Monthly Archives: August 2008

Self-Expression and Leadership Program Projects on YouTube

There are countless worthy projects created in the Self-Expression and Leadership Program that have videos about them up on the Youtube video service. We will summarize a small portion of them and give links to the videos that you can watch.

Causes for Change

Chicago resident Zully Alvarado founded Causes for Change in order to contribute to children and families in the poorest regions of Ecuador. Alvarado grew up with Polio in Ecuador, and only through the help of a priest and his family in Chicago was she able to get the treatment she needed, so she knows personally the difference that can be made. Watch the Causes for Change video.

G.O.P.A.T. — Giving Old People a Thrill

Australian Max Vodane created a project that scores high points for originality and inspiration. He partnered a local motorcycle club with a local retirement home to allow seniors something they usually don’t get–Excitement in the form of a motorcycle ride. Watch older folk ride!

Special Spectators

Since 2002, Special Spectators has created magical days for critically ill children involving top college and professional athletes. Typically, a child and his or her family will come to an event, tour the locker room and meet players and coaches, and be introduced over loudspeaker at halftime, resulting in a standing ovation for the child. Blake Rockwell created this 5013C in 2002 out of his participation in Landmark’s SELP Program. Check out Special Spectators on ESPN.

Through my Eyes

David Whelan created this project as a three day photography event at the Hutch School at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Young people there were given cameras and the opportunity to take pictures on a photo safari all over Seattle. The photographs were developed for the children and framed, and they were given the opportunity to give pictures away to other patients at the Cancer Center. Watch the Through my Eyes video for more details.

Birthright Quilt

Seneka Cohen created the Birthright Quilt project to raise awareness of the high mortality rates of children and mothers in the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities. The project has made many Australians aware of the lack of culturally appropriate maternity care in those communities. Watch this video about the quilt.

Busting out against Breast Cancer


Caralea Arnold designed a novel way of fighting breast cancer as her project in Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program, creating Bust Out! Eating Awareness Day among businesses in her Philadelphia community. So far 14 restaurants and cafes have signed on to participate in the event, which took place August 1. The eateries will sell special menu items, with the proceeds from this Bust Out day going to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a national non-profit organization based out of Haverford, PA. The City Paper of Philadelphia recently ran a story about the project.

Bust Out! Breast Cancer Awareness Day Starting Friday, Aug. 1st

by Clare Bullen

Caralea Arnold first devised the idea for Breast Cancer Eating Awareness Day while enrolled in a Landmark Education self-expression and leadership course. After getting to know women battling cancer who were struggling to stay afloat amidst the anxiety and depression that the illness created, she realized there was a void in terms of connecting to people suffering with the disease.

Arnold decided to turn to Philly’s restaurant scene. “I’ve always been interested in food,” she says, “so I wanted to start approaching restaurants about a fundraiser.” The resulting Awareness Day, which will be held on Fri., Aug. 1, is being sponsored by 12 Philadelphia restaurants. Each eatery will offer breast-inspired appetizers and desserts, and 50 percent of profits will go directly to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a Haverford-based nonprofit.

“Everyone really got into it,” Arnold says of Bust-Out!’s participants. Northern Liberties is well-represented, with participants ranging from Swallow and Arbol Cafe to the Abbaye N. 3rd. A Full Plate Café is planning on serving cool watermelon soup and Bar Ferdinand is getting into the action with duck breast flavored with an orange juice demi-glace. Still, nothing beats Café Estelle in terms of creativity and dedication: All of its female employees agreed to make molds of their breasts, which will be used to bake anatomically correct tres leches cake.

Making a Park a Reality

LeeAnn Mason of Hunter Village Utah wants to make the park that has been promised to the community a reality. In Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program, she has been working towards this goal, which was written about by the West Valley Journal.

Residents Raising Funds to Make Community Park a Reality

by Kimberly Martinez

Homeowners at the west end of the Hunter Village subdivision have been waiting for four years for the park prmised to them by developer McArthur Homes. In 2007, West Valley City acquired land and added 1.5 acres from the adjacent Hunter Willows development for a 5-acre park. Now, they’ve taken matters into their own hands.

Gregg Cudworth, supervisor of parks planning, said to build a park of this size requires a minimum of $600,000. The city has received $200,000 from McArthur Homes and has collected $200,000 from park impace fees and does not know how long it could take to come up with the additional $200,000.

Hunter Village resident LeeAnn Mason took it as a challenge to get her neighborhood involved in the process to make the park a reality. She attended the April PTA meeting at Gearld Wright Elementary to get the message out and told residents that if they take part in the effort, the benefits will be far-reaching.

“We would like to make our neighborhood not just a neighborhood but a community ,” she said. “There isn’t a place for us to come together as a community and four our children to play.”

Raising the funds, Mason said, would also allow them to take ownership of the park in what it wuold look like and what type of amenities it will include. Residents in the community have already given input, requesting the park include an all-access playground for children and people of all ages and abilities. Mason said there are adults with Down syndrome who would benefit from a park like this. Also, there is a senior community in the area, and amenities to keep them active are important.

She encouraged parents to think about ways they can contribute by either participating in fundraising, with the planning process or by donating physical labor.

If we combine all the voices in our community, we can create a park to share with our families and be proud of for years to come,” she said.

Cudworth said once the money is raised and a park concept is established, they will be able to determine the exact dollar figure needed to construct the park, which may be more or less than projected.

To get more information or to find out ways to get involved, email

Tea Parties to Save Teens


Various television stations and newspapers have recently covered the story the the Self-Expression and Leadership Program project of Charlene Westgate. Westgate, who tragically lost her son to suicide two years ago, created a series of events in the form of tea parties to raise awareness about teen suicide and raise money as well. Two stories appear below , starting with one from Fox News 11 of Tucson, Arizona.

Tea Parties to Prevent Teen Suicide Planned

By Jim Edwards

A Tucson woman who lost her teenage son to suicide two years ago is organizing a series of tea parties to raise awareness and funding to fight teen suicide. Charlene Westgate will host her own “Tea For Teens” party on Tuesday, July 15, and is hoping to see as many as 30 similar parties held for the same cause.

“I created Tea For Teens out of my commitment that teens experiencing depression get diagnosed and treated, so all teens have the possibility of loving life and no parent has to know the terrible pain of losing a child to this disease.”, Westgate says.

Westgate says her 19-year old son Joseph’s depression was never accurately diagnosed and that several warning signs were missed. All money raised by the tea parties will be used to make guides available in schools to help students, teachers and parents recognize the warning signs, understand the illness and get proper treatment.

Westgate’s goal is to raise at least $5,000 for Families for Depression Awareness, a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping families recognize and cope with depression. Now through August 15, those interested in hosting or attending a Tea for Teens party can contact Charlene at 520-398-9893.

A story also appeared in the Green Valley News, shown below.

Fundraiser to Benefit Teen Suicide Prevention Group

by Derek Jordan

Tonight, the Caf/ Presidio in Tubac will host a fundraiser to educate and increase awareness of teen suicide and depression. Charlene Westgate is the founder of “Tea for Teens,” a project that organizes community members in order to raise funds and to educate and inform local parents and teens about teen suicide and depression.

All donations from the events go toward purchasing brochures that teach teens and parents how to identify and deal with signs of depression in young people.

“I wanted to find a way to raise funds to make the teen guides that they have available to local schools,” Westgate said. “So I just created a project to be able to make that happen.”

Westgate’s project has already reached as far as Tennessee and Virginia, thanks to enthusiastic family members who set up their own “Tea for Teens” gatherings, each with their own individual spin.

“Each person adapts it to their own situation,” she said.

Though little more than a collection of “concerned members of the community,” Westgate believes that these gatherings, which are normally two hours or less, provide an opportunity to learn and to help local high schools. The brochures that the parties raise money to purchase are published by Families for Depression Awareness, an organization that Westgate discovered after her son, Joseph, committed suicide two years ago, at the age of 19.

“I had done a lot of research after I lost my son to suicide,” she said. “After looking around, I just felt that the teen guide that they make available would really make a difference to teenagers experiencing depression.” Westgate said the guides would go to local high schools. ”Every dollar donated will purchase one teen depression resource guide, and we will be making them available to local schools.”

Michael Barr, training manager for the Southern Arizona Mental Health Center, will give a brief talk at the meeting. Barr spoke at a previous “Tea for Teens” gathering at Westgate’s home, and said he fully supports community-based initiatives like the one she has started.

“The point is that this is coming from the community, and that, I think, is a lot more meaningful, and I want to support that,” Barr said.

Personal interaction and communication are pivotal to helping those who are depressed and considering suicide, he said. “Notice people’s distress,” he said, “and then ask, hey, are you OK?”

Westgate said that those looking for more information about teen depression can visit the Families for Depression Awareness web site at Here is a link to the Green Valley News story.

1000 Books – 1000 Lives

Chris Kriklas of Texas has created a project in his Self-Expression and Leadership Program to make books available to underprivileged youth and the homeless in his community. Titled ‘1000 Books – 1000 Lives’, the project will get the books to people in need through two different charities. Here are excerpts from his website and why he is doing the project and how it will work:

1000-books.jpgReading is one of the greatest pleasures available to man. Books can take the reader on magical journeys, spark the imagination, inspire goodness, and teach about the unknown. It is unfortunate that many in our society either cannot read or simply do not have access to books. 1000 Books – 1000 Lives aims to deliver 1000 books to homeless and under-privileged youth in an effort to inspire them to read and to change the world, one child and one book at a time.

This year 1000 Books – 1000 Lives Houston will be benefiting two different charities:

BEAR…(BE A Resource for CPS Kids) – BEAR offers help and hope for abused and neglected children and the caseworkers who protect them. BEAR is a unique public/private sector partnership that sponsors programs to support children under the care of Child Protective Services (CPS) in Harris County.

Covenant House Texas – providing emergency shelter, crisis intervention, transitional housing and community-based services to homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth.

There are youths in Houston today who are waking up scared and hungry, abused and neglected. They do not have clean clothes, or maybe any clothes all. They are also in danger of, or are already, being abused or neglected. By donating books, you can make a difference in a youth’s life by giving them hope and letting them know that there are people in the community who care about them.

Anyone in the community is welcome to participate in this project. Although we will take help in many ways, we are particularly looking for help with the following areas:

  • Motivators – People who are willing to help collect books from their friends, neighbors, co-workers, business, etc
  • Donors – People who are willing to donate books (new or used)
  • Media – Anyone in the media or with media connections that can help spread the word
  • Transporters – People that can help move the books around
  • Sorters – People who are willing to help go through the books (to make sure they are not written in, to divide the books up by age)

What: We will be collecting 1000 new and (gently) used children’s and young adult’s books (ages 0 – 18 years)

When: Now through October 6, 2008

Where: Anywhere there are people


  • To create a community that declares the importance of reading
  • To create excitement in the hearts of children who do not currently have access to books
  • To enlighten youths using the world of literature

Living Beyond Depression Seminar Creates Awareness

roxannerenee.jpgRoxanne Renee was in a severe, treatment resistant major clinical depression for four years until an experimental treatment snapped her out of it. She was told that there was a 90% chance she would experience a relapse. Determined to prevent this, she took active steps to modify her behavior and reduce the chance of relapse. Eight years later, she has not suffered a relapse.

In Landmark’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program, Renee decided to create a project that would assist others in educating them about depression and reducing the risk of relapse for depressed people. She created a seminar titled “Living Beyond Depression” which was held in Kansas City the night of June 24.

The seminar had a $10 suggested donation, with proceeds going to the Mental Health Association of the Heartland. The subtitle of the seminar was Seven Daily Lifestyle Choices to Support Wellness and Reduce the Risk of Relapse. A variety of presentations were followed by a Q&A panel discussion, which featured doctors, religious experts and other wellness professionals.

Renee now has seven upcoming Living Beyond Depression events scheduled for the Kansas City and Kansas areas. To find out more information, go to Roxanne Renee’s website.