Last Saturday I attended the star studded red carpet event by BraveHeart Women, and what an amazing night it was. Marla Maples, Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith of Agape and his wife Rickie, Courtney Cox and many more..
I was so inspired by hearing women from all walks of life, passionately express in their own words how they deal with their everyday challenges and the ways they wish and do make a difference in someone else’s life. Hearing Delta Burke, one of the stars of “Designing Women” television show, painfully talk about her battle with depression and her weight while on the show. Maya Angelou share words of wisdom, the talented and energized Carol Channing with her husband, an Armenian at that.. Harry Kullijian express deep concerns about our education system, the lack of art programs and creativity. A topic near and dear to my heart, we instantly connected and vowed to make a difference.
Overall, connected with like-mined people is what encourages our dreams, giving it that fire to keep going. Each one us can make a difference, in someone’s life, in our own way…
Helen Keller once said, “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
What is the one thing that you can do??
A couple months ago I blogged about getting to meet the inspiring author Don Miguel Ruiz. Now, just a short time later, I am happy to say that Don Miguel Ruiz has joined the gang! Dreams do come true.
We’ve been working closely together and are preparing to launch a national one dollar campaign to help Adopt-A-School in need. The one dollar campaign is so important especially now that there are continuous budget cuts for the education system. Each one dollar will move us towards providing schools with onsite and online training and will help to Jump-Start local students and teachers lifestyles and change the world. It’s all being launched very soon so be sure to check back and see when I’ll be appearing in your city!
Last night at a special event by Advance I heard CNN’s journalist Michael Ware talk about his incredible journey from Brisbane to Baghdad. He has lived the ‘War on Terror’ since 9/11, first in Afghanistan, then spending six years in Iraq as a front line journalist. Having a family myself in Baghdad, I was floored when I heard some of the horror stories and what is planned next for Iraq.
He talked about:
It was obvious to see how his up-front and personal experiences in these troubled regions have immensely carved him up to be one of the best journalists out there. It was refreshing to see him laugh, (see photo).
*Being kidnapped by Al Qaeda and surviving
*Dodging death every day
*Living in Baghdad near-continuously since before the American invasion
*Being embedded with American and British forces
*His views on American media
*The changing landscape of international media
Being an author, I have had the pleasure of meeting many inspiring authors such as Patricia Montandon, Deepak Chopra, Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield and so on. 7 years ago, after my book was first published, I came across a little book by Don Miguel Ruiz, titled “The Four Agreements.” Immediately, I knew that I needed to personally connect with Miguel Ruiz to further explore my philosophy about life. I located his phone numbers and attempted calling him several times, but never had the courage to leave a message. Today, 7 years later, on my birthday, I met with him, we hugged as if we have known one another a lifetime. perhaps we have. Listening to this master speak washed away all doubts about my own beliefs about life, kids, love and the future of mankind. His casual manner of speaking and simple methods of translating what is important in life resonated within my soul and I know that we have much work to do. For now I would like to induldge my spirit with the teachings of today, and more on this later.
America is blessed with an abundance of talent, resources, and social standing yet our education system always seems behind other industrial nations. Why is that? We are constantly telling one another to focus on the future; that our future is strong, that it will be better. How can it be better when our children, who are tomorrow’s adults, our future, are dropping out of school at a rate of 1 every 26 seconds?
Why is it that we increase funding for the military, jails, drug and alcohol treatments; all the while we continue to cut the education budget? Kids who are losing interest in school are the ones ending up drinking, abusing others and ending up in jail . We, as a country have the highest inmate population in the world. Why is that we are o.k with spending millions upon millions of dollars on treatments, we could very easily save ourselves few millions of dollars by focusing on preventive measures through education at an early age. Recent statistics showed that we spend on an average between $7,000-13,500 per student in the public education system, while we spend $35,000 per inmate in the jail. What’s wrong with this picture?
Being an advocate for children’s education, my investigative questioning about this deeply rooted problem soon turned into filming a documentary. I was a little hesitant at first, but I wanted to know where was the problem and how we can fix it …and fix we can, the question is…do we want to? I began shooting this documentary a couple of years ago and it is nearing completion. Click on the picture and watch the clip. Let me know your thoughts.
After attending the Dropout Prevention Summit at The Tiger Woods Learning Center back in February, I couldn’t resist going back and having the Vice President & Executive Director, Dr. Katherine E. Bihr, ED.D. join our gang. We just concluded the filming, we actually did the original filming last month, but for some reason the tape was bad, so we had to re-do it again. Kathy spoke about her difficulties as a kid in school because she was shy. She explained how she would make excuses to avoid going to school and how she overcame all those obstacles, learned to be comfortable in her own skin and take risks. Kathy shared some insight on ways to be successful and she came to be the Vice President of The Tiger Woods Learning Center. She also talks about the importance of exploring different methods of education. Kathy’s intriguing video will be uploaded soon. Be sure to look out for it.
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend and remember the men and women in uniforms who sacrifice their life everyday.
After so many years of working to develop better programs to empower and inspire kids about their education, we finally made an excellent connection. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s America’s Promise is dedicated to reducing the high school dropout rates in this country and as part of their alliance we are proud to expand on their work.
Yesterday I attended the Dropout Prevention Summit at the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, an incredible learning center, one that incorporates all the modern technologies in teaching-a cutting-edge model that many schools should aspire to.
Teachers, administrators and parents were feeling very frustrated by the recent budget cuts-especially considering the fact that India is surpassing the United States in graduates by 1 million and China’s graduation rate is double ours. Just saying you care about the education of kids is not enough, it’s time for action.
It was very uplifting to hear so many members of the community-judges, politicians and business owners express passionate thoughts and ideas about turning the tide on the dropout rate.
Of the top five reasons cited by kids for dropping out, number one was boredom, and the second reason was lack of positive role models and mentors. The question of the day was: with a lack of financial resources, how can teachers adopt innovative programs to maintain student’s interest and instill the importance of staying in school for their future?
What are your thoughts on this?
On my trip to Las Vegas last weekend, I caught up with Tony Maiden- known as the guitarist and singer for “Rufus/Chaka Khan. A Grammy-award winning musician, Tony has performed with a list of greats in the music industry that is far too long to include here. I also had a chance to meet his daughter Gabby Maiden-the first professional African-American female snowboarder at the 2009 Snowsports Industries AmericaTradeshow. Both father and daughter paid a high price for success on their respective paths, but the common thread between them is the focus and passion they share for what they do. Tune in for more on the life of this musical genius and to hear Gabby’s uplifting outlook on life and powerful message for the next generation.
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I am just leaving for Las Vegas where I will be filming 2 amazing role models from totally different careers, more on that later..I just had the pleasure of interviewing not one, but two mentors-the world famous ballerina/master ballet instructor Nadezhda(Nadya) Koscuik and her dancer/choreographer husband Golden Koscuik at their Westwood, California studio. I learned of their ascension to the top of the ballet world and of their strong commitment to helping aspiring dancers, which I discovered, stems from Nadya’s experience being mentored by the legendary Rudolph Nureyev and the mentoring Golden received from the prolific John Barrymore. Look for upcoming coverage of the full interview on this exciting couple, so you can find out about Nadya’s book, Golden’s “other” career that helped finance his dance training, how they are making an enormous impact by giving back to the community, and much more.
No matter what your dream career is, their story proves that no matter when you start, you can achieve anything if you are willing to work for it.