Monthly Archives: May 2010

Assisting Wounded Warriors

Maryland real estate broker Lynn Semenuk is creating a project in the Landmark Education SELP program to modify the house of a disabled veteran so that they can move freely about their home. Titled Adapt Adobes for Wounded Warriors, the project came about out of Semenuk’s desire to see wounded veterans taken care of after their return the United States.

Through her many connections in the real estate business, Semenuk’s efforts have resulted in a number of local businesses who have pledged materials or services to make renovations, which could include widening doorways and lowering countertops and light swtiches for easy wheelchair access. Semenuk says that people have been eager and willing to step in and make a difference.

The project is now in the stage of selecting a candidate for assistance from Queen Anne, Talbot or Caroline county. To suggest a candidate or get involved, contact Semenuk at 410-827-5652. To read more details about Adapt Adobes, read the full story at the Shore Update website.

Urban Gardens in Newburgh

The project created by Ross Topliff in Landmark’s SELP was recently spotlighted the Sentinel newspaper of Newburgh, New York. The project is to create urban gardens to feed families in need. Here is the article.

Urban Gardens Arrive in the City of Newburgh

by Courtney Bonfante

The city of Newburgh may not be known as a hotspot of horticulture, but one man is campaigning to add some green to the city’s landscape. Ross Topliff, a town of Newburgh resident, is currently enrolled in the Landmark Education Curriculum. A component to one of the courses is to reach out to people. Topliff drew upon his long-standing interest in gardening and Urban Bounty was born.

Urban Bounty is seeking to create two garden plots within the city so ten area families may grow their own produce. Topliff envisions the partipants as neighborhood residents who could walk to the garden sites, reap the benefits of fresh air and exercise, and lower their food bills by tending their plots.

The concepts and planning of Urban Bounty has been in the works since January. In addition to Topliff, Urban Bounty has the support of City Engineer Craig Marti, Debbie Lester of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Middletown, Claude Hortsman of the Masonic Lodge and Jennifer Rawlinson of the YMCA of Greater Newburgh. One location is expeced to be in Downing Park and another site on the south side of Broadway is currently being sought.

An organizational meeting is planned for Saturday, April 17 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the new YMCA, located at 377 Broadway (next to Bank of America) where participants may meet and greet, and take part in an orientation. There are still spots available for those wishing to participate in the program. Anyone wishing to develop their green thumb may contact Urban Bounty’s family coordinator, Jennifer Rawlinson, at 845-562-1088, extension 15.

Olga’s Beautiful Beings

olga's beautiful beingsOlga’s Day Spa, in Highland Park, IL, took on helping those affected by sexual assault and abuse with a free day of spa treatment, held April 29, in time to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Created by Olga Nisenboim as her project in Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program, ‘Olga’s Beautiful Beings’ provided a full day of beauty and wellness to more than a dozen clients from the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center (a rape crisis and advocacy center).

In addition to spa services provided by Olga’s Day Spa, hair services were provided by Salon Vole, breakfast and lunch were provided by local eateries, and each person went home with a goody bag of skin care products and a plush teddy bear.

Nisenboim, who has been a strong supporter of the Zacharias Center, said she took on the project because she really wanted each woman to feel like a beautiful human being: “Their stories are inspirational…we hope small act of kindness will make them feel good inside and out.”

To learn how you can get involved, visit the website of Olga’s Beautful Beings, or contact Olga directly at

Mystic River Clean Up

mystic_river_3According to the East Somerville Main Streets community organization, of East Somerville, Massachusetts,  Kristina Goesch and the project she created in Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program (SELP) were responsible for an Earth Day clean up of the Mystic River.

Held the morning of April 17, the Mystic River Watershed Association and the Gentle Giant Rowing Club, of which Goesch is a member, organized the day. Goesch also brought in volunteers from the Rowing teams of several nearby high schools.

Goesch took on the project through her involvement in the rowing club – being out on the river exposes her to the trash and debris in the river. Goesch says that a big issue related to this is the need for better disposal methods in the city.

Along with the river clean up, Goesch also took on a shopping cart removal project in conjunction with the rowing team, which is bringing boats, equipment and even divers to help remove the carts. This has the support of local retailers, for whom cart loss has impacted their business.

Goesch is intending to expand the clean up and make it an annual event. For more information, go to the website of the Mystic River Watershed Association, or call them at 781-316-3438.

Fitness Programme Comes to Sligo

The Sligo Weekender reports that an outdoor gym facility is coming to Sligo, Ireland, due to the project created in Landmark Education’s self-expression and leadership programme by Karen McSweeney.

McSweeney has created a Be Alive programme for health and well-being which includes a proposed gym facility at the public walking area in Mitchell Curley Park. The plans were kicked off on May 3 with the holding of a barbecue fundraiser for the facility. The fundraiser also included a raffle and a family sports day event.

The Be Alive programme is intended to promote good fitness habits and overall health and well being. In addition to the gym facility, the programme includes training sessions on the new equipment, and a series of workshops with the title ‘Being Alive: A Holistic approach’.

The workshops will focus on diet, exercise and overall healthy living.

The facility is planned for the outdoors to enable people to get out of a stuffy gym and exercise in the fresh air. The idea of outdoor exercise facilities is catching on in Ireland and worldwide – China, for instance, has recently established 30,000 outdoor exercise facilities.

The equipment is made in Ireland, easy to maintain, and durable in different kinds of weather. To find out more on this Landmark SELP project – read the Sligo Weekender.

Pay it Forward Program Encourages Community Pride

The Daily Herald newspaper of suburban Chicago is highlighting the Landmark Self-Expression and Leadership Program project of Kara Cermak and her employees to allow community residents to take part in beautifying four properties.

Cermak is the owner of 37-year old family company Rowell, Inc., which manages about 30 different home and condo complexes in the Chicago suburbs. Cermak and Rowell are inviting residents – including renters, owners and village officials – to take part in the ‘Pay it Forward’ planting project created in the Landmark program, planting bushes, trees and perennials and causing connections in the community.

Getting people involved and connected to one another is one of the main goals of the project, according to Rowell assistant manager Christine Cott. Hanover Part police officers have taken up on that idea at one of the work sites, taking part in the planting to build better relations with the community. The full story can be read at the site of the Daily Herald.