Monthly Archives: October 2008

Lawrence Launches Operation Storytime

operation-storytime.jpgSandy Lawrence works in the marketing of books running a company named Perceptive Marketing. He is also committed to making sure young people be able to read have full access to books. As a result, in his self expression and leadership program Perceptive Marketing launched “Operation Storytime,” a unique program designed to encourage and increase literacy in identified schools where a large number of students come from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The program has local authors give their children’s books to young people and also offer themselves as role models.

The first event for Operation Storytime took place for second graders on May 21 at McFee Elementary in Katy, Texas, followed by another event at Foster Elementary. On the Perceptive Marketing website, Lawrence relates what happened.

I want to take this opportunity to give you an update on the tremendously successful launch of Operation StoryTime at two local elementary schools – McFee Elementary of CyFair ISD and Foster Elementary of Houston ISD. We gave away 266 books to students at the two schools – second and fourth grades. Seeing the kids and the excitement over getting a book absolutely touched my heart. When leaving the gymnasium at McFee, after introducing some of the participating authors and telling a group of 200 second graders that they were going to get a book, I was literally attacked as they all tried to hug me. What a magnificent, heart-warming experience.

The vision of Operation StoryTime has inspired and attracted the attention of local literacy organization, the Houston READ Commission and Executive Director, Tracy Baskin, who also participated in the launch at McFee. I am very excited to announced that the Houston READ Commission is going to partner with us as we encourage the students to take the books home and read with their parents, then come back next year and share the experience. This project was a community effort and part of my Self Expression and Leadership Program with Landmark Education. I am excited, and thankful, that partnering with the READ Commission will allow us to reach more schools and students than we even dared to dream about!

To get involved, contact Lawrence at:

First Friday Exhibit Showcases Washington Park

washington-park.jpgFor her project in Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Programme, Meghan Murphy put together a major art display as part of Albany, New York’s prominent First Friday art festival which takes place each year on the first Friday in November.

Murphy’s exhibit featured art of Albany’s famous Washington Park, which has been a centerpiece of the city for 300 years. Used in prior times as a parade ground, cemetery public square and even a welfare farm, for the last 140 years the park has been a manicured combination of gardens and lawn landscaped in the Victorian tradition, resembling a botanical garden with its 100 species of trees from throughout the world.

The leading newspaper of Albany, the Times-Union, wrote a piece about Murphy’s contribution to 1st Friday.

Picks of the Week – 1st Friday

Drawings by 40 people ranging in age from 3 to 73 will be exhibited as part of Albany’s First Friday. The works about Washington Park are the product of a three-month art project conducted by Meghan Murphy, an artist and teacher, in the park as part of a Landmark Education’s Self Expression and Leadership Program. She provided the art supplies and invited people at random to create a drawing based on their reaction to being in the park. The collection includes landscapes created with pastels, pencils (including colored ones) and charcoal. 5-9 p.m. Friday. Judy Rosen’s Real Estate Office, 352 State St. at Lark, Albany.

Window Into the World of Cats

A Self-Expression and Leadership Programme project like no other has led to an equally novel photo exhibit taking place over the month of October. Jessica Bavinton was curious about where cats go when humans aren’t around, so she began attaching cameras to them to find out. Her project in the Landmark Education programme let to a photo exhibit which shows off, literally, what interests cats. The Islington Tribune made note of the exhibit in a recent story about this Landmark Education SELP project.

Watching the Birdy

October 17, 2008

CAT calendars were flying off the shelves on Wednesday at the launch of a unique exhibition of photos – taken exclusively by felines.

Views Beyond the Catflap, on show at Manor Gardens Community Centre café until October 31, gives humans a glimpse into life from a cat’s perspective.

catflap-_2.jpgPut together by a group of cat lovers, who were curious about where their pets go when they disappear through the catflap, the project has attracted international support. Cats from all over the world are clamouring to take their turn with a collar-cam, which is operated on a timer.

Proceeds from sales of the calendar will go to charity Pets as Therapy. And TV couple Richard and Judy are planning to feature it on tonight’s (Friday) show at 8pm on digital channel UK TV Watch.

Jessica Bavinton, one of the pioneers of the project, said: “People are delighted. They seem really fascinated. The next stage is to improve the website and we may have another exhibition in another venue.”

Pal Rekindles Dreams for Young Adults in Recovery

recovery.jpgAviva Pal completed the Landmark Education Self-Expression and Leadership Program earlier this year in New Jersey, and in so doing created a workshop for young adults in recovery programs from alcohol or substance abuse to have a chance to breathe new life into their dreams.

Titled ‘Breathing Dreams’, the workshop took place with 30 recovering young adults from two rehabilitation centers, on Saturday, October 18, at the Episcopal Church in Middletown, New Jersey. While Pal created and administrated the whole project, the main program of the day’s event was an interactive goals workshop, led by Rich Alexander, who has coached the Self-Expression and Leadership Program and who has led goals workshops in the past.

The project, titled ‘Breathing Dreams’ was planned as a retreat for young people so that they could realize that the dreams they had in life could be fulfilled through recovery. While recovery from addiction is of course the first priority, remembering their dreams gives individuals something worth recovering for.

“We had twenty and twenty-five year olds sharing that they wanted to be engineers and lawyers,” recounted Pal, who herself has been in recovery for seven years. “When I first began recovery, I thought my life was over. I wanted to give young adults inspiration and to have their dreams given back to them.”

Interested parties can contact Pal at

Bridport Works Towards Zero Waste

bridport.jpg Ian Robins lives in the historic port town of Bridport in Southwestern England. When he took Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Programme, he thought of and was inspired by the Japanese town of Kamikatsu, where each citizen is responsible for disposing of their own rubbish.

Robins invited the town council and community leaders of Bridport, Dorset UK to a debate at the town hall on this concept of zero waste, out of his intention to make a difference and create a waste free town. At the meeting, three expert speakers from around the country contributed to an informed and provocative discussion, and a public petition was launched with the intention to:

“…propose that Bridport becomes a beacon town for recycling, specifically adopting a zero waste policy within five years.”

The evening inspired many people to take action in regards to recycling and an action group was formed to tackle the unnecessary packaging of food.

Cutting Hair to Fight Cancer

wigs-helping-women.jpgChicago resident Allison Lerner is holding a fundraiser on Wednesday, October 29 for the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women Cancer Programs as an outgrowth of her project that she initiated in Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program. Held during and in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Lerner is naming the event HAIRoic MEASURES – Those who purchase a ticket to attend the fundraiser will get to see Lerner cut over eight inches of her hair and donate it to the EIF’s Pantene Beautiful Lengths program that makes real-hair wigs for women who’ve lost their hair during cancer treatment. Lerner began to grow her hair last summer in order to cut and donate it.

“A real hair wig allows a woman to look in the mirror and at least see a familiar face while she fights to regain a sense of normalcy in her life during cancer treatment,” notes Allison. “I was inspired to do this because I saw it as an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of these women and empower them when they need it the most.”

The October 29 event is being held at Lottie’s in Bucktown at 1925 West Cortland Street, one block east of Damen. The event will feature great music and food and drink specials – a minimum $15 donation is required for entry (90% of donations go to EIF’s woman cancer programs, and 10% goes to EIF’s Pantene Beautiful Real Women wigs program), and greater donations will give the attendee raffle tickets towards winning different prizes. All visitors are welcome to come to the event.