Monthly Archives: November 2008

Junk Orchestra Plays for Mayors

junk-rock.jpgManu Vasudevan describes the “Junk Rock project” she created in the Landmark self-expression and leadership programme as like “my dream come true”. In the last week of October, disabled children and their families created an orchestra of instruments out of discarded materials. Then 30 of these children and their families performed on October 31 on a civic dinner attended by about 10 mayors from the London area, as well as the civic ambassador of Newham, where the event was held.

The Create website covered the Landmark event.

Disabled children and their families Junk Rock for Newham’s Civic Ambassador

Create’s latest Junk Rock project was run, in conjunction with Real Life Parenting, for disabled children and their families in the London Borough of Newham, thanks to the vision and drive of Manu Vasudevan. Between 27 and 31 October, parents and children got to work making a variety of instruments out of reclaimed materials – including a Cardboard Box Bass, a Toaster Harp and a Scraper Bridge – before composing a series of pieces on their newly-created orchestra.

On Friday 31 October, the group provided the entertainment for Newham Borough Council’s Civic Ambassador’s Charity Dinner, performing their pieces to an audience of local residents, dignitaries and ten London Mayors.

More Pictures of the event can be seen at the Create site.

Kids Accessing Creativity Today

Leadership and Self Development received this report from this spring about the project of Arlene Stein taking place in Florida. The following is her first-hand account.

My project is about children being able to use their creativity to make their learning fun. I have targeted the teachers of elementary children who have difficulty in school with language, reading and writing. The children will be able to achieve self-confidence and success in school and in their community by creating hands-on activities.

On April 8, 2008 I taught an ESOL 2nd grade class at Riverland Elementary. This is an inner city school. The class is made up of children who are new to this area and speak very little English. The project was geared to the reading program. The story they were reading was “Cool Ali”. I had them draw with pastel chalk as did the character in the story. They became the main character, drew about themselves being in the story and had to describe it. Mrs. Davis, the classroom teacher then successfully taught her team (other 2nd grade teachers) the project.

I taught a kindergarten class at Thurgood Marshall Elementary on April 10, 2008. This is also an inner city school. The project was to create self-expression and self-awareness. They drew self-portraits and wrote four short sentences about themselves. The kids were so excited about the project and very expressive about their feelings.

On April 22, 2008, I went back to the ESOL class at Riverland Elementary and taught an art project correlating with a science lesson. The children were learning about the lives of penguins. The children were very receptive and amazing.

Again, Mrs, Davis taught her team the lesson and had great results with other classes. She expanded the lesson with the children using their writing skills on the computer .

On May 1, 2008 I returned to Riverland Elementary to teach a couple of other 2nd grade classes. They were together in one classroom. This was a writing lesson tying in with Mothers Day cards. I did the art portion of the lesson and the teachers were to have the children write poems to put on the inside.

Second grade teachers, Ms. Lewallen and Mrs. Davis are going to take on some of my project for next year. They will work with me to get other teachers involved to have their students use creativity in their learning and make learning fun.

There is a workshop for classroom teachers and staff in place for August at both schools. The teachers and staff at Riverland Elementary have just voted to have the Art program return for the 2008-2009 school year. Good things are happening.

Ryan Mueller’s Extra Mile Adventure

extra-mile.jpgRyan Mueller’s project in the SELP is literally an adventure: He is embarking on a “grassroots project that is committed to giving back to others through community projects and cultivating cultural exchanges through artistic expression,” according to Mueller’s Extra Mile Adventure website.

On December 1, a team of 18 people will board a biodiesel bus in San Francisco and embark on a seven week journey through Central America, including Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala. The group will be stopping to aid communities with community development projects in places where the need for aid outstrips the local capacity to provide it.

At the same time, each member of the group has developed an artistic project to share with the local communities. The trip is being captured on film, uploaded to the website, and ultimately being made into a full length documentary film. Through all of this, the group intends to leave the minimum possible carbon footprint.

This group of people coming together to contribute and share their talents includes visual artists, musicians, actors, film crew, surfers, a writer, photographer, and more. According to the Extra Mile website, the ideals of Barack Obama were a big inspiration, with the project being an example of attempting to implement Obama’s ideals of seizing opportunities to make a difference.

“This life is gorgeous and I want to share that beauty with the world,” says Mueller. “The goal of the video is to inspire and empower others to be in action in their own lives.”

Caudles Causes Bra Education, Support

Risa Caudles held a unique event on November 14 for female students at the Proviso high school in Chicago where she teaches. The event provides the young women bra fittings, a free bra, and information on how to do self breast exams. Caudles is receiving support from the v103 Radio station, that is sending someone to the school to support the event. Caudles’ request to the radio station was posted on its website, and it describes the project:

I am a teacher at Proviso East High School and I am seeking your sponsorship of a special event on November 14, 2008 called “Full Support, What’s Your Size?” This event will provide each of our female students with free breast exams, bra fittings, and a new bra. Most importantly, this event will increase their self-image and self-esteem.

In 2001 I started “Girl Talk”. Our group that meets weekly to provide young women with an outlet to discuss everything from toxic relationships, low self-esteem, suicide, depression, and anorexia to hygiene, makeup, dating, fashion, and study skills. My initial goal was to provide a resource and safe haven for the many girls I encountered in the halls and my classroom. I wanted to improve their self-esteem by sharing my personal experiences and being a role model. I wanted to show them better, so they could do better.

During our discussion many of the girls expressed concerns regarding their bras. Ninety percent of the girls said they were embarrassed about their bras. Some admitted being teased by other girls during physical education classes. All of the girls said they look at each other’s bra in the locker room. Many of the larger girls complained of the cost of bras stating they could not afford new ones. All admitted not knowing their correct size. Only one girl actually experienced a bra fitting. All of the girls had questions about appropriate size, fit, cup, and cost.

I was overwhelmed to hear so many girls with so many questions. Through my Landmark Self expression and leadership class I created a project called the “Full Support, What’s Your Size?” Ramonski, this project is bigger than bras. It is about teaching young girls how to give themselves self breast exams and increasing positive self esteem and image. It’s about saving lives and making a difference.

I am requesting that you assist me by telling your listeners about my event and encouraging them to make donations of new bras to Proviso East H.S.

Simon-Jones Fuels Youth Change Campaign

gyac.jpgAs a project in the Landmark Education SELP Program, Hamilton Simons-Jones took on having a fundraiser dinner for the Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund be an extraordinary event. Based in New Orleans, the GYAF is a youth-led philanthropy initiative developed to empower them to make strategic investments in their peers and their community. Hamilton’s work culminated in a dinner held this spring on May 31. Here’s a report from the event.

Youth Change Campaign Culminates with Food, Fun and Philanthropy

The atmosphere was electric— akin to a modern–day presidential rally. This event, however, was focused on change in the New Orleans community, not America’s political scene. And the stars were middle and high school age youth from different cultural, religious, racial and socio–economic backgrounds, not presidential hopefuls. The one commonality the national and local events shared, however, is change. The young leaders and philanthropists gathered on Saturday, May 31 at Xavier University of Louisiana for the Youth Change Campaign Awards Dinner to proclaim to all that would listen that youth can change the world.

The Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund’s (GYAF) Youth Advisory Board hosted the inaugural Youth Change Campaign Awards Dinner honoring outstanding middle and high school students and featured the “Change Maker Awards,” which highlighted individual youth who have shown exemplary leadership in projects related to the recovery of this region.

The Youth Change Campaign is comprised of a Coin Collection Drive and an Awards Dinner designed to raise funds to support youth–led and youth–driven initiatives that demonstrate the power of youth motivated to create change in the Greater New Orleans community.

The 2008 Youth Change Campaign Coin Collection Drive kicked–off March 31 and ended May 31 at the Awards Dinner.

Members of the GYAF–s Youth Advisory Board added to the $10,000 in funding they have already awarded to area youth–led organizations–including Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, the Warren Easton Fundamental Senior High School’s Interact Club and the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association–by giving away an additional $2,500 during the event.

Kayla Allain was selected as the ‘Change Maker of the Year’ – she received $2,000 to be awarded to Kids for Community. The runner-up, Patrick Dale, received $500 to be awarded to Youth Rebuilding New Orleans

The 2009 Youth Change Campaign has already begun – Contact them at (504) 529-1922 extension 106 for more information on how to get involved, or visit the GYAC website.

Venkat Seeks to Quiet Bangalore

Bala Venkat of the metropolis of Bangalore, India, has come up with a novel idea to reduce the noise pollution of the city. His project in the Landmark Education SELP programme is to create a campaign against this by raising awareness, educating drivers about indiscriminate honking, and working with police and other officials. He has organized many volunteers and a co-director for his programme. The Times of India covered the Landmark Education project in their November 11 edition.

By BK Ganesh

BANGALORE: How often have you been stuck in a traffic jam and seen motorists making things worse by incessant honking? This, despite the knowledge that the jam is going to take long to ease, and the honking helps in no way whatsoever. The horns blare even in hospital or school zones.

In a battle against this unnecessary noise, two groups of youths will soon kick off a no-horn campaign that aims at creating awareness about noise pollution.

Techie Bala Venkat and his team have got together aound 500 volunteers for their campaign – called No Honk Please – that will be launched on November 25 by tagging stickers on vehicles and holding a road show. It will be flagged off from the Nokia office, where Bala works. He will first educate his colleagues about indiscriminate honking and its effects.

The increasing number of vehicles has made Bangalore one of the noisiest cities in the world. Various studies show that the decibel level of traffic is increasing by the day, and has crossed the maximum permissible limit (it’s 80 decibels on any road); sometimes it’s even louder than a jet taking off.

Employees of Astra Zeneca are also involved in a campaign against noise pollution. They conduct seminars and workshops and organized a road show on M G Road recently. A similar show will be held on November 15.

“Schoolchildren, BMTC and autorickshaw drivers will be educated on the use of horns. ENT experts will speak about the side effects of noise pollution. RTO and police officials will impart information on various rules to be followed,” said Naina Hegde, co-coordinator of the programme. Auto drivers will also be encouraged to use silencers. The team has 15 volunteers.

Besides warnings by the World Health Organization, the Supreme Court has also passed an order directing all state governments to initiate action against noise pollution. The Union ministry of environment had asked the states to forward an action taken report, compiling details on the measures initiated to curb the menace. “But the government had done nothing in this direction. Youths coming out voluntarily to create awareness is laudable,” says ENT specialist Sree Kumar.