation Angela is committed to for Detroit has already begun. People are seeing the possibility of a city that isn’t doing business as usual – they are not settling for ‘the way it’s been.’ A big shift occurred in the last election: of the six incumbent members running, only two made it into the top five. Since the top nine candidates will become the city council members, at least four will be new. This has never happened in Detroit politics before. Detroit is playing a different game now – a game of transformation.

Angela has learned two critical things from her game: First, that team–a real team, not just names, requires people who are committed and clear about their role. Second, she learned that it is crucial to listen ‘for’ what people are committed to, not just the words but for the intentions behind the words.

As she completes her second year in TMLP, Angela found out what was important was not just winning a council seat, but the training and development in playing the game and learning what works in the practice of playing.

Written by Judi Romaine, Edited by Jeff Bonar



Windows Of the World! – An International Event

Katherine Barling-Team Melbourne, Australia T2, Completed

I’m in the middle of Melbourne’s grand civic square with a huge screen – it’s a world wide event focusing on the amazing creative projects that are happening now, creating a world that is environmentally sustainable, socially just and community focused. There’s a container painted all over with animals, bound for India, as an education centre. Another container stands nearby to be out-fitted as India’s 1st mobile medical centre of it’s kind, with equipment already donated. It is covered in artwork representing the schools that have also contributed. 1000’s of people are gathered to celebrate the world we live in, the communities we live in and the projects and activities we participate in to make this world a better place for all, for now and for future generations.


Their attention is on the big screen, viewing cutting edge, short films representing many projects around the world that are making a difference. Guest presenters speak passionately of the project, answer questions and engage the audience for contribution of ideas, debate and collaboration. At café’s and restaurants around the square, excited discussions continue when the films are over.

That’s what I envisage for a few weeks away, 6 nights starting September 12, 2009. It’s taken a village of people to put this together – teams of collaborators, film-makers and editors, designers and artists, event coordinators to undertake calls and meetings, letters and follow up and invitations to indigenous elders, city dignitaries, heads of state, community leaders and members.

What the team has accomplished in less than 6 months is extraordinary! This is a world class event, focused on what is making a difference in the world now, beamed to 40 countries, with over 50 communities in Melbourne taking part, with leaders of different faith, meeting and working together to bring their communities to participate, supporting communities affected by the bush fires earlier this year, supporting indigenous communities and their art from across the country, witnessing the ancient art from war-torn lands, refugees re-create in an Australian context and more. Much more. And now these have been filmed and are screening centre stage.

In these challenging times of financial and environmental crisis, social upheaval and uncertainty, an event that gives people hope that the future that we want is indeed possible and achievable now.

The project has also created www.windowsoftheworld.com.au, which will be launched by 21 Aug 2009 where others projects around the world can link in, provide their films or let us know of their projects and teams can link up together.

Project initiated 3rd Quarter Team 2, 7 months ago, as the result of training in being an extraordinary communicator through teamwork. Project sparked by the indigenous people of Ecuador (Changing the Dream Symposium).



Sylvie Chapdelaine- Team Montreal, Team 2, Quarter 1


Going through a divorce is never easy, but as Sylvie Chapdelaine found out, it was even harder for her seven year old son, Francois-Xavier. Constantly bouncing between his parents’ homes was difficult for him. He felt caught in the middle and pressured to choose one parent over the other. Francois didn’t want to hurt either one and was afraid to express his feelings. Sylvie felt as though she was losing her son.  He was no longer happy and had become withdrawn. 


Fast forward to today. Francois-Xavier is a fully self-expressed child, full of life and love. How did this dramatic change happen?  It all started with Sylvie’s commitment to her son and the knowledge she learned through Landmark Education’s Team Management and Leadership Program. Sylvie had a vision of sharing love, freedom, and wonder authentically with her son, and inspiring other families going through similar circumstances to create the same for themselves. She was excited about the notion of families where the children of divorced parents could freely express their feelings. Out of this dream, she created her Game in the World, Freedom of Choice for Children. The game itself was to design a cookbook for her son, Francois-Xavier. But this wasn’t just any cookbook. It was one with a special ingredient, Francois-Xavier.


Rather than creating a cookbook for her son, Sylvie empowered Francois-Xavier to create a team to make the cookbook.  She discovered that at seven years of age, Francois- Xavier was a true leader.  He inspired his team to complete every task of the cookbook –from selecting the recipes to designing the vision for the artwork to developing the stories about the recipes. His cousins picked out the recipes, his grandmother wrote the stories, and his uncle developed a family website so they could track the progress of the book. They are having so much fun that they want to create more books and short stories together in the future.


In the last three months, Francois-Xavier has completely transformed.  He is now able to freely express himself. He feels loved by his entire family and no longer feels the need to choose between his parents.  Sylvie knows that when Francois-Xavier is older and reflects on this period of his life, he will remember how much fun he had creating this cookbook with his family and the freedom and self-assurance it brought him. 


With the cookbook in the process of being completed in August, Sylvie, her son, and the entire family wants to be a model for families caught up in divorce. They are committed that all children from divorced families are able to be fully self-expressed just like Francois-Xavier.  They want every child to have the Freedom of Choice; the freedom to rise above the circumstances of divorce and create their own future. 


Sylvie recognizes that she could not have done this alone.  She acknowledges Team Montreal for supporting her and giving her the strength and courage to keep the possibility she created for her son alive at all times.  Through the Team Management and Leadership Program, Sylvie has learned to stay powerful, fully self expressed and at ease; even during the times she could not physically be with her son. Through the game she created, Sylvie and Francois-Xavier have created a relationship full of fun, laughter, and most importantly, love. 



Don Murphy- Team Cincinnati, Team 1, Quarter 3

Have you ever wanted to have a second chance at something?  For many ex-felons, they want just that, but they rarely get a second chance. This is where Don Murphy and his Game in the World, A New Lease on Life, stepped in.


Don began formulating A New Lease on Life in October 2008, when he got excited an idea that the re-entry process for ex-felons could be transformed.  As a public defender, he had firsthand experience of the criminal justice system and didn’t like what he saw –a constant stream of low-income felons entering and re-entering the prisons, people stuck in a cycle without a support structure to change anything. Don dreamed about creating a safety net for ex-felons, a program that would provide inspiration, completion, and an opportunity for service. A New Lease on Life would give them a second chance where they could discover ways to not only survive outside of prison but make a contribution to their communities.


Typically, when felons are released from prison, they are given a little money and sent out into the real world.   In many cases they have no job, no shelter, and no food—and little chance to succeed.  Companies don’t want to hire ex-felons and apartment owners don’t want to rent to them. Some ex-felons are even ineligible for any Federal assistance programs. To get by, some resort to old habits and commit crimes, while others violate parole simply due to lack of transportation to attend required meetings. With the cards stacked against them, a high percentage of ex-felons end up back in prison.


A New Lease on Life is out to break that cycle.  The program’s mission is to provide ex-felons with opportunities for employment and self-sufficiency; in fact they get a new lease on life. Participating in the program, they have an opportunity to, not only reverse the high recidivism rates for prisons, but to go out and make a difference for themselves and their communities.


To accomplish his mission, Don partnered with Jesus House, a halfway house, with a goal of providing food, shelter, and transportation to parolees. The ex-felons are able to stop worrying about basic necessities and start speculating on what they can accomplish in their lives. Jesus House already has a successful model, with an 87% success rate in keeping ex-felons from re-entering the prison system.  Now, Don and his team are in the process of improving upon that success rate by creating a series of classes teaching ex-felons life skills, things like how to write a resume and how to interview for a job.  A New Lease on Life is also creating a safe space for the ex-felons to discuss what stops them from being able to reach their goals. 


With new hope, the ex-felons are also participating in creating the career fair by recruiting potential employers.  Others in the community are getting involved, creating “suit drives” to provide these ex-felons with suits for their job interview.   A New Lease on Life also wants to raise $10,000 for Jesus House by the end of 2009. 


People in the community are starting to take notice. An Indiana University criminal justice professor has begun an independent evaluation of the program that will allow Don and Jesus House to apply for grants to fund programs and expand Jesus House to other cities. 


While it’s predictable for released felons to be trapped by the circumstances of criminal activity they find themselves in, Don and his team are committed altering their circumstances and giving each of them a chance to have their dreams fulfilled. 


If you would like to join Don in his mission or contribute to A New Lease on Life, you can email him at DSMurphy@iquest.net.