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Retreat Reviews: "I thought my dreaming days were over, but since leaving my teaching job, I have started a new career and my husband and I are exploring China for two years!! Dream Positioning works for both of us as we move forward together..." -Shulah S. Retreat Participant "My wife and I attended a retreat run by Dr. Lavi years ago. Things we learned still help us keep things exciting!" -Bill and JoAnn H., previous participant

Friday, August 31, 2012

Dreams In Motion Part I: Thriving on Stormy & Sunny Days

                                           Ruth - Sunny Days Manager from Boaz & Ruth

Thought for the day: Everyone deserves a second chance. Ruth, a graduate of the Boaz & Ruth program in Richmond VA, shared her story with us when the Dreams On Wheels Tour visited this summer. In the video above, you will meet Ruth, hear her story & that of Sunny Days, the store she now manages for Boaz & Ruth. She is living a life she never even dreamed possible. Just a few years ago, Ruth suffered from depression & tried to end her own life three times. She was the first participant who had never been incarcerated. Ruth convinced Martha Rollins, founder of Boaz & Ruth, that her depression made her a prisoner in her own mind & that she needed their help as much as ex-offenders.

Ruth's recovery & the story of Sunny Days is also a metaphor for all of Boaz & Ruth's amazing work. The store could only open on sunny days, since the roof would leak on rainy days. A visitor donated a new roof & an air conditioning system enabling the business to be open any day, rain or shine. The lives of the trainees & graduates of their program could not tolerate the rainy days & storms in their lives before they went through their program. When challenged by life's storms, most of them broke the law & ended up in jail. They lacked the skills to work & be productive members of society, but thanks to Boaz & Ruth they are now contributing to society & supporting themselves, their families, & their communities.

I had heard the stories about this amazing nonptrofit organization before visiting this summer. The reduction of recidivism from 33% to 12% & the reduction of crime in downtown Richmond. The stories impressed me & I included them as one of the Dream nonprofits in my book. Visiting the 5 businesses that their participants & graduates, like Ruth,  run was truly inspiring. Her passion, pride in her work are impressive. It was a pleasure to see how she is now giving back to the organization that saved her life by encouraging others, including her daughter who volunteers in the store. I will be sharing the stories of others from Boaz & Ruth & hope they encourage you to reach for your dreams as well!

To purchase The Wake Up and Dream Challenge & donate 1/2 of the profits to Boaz & Ruth click here

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bullying Follow Up: Are We Riding on a Runaway Bus?

Karen Klein Bus Monitor  Bullying Victim AP File

Thought for the day: Sometimes good things happen in reaction to negative experiences. Near the end of the school year, I posted a blog: Bullying Part V: Are We Riding on a Runaway Bus? Bullying Is the Symptom, Society is the Patient. It reported about the bullying of a 68 year old bus monitor, Karen Klein, from Greece NY. She was bullied by 4 students who videotaped the incident. The video went viral & a campaign was started online to send Karen on a vacation. The donations exploded and close to $700,000 was raised. This week Karen used part of the money to start an anti-bullying foundation.

It is good to see that the outpouring of support for Karen has led to an organization that will help bring the problem to the forefront of people's attention.  The Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation will serve four purposes: 1) to provide funds for anti-bullying counseling internationally,  2) to create anti-bullying courses for schools, 3) to fund existing organizations that increase awareness to the anti-bullying movement, & 4) to support media outlets to get their message out. One project the foundation will help is the No Bully 2012 Music Tour which is sponsoring a concert in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

I hope that they will investigate programs that work with children, parents, teachers, schools & the entire community. I'd love to hear your ideas for creative programs to help fight bullying.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dreams On Wheels Part VII: Dream Research: How Are People Doing During These Tough Times?

Thought for the Day: The Dreams On Wheels 2012 tour was more than a book tour. It was also a traveling research project to assess how American's dreams & aspirations are faring during these difficult economic times. The tour covered CT, NY, PA, MD, VA, & OH, but we met & interviewed people from around the United States. It will take some time to edit all the videotaped interviews & I will make more in depth observations from our study, however, my initial assessment is that dreamers are alive & well across this nation.

In NYC we met Mitch, an aspiring young singer/actor from Ohio and his mother, a teacher. In Baltimore, we spoke with a young woman whose dreams to become a chef were shifting to becoming a restaurant owner. We also heard how a retiree from Florida's dreams evolved. As a young woman, she broke away from what were the only options for women, to become a teacher, nurse, or secretary. She chose to become an interior decorator only to discover later in life that she preferred teaching. After completing a second career as a teacher, she was living her dreams of travel in retirement. A businessman from Philadelphia told us about how he had just landed his dream job in the midst of the current economic difficulties. In Virginia, we spoke to ex-convicts from Boaz & Ruth getting a second chance in life & moving towards their dreams. We also met with student leaders & visionary alumni from a progressive fraternity (Elimination of Prejudice). They are working to end prejudice & bullying on college campuses across the USA & Canada. In Ohio, we talked with senior citizens at Menorah Park, where they are being helped to accomplish their life long dreams.

As my team finishes up their summer internships & return to school to continue their studies as they move on towards their dreams & a new team takes over, more of the dreamer's stories from this summer's traveling tour & research project will be posted. Stay tuned for a vlog with short clips in their own words & interviews with visionary leaders about how they have accomplished their dreams despite adversity. There will also be two additional stops on the tour in September in Florida (A Child Is Missing) & Massachusetts (The Cynthia Lucero Memorial Run at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)), so stay tuned to hear more about dreams & aspirations.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dreams On Wheels Part VI: Tired but Inspired

When we were well-rested & inspired at the outset
Thought for the Day: Every part of a dream that you accomplish teaches you something that can help you in the next phase of your dream projects.  Dreams On Wheels 2012 just completed the 1st tour & we learned a great deal. I have even greater respect for journalists. I had planned to post daily. We may have accomplished that on one or another social media site from twitter, to facebook, to instagram, to google+, & blogspot but as our responsibilities & travel continued we may have neglected some of the sites & not posted daily in every one of them. I will however, make sure to post blogs & videos from the trip over the next few weeks.

David Temple
So much happened every day, that it was impossible to do it justice while speaking & meeting so many wonderful people. I met David Temple  & the men who helped him break the color barrier at the University of Virginia by joining a fraternity in the 1960's who has dedicated his life to ending prejudice. 
Martha Rollins

Ruth Eisner

It was a pleasure to meet Ruth Eisner,  a 90 year old young woman who just started her acting career. I met several wonderful ex-convicts who are taking advantage of a second chance in life. They are leading productive lives thanks to Martha Rollins vision, hard work in an encore career, they are role models for others coming out of prison dreaming of a second chance.

Addressing College Students on Bullying
I met scores college students from around the USA & Canada who are leaders of an organization grappling with questions about their dreams, bullying & hazing on college campuses today.

I will share their stories & more & hope you will stay tuned & share your reactions & similar stories when you hear about these inspiring dreamers!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dreams On Wheels Part V: Report from Richmond

Thought for the Day: Time is flying & so much is happening everyday that there is not enough time to write. The 1st day in Richmond we were awed by the accomplishments of Boaz & Ruth. On paper they are amazing in person they are even more inspiring. We have videotaped interviews with their staff & with their founder Martha Rollins which will demonstrate how they have been building dreams, lives & a community in downtown Richmond. Then on Friday & Saturday we spent time at the International convention of Elimination of Prejudice. Their staff, alumni & current students leaders  from around the USA & Canada shared their dreams & accomplishments with us. I presented a talk on how Dreams can help fight bullying. This led to confronting the issue of bullying & hazing on college campuses.  A lively discussion ensued about the dangers of hazing & a search for creative, positive rights of passage that will build rather than harm young adults. I will share video & longer posts in the future. Yesterday was a travel day. Today I begin my Scholar in Residence Programs at Menorah Park in Beachwood OH (near Cleveland).

Friday, August 3, 2012

Dreams On Wheels Part IV: On the Road

Thought for the Day: When you change your routine, you open yourself up to new experiences. I have been anticipating this tour for some time now & already in two days have so many wonderful new experiences that I will be writing about them over the next few months. I'd like to give you a glimpse of what I have been discovering & will elaborate in detail in the future.

Day 1: Weston, NYC, PA, MD, DC, & VA. Road trips have excitement, disappointments, & surprises. I started off bright & early, & was ready when my interns, Kat, Andrew & Katherine arrived around 8:45 AM. All the books, flyers & clothing were packed & ready to go. When the Rental car did not arrive at 9 AM as planned, calls were made & we learned that the car was not ready for us. It needed an oil change & would be ready in about 40 minutes. We had breakfast & waited. Because of the late arrival we discussed how we might adjust our plans to stop along the way.

When the car finally arrived around 10:00 AM, it was raining! We opened our umbrellas & proceeded to pack up 4 suitcases, 4 computer bags, some food & drinks, & 7 boxes of books & supplies! The rental company allowed us to start from Weston, but we delayed signing up additional drivers. They told us we could do so at any of their offices along the route. Because of the rain, we were unable to put the signs on the van, but by 10:30 AM  Dreams On Wheels 2012 was off & running!
Kat, Kathryn, DrB, & Andrew in NYC with our new signs for Dreams On Wheels

Mitch, Aspiring Singer
By the time we reached NYC, the sun greeted us as well. Our signs went up, we took some pictures & found the 1st two people to interview in our roving positive psychology project. In this traveling research project, I want to discover how people are doing in the pursuit of their dreams. 

With newspapers & television reporting so much of the negative happenings in our world, I'd like to assess how people's dreams are impacted. Are people cancelling their dreams, due to all the strife in the world? Mitch, an aspiring actor & singer, living in NYC was at the Cloisters with Tracy, his mother, a teacher from OH were the first people we approached and interviewed. Parts of their interviews can be viewed at the top of this page. Mitch's dreams are alive & well & thriving! He is even working on a musical about a young couple working on their dreams! 
We also interviewed his mother to see how she raised such a 'wake up dreamer.' Interestingly, Tracy did a great job dream parenting her son, but seems to be questioning her ability to accomplish her own dreams to travel due to financial concerns. I spoke with her about an older couple I know in their 80's who traveled around Europe by volunteering to help harvest fruits on farms. I encouraged her to give herself the same kind of encouragement she gave her sons & her students to follow their dreams. I also suggested that she read my book to see other ways to accomplish her dreams even when finances are tight.

Dream Team Kathryn, Kat, Andrew & Dr. Barbara Lavi by the statue of Babe's Dream at Camden Yard Baltimore
Dream Team In the footsteps of Babe Ruth
Due to time constraints & traffic, we went to Baltimore MD & postponed our stop in DC until Sunday, but in Baltimore we found 3 more subjects not far from the statue of Babe Ruth, the Dreamer, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Parts of their interviews are in the above video as well. Their insights into the progression of their dreams were very interesting.  We met, Mike, a man, in his 40's from Philadelphia, who just landed his dream job. We also spoke to Rebecca a 24 year old woman from Baltimore,  who dreamed of being a chef only to realize that she wants to be a restaurant owner. She is now working on accomplishing that dream & is glad that she first trained as & worked as a chef before deciding to become an owner. Linda, a retiree from Florida, told us about her dream journey. She fought the expectation that women could only become teachers, nurses, secretaries or housewives & became an interior decorator. Later in life, realizing that she needed to be a salesperson to be a decorator, she decided to become a teacher. Now she is retired and says she is living her dream!

On Day 2 in Richmond VA, we toured & met with staff who are graduates of Boaz & Ruth, one of the charities featured in The Wake Up and Dream Challenge. Meeting with these amazing ex-offenders who now have a second chance in life to reach their dreams was inspiring. Their interviews will follow soon as well. Their mistakes & incarceration did not stop them from moving towards their dreams, thanks to the amazing program Boaz & Ruth offers their apprentices. I also had time to meet with Martha Rollins, founder of Boaz & Ruth, who joined me for a one half hour interview with Joann Mathis on her radio show Artists, Designers, and Things oh My. You can listen to the interview on the link to her site.

Today I begin my work with Elimination of Prejudice's National Convention here in Richmond VA.  Hope you will follow our journey. I will post as frequently as I can, since so much is happening!