Monday, April 30, 2007

Landmark Self-Expression and Leadership Project in Canada to Raise Money to Fight Maleria in Africa

Mother's Day Bowling Event to Raise Money to Purchase Bednets

From: Canadian Broadcasting Company

More needs to be done to fight malaria, one of the biggest killers of children in Africa, advocates said Wednesday in support of a bed-net fundraising campaign.

For several years, African governments have marked April 25 as Africa Malaria Day, to raise awareness of the devastating effect the disease has on the continent. The infectious disease kills one million children in Africa a year, with 3,000 children dying daily.

Abuk Pearson from Darfur beat the odds for African children by surviving malaria.
Mosquitoes tend to bite at night while children are sleeping, but bed nets can help. UNICEF studies suggest proper use of insecticide-treated bed nets can cut transmission in half, and reduce under-five mortality from all causes by up to 25 per cent.

Canadians are responding to the Spread the Net campaign launched last year by MP Belinda Stronach and satirist Rick Mercer.

Under the motto "Ten bucks. One bed net. One life," the campaign aims to send 500,000 bed nets to Liberia and Rwanda over the next two years. UNICEF will distribute the bed nets.

"I give 10 bucks, I can prevent a child from getting sick or dying," said Nigel Fisher, president and CEO of UNICEF Canada. "That's impact."

Startling statistic
Campaign posters declare that a child dies every 30 seconds, a statistic that startled Laurie Hunter of Oakville, Ont.

"It's such a simple, low-cost solution to children dying," said Hunter. "I see my kids tucked into bed safe, and I think as a mother it's hard to believe."

Hunter and her friends decided to host a bowling-for-bed-nets fundraiser on Mother's Day, aiming to raise enough money to buy 1,000 nets.

Spread the Net ambassador and Liberal MP Glen Pearson from London, Ont., said it was easy to have his malaria treated in Canada, but the treatment is not readily available in Africa.

"It can be beat, and it has been beat in our family's case," Pearson said of his adopted daughter Abuk, who was underweight and infected with malaria in Darfur. She was not expected to survive.

Last year, Pearson discovered Abuk's twin sister and older brother were also alive. The family now plans to adopt Abuk's sibilings, who also have malaria, saying she has the right to live with her own family.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Landmark Education Graduate Ameet Maturu brings New Yorkers together in the First Annual Great Squash Cook Off.

The Great Squash Cook Off

From: The Park Slope Courier
By: Mathew Moll

While millions around the country are focused on a game to decide football supremacy, the local squash world will be lining its stomachs, preparing to crown its own champion.

Twenty contestants are slated to compete in The Great Squash Cook-Off, a community-based “Iron Chef” inspired contest, on Feb. 4 at the V-Spot – a vegan restaurant – located at 156 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope.

“This is a chance to bring people in the community together and support seasonal eating,” said Ameet Maturu, whose company The Intuitive Cook organized the event. “We hope people will more become aware of what is available naturally this time of year.”

On the Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” the contestants are assigned one ingredient from which to cook a gourmet meal. Maturu’s version is to take one seasonal ingredient, make one dish, keep it local and keep it vegan. Which according to the American Vegan Society, means only products from the plant kingdom are allowed. No meat. No dairy.

Maturu, 28, described seasonal eating as people incorporating the season’s natural harvest into their diets. This, according to Maturu, supports local farms, benefits the body, and helps consumers connect with the origins of food.


About 30 contestants submitted recipes and short anecdotes describing how they created their dishes. Judges selected the 20 contestants who were chosen on how interesting the stories were and the simplicity of the dish.

Members of the public will also be able to attend and vote on their favorite dish. The V-Spot is scheduled to open its doors at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 4 to the public. Admission to the cook-off is $15.

The winner will be awarded $200 cash prize and the dish will be featured on the V-Spot’s menu where it will remain for at least the winter, but with the possibility of becoming a permanent item.

They’ll compete in one of three categories: soups/stews/chilis, entrees and sides, and desserts.

“Winter squash is available naturally this time of year and provides many of the vitamins the body needs to survive the winter,” said Maturu.

Danny Carabano, owner of the V-Spot, saw the contest as a chance to have a new event at his nine-month-old restaurant.

When Maturu and Carabano met through a mutual acquaintance their interests complemented each other like tempeh and tofu.

The V-Spot is in its nascent state searching for new ways to reach what Carabano called a growing vegetarian population in Park Slope.

“When Ameet and I met he already had the cook-off in mind,” said Carabano who worked for six years as a teacher while he saved to open his restaurant. “After we spoke it just made sense.”

Carabano, who has a palate for cooking, and wears faded jeans and a T-shirt is a restaurateur, sous chef, promoter and waiter.

Carabano said limited dining options motivated him to open a vegan restaurant, and Maturu’s idea seemed like fun, even if he has only made squash soup.

“Yeah, I generally don’t make squash,” said Carabano. “So I am interested in trying new dishes.”

Maturu moved to New York City from San Francisco to study at the Institute of Interactive Nutrition, where he became a holistic health counselor. At Maturu’s new business, The Intuitive Cook, he advises his clients on diet, nutrition, and lifestyle. The idea to combine one of Maturu’s favorite shows, “The Iron Chef,” with his professional career was an ideal way for Maturu to meet members of the community and cook with them.

But culinary combat with dishes with names such as Three Sisters Chili and Three Sisters Stew, the event may prove to be more about camaraderie than clashing; more about the history of dishes than the histrionics the Food Network’s reality show provides.

The same panel of six judges, Carabano, Maturu, Kala Lea, co-owner of Smooch, an organic restaurant in Fort Green; Vikas Khanna, a restaurant consultant and owner; Anna Lappe, the author of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic; and Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of Vegan with a Vengeance will judge the dishes based on taste, presentation, and ease of preparation.

“We want something other people in the community can make,” said Carabano.

“The idea of this event is to help people get more connected with their food, and to others who enjoy cooking,” said Maturu.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Landmark Education Graduate, Best Selling Author and Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, Ben Zander Interviewed on Canadian Television

Landmark Education Graduate Ben Zander, best selling business author and conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Symphany was interviewed on Canadian Televsion. He is show leading a seminar for musicians in Toronto Canada and speaking about leadership, transformation, Landmark Education and The Landmark Forum.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Landmark Education Graduate Project Uses Improv Comedy to Contribute to Survivors of Sexual Assualt

Using Improvisational Comedy to Bring Laughter and Light Heartedness Back Into the Lives of Survivors of Sexual Assault.

Andrea Howe used the Landmark Education Self Expression and Leadership Program to create an organizations called "Living Out Loud". A survivor of sexual assault herself, Andrea had come a long way in her healing proccess and wanted to contribute to other women with a similar experience.

Living Out Loud workshops use the vehicle of improvisational comedy to help survivors who are ready begin to bring laughter and light-heartedness back into their lives.

Listen to an iterview with Andrea Howe on Washington Post Radio

Living Out Loud Website

Friday, April 13, 2007

Landmark Education Self-Expression and Leadership Project Gives Senior Citizens a Thrill by Taking Them for Motorcycle Rides

Landmark Self Expression and Leadership Project called G.O.P.A.T. (Giving Old People A Thrill)

New Zealand Self Expression and Leadership Program Participant Max Vodane created a project that brought the Ulysses Motor Bike Club together with the St. Andrews Retirement Community. Bike Club Members took Senior Citizens from St. Andrews for rides on Motorcyles.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Landmark Education Graduate Ginna Goodenow Creates Project to Raise Money to buy Prosthetic Limbs for Kids

Limbs For Life

From 9NEWS NOW Washington D.C.
If there was ever a pitch for a cause, Jessica Rogers knows how to hit it.

"Some kids that don't have legs and arms, they're gonna get money for them to get fake legs and arms."

"How important is that?" asks 9NEWS NOW reporter Emily Schmidt.

"That’s really important because you want to feel like everybody else."

So does Dayton, a kid who runs the bases in 12 seconds flat with out the help of legs. Margaret Wesley wants to see him running even faster with a prosthetic.

"When I look at kids playing ball, I see kids who have a chance to do what I've done as an amputee."

A bus accident took her leg when she was 18; a prosthetic leg gave freedom in return. But it is not cheap. Jerett's dad, Craig Coleman, says his son's braces are 5000 dollars for each quickly-growing leg.

"Insurance says every three years, but he's seven, and on his fourth pair."

Ginna Goodenow says, "These kids deserve to live happy, normal, free lives. And prosthetics are important for them to be able to do that."

So Saturday morning on the national mall, kids of all abilities are invited to come get their kicks in any kind of a sport and benefit a nonprofit group called "Limbs for Life."

"They provide limbs at very low costs. For 1500 dollars they can achieve what 30 thousand may cost someone else."

Jessica's own prosthetic legs are getting fixed right now. She knows what they give her and what others think when she goes without.

"They probably think, 'oh my gosh --- her legs. She doesn't have any...ugh!' But really, I just had surgery on them, haven't you had surgery before?"

These kids can outrun adversity now; imagine what would happen if prosthetics took them to the next step.

The second Annual Kicking For Kids Who Cant is going to be held on October 7th, 2007.

See Addtional Coverage of the project on Fox News

Visit the Kicking For Kids Who Cant Website

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Landmark Education Self Expression & Leadership Project Uses Photography to Help Children Living in a Tough Neighborhood Find Beauty in Everyday Life

Uplifiting Images Of Tenderloin CommunityStudents Help Change Perception Of Tough Neighborhood

See the Video

From ABC7 KGO-TV/DT San Francisco
By Carolyn Tyler
Mar. 28 - KGO - We want to take you to a school in a tough San Francisco neighborhood that's helping their students rise above their environment in a very creative way.

De Marillac Academy sits in the heart of the Tenderloin, a neighborhood plagued by chronic homelessness, drugs and despair.

Sufian Yahya, Student: "I live across the street and when some people ask me for spare change and they're smoking in my face, so then I just have to walk away."

Most of the students here live nearby. De Marillac is a Catholic elementary school founded in 2001 specifically to meet the needs of inner-city kids. Once they enter the classroom, the chaos outside is left behind.

Mike Daniels, De Marillac Academy: "We believe that we are really serving as a beacon of hope for the families and the students of the Tenderloin."

Today, these fourth graders who are sometimes overwhelmed by the negatives of the neighborhood will focus literally on the positive. They're partnering with high school students from Sacred Heart to learn digital photography.

It's Sally Allen's idea. She's with a program called Artseed and says the purpose is to bring joy.

Sally Allen, Artseed: "Also, to help them with their self-image and to give them a sense of their community."

The Civic Center Farmer's Market presented a vibrant backdrop for the young photographers to try their hand at capturing images around them.

Precious Listana, Student: "Pigeons, buildings and a fountain."

They had no problems finding things of beauty in their own backyard -- uplifting pictures and inspiring photos that might help change their perception of where they live.

The children's photos will eventually become part of a permanent display at school -- another view of their neighborhood.

Copyright 2007, ABC7/KGO-TV/DT.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Landmark Forum Graduates and Filmakers Document Fair Trade Measures in Africa

240,000 Miles, $1,000 in Shots, Two Feet From Instant Death

Jessica and Bill Kizorek are not strangers to international travel. They have been to a combined total of 200 countries, including one journey involving all seven continents.

By the beginning of 2007 the pair had committed to a unique kind of travel mission—giving away, in twelve months, one million frequent flyer miles to various global charities. They would also throw in their expertise as filmmakers to go abroad and document the good works of organizations who were helping out the world’s needy.

The daddy/daughter duo just got back from one of those video missions this time to Kumasi and Accra, both in the West African country of Ghana. “This was the most challenging so far,” said Jessica. “In our earlier trips to Cambodia and Moldova no vaccinations were required. Because of the potential for sickness I loaded up on Hepatitis A, Diptheria, Percussus, Tetanus, Meningitis, and Yellow Fever shots. My dad got even a few more because he was heading off to Rwanda and the Congo the following month. Both of us got prescription for aspirin-sized malaria tablets (Malerone). Together we spent over a thousand dollars on shots.”

In addition, they were outfitted with Buzz Off clothing, a product made by ExOfficio. The garments are embedded with a man-made version of a natural insect repellant found in certain chrysanthemums. This also helped protect the duo from potentially dangerous insect bites.

Delta’s new service direct from the USA to Accra saved the team from having to use up two days by flying first to London and then to West Africa. “I turned in 240,000 miles for a couple of tickets,” explained Bill. “By the time we arrived the heat, humidity and mosquitoes were ready. That first day we met a girl from Boston college who was working in town. She told us that, in spite of taking her malaria tablets, she had contracted Malaria three times.”

The Kizoreks had two missions while here; the first was to document the effect that vitamins and glyco-nutrients had on impoverished children in Accra, the second was to make a documentary film about how Fair Trade cocoa bean farming around the Kumasi region had improved the quality of life for tens of thousands of workers. Manna Relief was supplying the food supplements, and Lutheran World Relief (LWR) was now in partnership with Divine Chocolate—the end product of the cocoa bean harvest.

One of the most compelling days was at an orphanage outside two hour’s drive north of Africa. Rural. Twenty kids, mostly orphaned by parents who died of AIDS. They had a rickety structure about the size of a small American bedroom, but split in two. Ten kids slept on each side.

In spite of the almost abject poverty, the locals put out a welcome mat of with song and dance. After the ceremony, and distribution of vitamins there was a walk to hole in the ground where the townspeople scoop out buckets of a foggy substance resembling dirty dish water more than it does acceptable drinking water. They don’t boil it, just drink it, swallowing whatever bits of earth and bugs are suspended in it. Sickness abounds in the community largely due to a ghastly water supply. It would cost $5,500 to dig a well that would provide clean water for the entire community of 2,000 human beings, but none is planned.

Although also a poor town, a different scene appeared outside of Kumasi, five hours drive north of Accra. Here 40,000 cocoa farmers have banded together to form the Kapua Kakoo cocoa bean cooperative. Because of a deal with Divine Chocolate and now LWR, the beans are sold under “Fair Trade” agreements to allow the farmers to make a sustainable wage out of their efforts.

Jessica and Bill filmed the farm operations where cocoa bean pods grew on thirty-foot tall trees. Breaking open an avocado-sized pod revealed dozens of seeds with a slimy, white, vanilla-tasting coating. Many of these beans would later be dried out and shipped internationally to be processed by Divine Chocolate. The extra money created by the Fair Trade practices was invested in schools, wells, and other projects (snail farms, soap-making) which allowed the locals to enjoy, creating a more life for the farm families.

Because of the lack of resources in some parts of Africa, vehicle maintenance is not up to U.S.A. standards. This may or not have been the cause of a “near death” experience for Bill Kizorek, but he was lucky to leave this assignment alive. After checking emails one night he hopped into a taxi for a five minute ride back to the Precise Lodge. The taxi stopped because a street fight was blocking the road. What did not stop was a semi truck (who whose driver would later tell police the brakes failed) that came barreling into the stopped traffic. It appeared that, at the last second, he might have tried to aim his eight-foot wide truck into the four-foot space between Bill’s taxi and the cab parked in the opposite direction. In an instant Bill’s taxi was hurled into a drainage ditch as the truck plowed into four more vehicles. Bill kicked out the window of the taxi, ran for his life—not knowing if the truck was a fuel tanker ready to blow up.

According to Bill, “the taxi that was next to me facing towards the truck was severely demolished. If the truck was just a foot or two over on my side, my head would have been ripped off by the impact. I have no idea why he decided to veer into the other lane rather than just crush us instead. He must have been in my lane to begin with because he was on a narrow road traveling in the same direction as my taxi.” Bill ended up covered in bruises and was put on the next Delta flight to New York.

According to Jessica, “my father is aware of the risks that go hand in hand visiting some of the poorest areas of the world: bugs, heat, snakes, diseases. This was something so random. I am glad we are both returning to tell the story of the need as well as those who have found a way to survive by taking control of their own fate.”

Last year Bill Kizorek entered his S.E.L.P. course with no idea of what he was going to do. He chose, for his project, to go to Thailand and Cambodia to document the work of a Seattle-based charity. He went on to donate a million more frequent flyer miles to charity in 2007. Jessica will be approved to lead the Self Expression and Leadership Program in June of 2007.

Jessica lives in Dania Beach, FL, Bill in Lisle, IL

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