Positive Impact Magazine Vol 2-3

Page 1

Encouraging Positive Solutions for Life Worldwide

Gary Sinise Dream Big & Take Chances

Matt Damon Focusing on Solutions

Michael Capponi

London 2012

Olympic Games

Willie Nelson A Living Treasure Fall 2012

This is EnErgy



“To be a multimedia resource for sharing stories, ideas and actions that inspire, educate, encourage and provide solutions that will result in worldwide positive change.”


While many focus on the positive, we also focus on the impact of what real action can do in the world. We are motivated by a deep need to see the beauty in all things and to share our value in a meaningful manner. We believe that focusing on the solutions instead of the problems will create a long-lasting impact. That is why it is our purpose to have a positive influence with a transformative effect. It is this transformation that will enrich our lives and influence the world.




uplifting or inspiring; + greater than

a forceful consequence; a strong effect


This magazine is a window to the world of uplifting consequence and inspiring effect. It is based on the idea that the smallest action, done with positive intent, is life-altering and, much like a raindrop, can create a ripple effect of untold proportions. Our readers share our passion for the positive and know, too, that small changes can have big results. We believe people need a place to find answers to life’s challenges and to align with others who are on a path of intentional living. We give hope where there may be little and provide resources to stimulate intelligence in an uplifting manner. Our intention is to build a community of influencers that will reach beyond their own backyard in ways previously unimagined. We bring value, caring for their inner life, while demonstrating strong passion for social improvement. Just one small positive action each day would flood the world with optimism, joy and peace. It is our intent to inspire and encourage solutions for life and, along the way, be a creative influence for the world. Join us on our quest to create a powerful resource of education, inspiration and hope. Let’s give new definition to the words “positive impact” and share solutions for life.

© iStockphoto.com/Yuri Arcurs


Uniting For An Extraordinary World


ince I was a child, I have had a dream to put all the people I know together in the same room – people from different walks of life, doing different things and walking different paths. I imagine what it would look like to bring my world together as one, the unique qualities of each person collectively merging to create compelling conversations and, in the process, open hearts. That’s what this issue looks like to me: a united gathering of people from different walks of life, each joining together in ways that change lives and, in the process, heal the world. Each of the stories is humbling, inspiring and powerful. And each has evolved around the idea of unity – that as one we are powerful beyond measure; as a group we can change the world. Whether it is the strength of an Olympic team, a global vision of enlightenment, one woman who changes lives one at a time, or a celebrity shining a light on the needs of others, the stories we share add value to the world in a whole new way. Each helps us to understand that everything is a lesson – whether it feels good or not – and that there is always something positive to come from everything that happens in life. I am living proof of that and am continually astounded by the blessings of my own life. As my shirt says, I feel as if we are all M.A.I – “Made As Intended” – and that each of our stories is living proof that life is meant for good. The cool thing is, when you look in the mirror, my shirt says “I.A.M.” I AM. I love that. It makes me think of so many things: I AM able, I AM all that I need to be, I AM exactly in the right place, I AM so grateful.

Photo © Dave Long

Charity Beck As we bring another issue of Positive Impact Magazine into your world, know that I AM eternally grateful for the things I have learned along the way, for the people who have crossed my path, and for all of the blessings that continue to grace my life – creating more positive impact included. I so appreciate the chance to present these stories to you and hope you enjoy the richness found in the messages. We have certainly enjoyed watching it unfold and continue to be both amazed and inspired by all the extraordinary things in the world. Always and forever, I am grateful infinity.






Actor, musician, philanthropist




The Academy Prep Center for Education

Olympic Spirit Unites the world


A helping hand for the success of our youth





Earl Davis Washington Mystics

The gift that keeps on giving

The big win



A family lesson on integrity, courage & strength


Happy Lifestyle Habits

IN EVERY ISSUE 03 06 07 34 60

Publisher Note PIM Product Picks Contributors Different By Nature Simply Positive

COLUMNS 28 A Moment of Clarity 60 20/20 Plan



Eating for a healthier mind 24

Calming the Chaos

Simple techniques for busy families





Cover photo © Nigel Parry/CPi Syndication

Living Treasures


Man on a Mission

Willie Nelson


“Instead of focusing on the problems, Damon chooses to seek solutions. It’s an empowered approach that encourages us to not only open our hearts but also to offer our hands toward making tangible improvements in the world around us.”


The Sound of a Humanitarian

Center for Great Apes

A home for the most intelligent animals on earth


Hope Belongs to Everyone


Advocating the value of every human life

Michael Capponi


Uniting for a better tomorrow 44

Photo Credits (left to right): Cover – Nigel Parry/CPi Syndication; Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated; Gary Sinise Foundation; Academy Prep; www.istockphoto.com/KirbusEdvard; www.istockphoto.com/Photomorphic; OneXOne; www.water.org; Capponi Group; Center For Great Apes; Timothy Hiatt, Getty Images Entertainment

© 2012 Positive Impact Magazine positiveimpactmagazine.com


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Publisher/Editor In Chief Charity Beck Creative Team/Production Julie Starke Bowen Imagery Contributing Editors Jean Schauer Dana Sitar Julie Starke Laura Watts Director of Special Projects Amber Thompson Nancy Jean-Baptiste Columnist Rachel Schaeffer Marci Wise Dr. Michael DeVito Contributing Writers Rachel Schaeffer, Julie Starke, Marci Wise, Tiffany Bowers, Bailey Foster, Dr. Joel Furhman, Dana Star, Dr. Kim Costello, Dr. Michael Devito, Earl Davis, Sandra Meyer, Laura Watts Contributing Photographers Dave Long, Simon Bruty, Heinz Kluetmeier, Al Tielemans, David E. Klutho, Creative Visions Foundation, Capponi Group, Nigel Parry, Robert Beck, Timothy Hiatt, David Henry Williams Ad Sales Charles Warner Russel Lindsey Advisory Board: Terry Aidman, Dean Akers, Charity Beck, Anton Hopen, Charley Johnson, Steve Krammer, Mike Lemire, Charlie McCurdy, Linda Pizzuti, Wendy Rib, Dawn Sprong, Paula Shroeder, Julie Starke, Amber Thompson, Terry Torok, Greg Wolf Distribution: Curtis Circulation Company, LLC Positive Impact Magazine 2519 McMullen Booth Rd. Suite 510-257, Clearwater, FL 33761 info@positiveimpactmagazine.com sales@positiveimpactmagazine.com www.positiveimpactmagazine.com

Printed on recycled paper



Beach Volleyball: Men’s and Women’s preliminaries Horse Guards Parade, London, UK © Simon Bruty/Sports Illustrated

Olympic spirit unites the world By Tiffany Bowers • Photos courtesy of Sports Illustrated




ith the Olympic Games comes excitement and anticipation, harmless rivalries and excellent team spirit. These Summer Games are a demonstration of all that is good about humanity. Our ability to work hard and achieve our goals, to come together on such a global scale and to compete in the Games in peace and harmony should be celebrated. There is no other event quite like the Olympics, no other great spectacle that has the opportunity to bring together every country on our planet in such a peaceful yet energetic way. The 1993 Olympic Truce enables countries that are restricted by war to break free from these strictures and immerse themselves in a community of fun and vitality, bringing countries, which would otherwise be separated, side-by-side. The Olympics are televised all over the world, with countries having teams as small as two atheletes, giving everyone the opportunity to participate in something good while influencing their own society as well as the world. The fundamental reason that these London 2012 Olympic Games bring such happiness and unity across the world is that everybody loves to be a part of something. Everyone wants to feel like they are involved, like they will be remembered, and remembered for the good that they did in their lives. The Olympics allows your average Joe to take part in history, alongside Bolt and Lochte. Whether you competed in the 100-meter final, watched it on TV or simply tweeted about it, you are now a part of it! You were there! You have made history. Sport is a universal language, bringing people together and promoting peace, both practically in specific communities and on a global level in a much more symbolic way, as shown by the London Olympics. Perhaps something that is specific to the London Olympics is the fact that London, and England as a whole, is such a diverse and multicultural country, especially for its size, and this has been reflected in the atmosphere of the Summer Games. The Olympic volunteers are from many

Team Iran IRI Opening Ceremony Olympic Stadium/London, UK © Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated

different countries, and it is perhaps the blurring of these cultural barriers that has further bonded the different countries of the world, making the Olympic Games a breeding ground for unity and friendship. I think most of the world would agree that they do not wish for the failure of an athlete from another country, because if these games have taught us anything, it is hard work and dedication that equals success, and the athlete from New Zealand, or Brazil or Spain, has undoubtedly worked as hard as our athletes.

medals. Jamaica has a legacy of sprinters, with each in turn inspiring the next, building success and happiness directly out of the sport itself. Surely the Jamaican sprinters look to Usain Bolt and think, “Yes, I want to be a part of that,” and they then go on to train harder and faster and to achieve success in their own right, inspiring others to do the same. Success breeds success, and in these Olympic Games, winning a medal means you have achieved the ultimate goal, for you and your country, and happiness and unity

“Sport is a universal language, bringing people together and promoting peace…” Sports personalities, past and present, increasingly use their experience and celebrity to do good in the world, whether that be helping with funding for sporting charities or merely inspiring young people to turn away from the negative things in their life and focus on a goal, namely sport. The men’s 200-meter final demonstrated this beautifully, as three Jamaicans took the gold, silver and bronze

is a beautiful by-product. The Olympics creates a buzz across the world unlike any other, and it demonstrates how no matter where you are from, when we are handed a lifeline, or a way out of the negative, we take it. We thrive on the opportunity to come together in a peaceful way and to work side by side to create an unforgettable Olympic Games. photo spread continued next page positiveimpactmagazine.com


A GOOD SPORT I FEATURE continued from page 9

Diving practice Synchronized 3m Springboard Aquatics Centre/London, UK © Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated

Thanksmas, Joe’s annual week-long project during which he purchases, cooks, prepares and serves meals at Tampa Bay area homeless shelters.



2012 Summer Olympics: Underwater view of USA Rebecca Soni (L) and Japan Satomi Suzi (R) in action during Women’s 200M Breaststroke Final at Aquatics Centre. Soni wins gold and sets new world record with time of 2:19.59, Suzi wins silver and matches Asian record with time of 2:20.72. © Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated

© Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated Above: 2012 Summer Olympics. Blurred view of Ireland Barry Murphy (green) and Bermuda Roy Burch (blue) in action, dive during Men’s 50M Freestyle Heats at Aquatics Centre.

© Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated Above: Team Great Britain GBR at Opening Ceremony. Olympic Park/London, UK.

© Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated Above: Track & Field: 2012 Summer Olympics. Germany Gesa Felicitas Krause and Ethiopia Etenesh Diro in action during Women’s 3000M Steeplechase at Olympic Stadium. Below left: Ryan Bailey, USA Men’s 100m Round 1. Below right: Track & Field: 2012 Summer Olympics: (L-R) Rear view of Trinidad & Tobago Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Cote d’Ivoire Murielle Ahoure, Jamaica Veronica Campbell-Brown, USA Carmelita Jeter, Nigeria Blessing Okagbare, Jamaica Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, USA Allyson Felix, and USA Tianna Madison in action at start of Women’s 100M Final at Olympic Stadium.

positiveimpactmagazine.com © Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated


© David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated


The Washington Mystics: Going for the Big Win By Marci Wise • Photo courtesy of the Washington Mystics


he world of professional sports has long been the domain of men. The WNBA’s Washington Mystics are challenging that notion by stepping out of old stereotypes and reaching for higher goals than ever. Under the guidance of powerhouse entrepreneur Sheila Johnson, the team is bringing its A-game to women’s professional sporting by focusing on the scoreboard and the community.

Odds on Favorite

Shooting for the stars is something Johnson knows a lot about. Touted as one of the nation’s first African-American billionaires, she has carved out a multifaceted career as a global ambassador for CARE, (www.care.org/campaigns/sheilajohnson/index.asp), a successful documentary filmmaker (www.apowerfulnoise.org), and president and managing partner of the Washington Mystics (www. wnba.com/mystics/index_main.html). She is a powerful woman who always intends to create positive change in her many endeavors. With community-conscious Johnson at the helm, the Washington Mystics organization is dedicated to making a favorable impact on the community and providing positive female role models.



Bouncing Back from History

Although this all-women’s professional basketball team strives to win both on and off the court, the outlook for female sporting wasn’t always so rosy. In the past, women role models in professional sports were scarce, and the few that did exist were paid a fraction of their male counterpart’s salaries. It wasn’t until 1973 when Billie Jean King won the “Battle of the Sexes” in a well-publicized tennis match with Bobby Riggs that a female athlete cracked the glass ceiling for a payday rivaling her male colleagues. Another big coup came in 1972 when Title IX stated, that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Before Title IX, only one in 27 girls played high school sports. Schoolgirls’ primary physical activities were restricted to cheerleading and square-dancing, and there were virtually no college scholarships for female athletes. We’ve come a long way, baby! Today, young girls participate in organized sports regularly, and many of them even dream of playing professionally one day.

Having a Ball

One of those girls was Matee Ajavon, who is now living her dream as a player for the Mystics in her fifth WNBA season. Ajavon is coming off a career year where she averaged 14.7 points per game and started 33 of 34 games for the Mystics. She takes her status as a role model for young girls very seriously. “Never let anybody tell you what you can and can’t do,” she says,“if you work


hard you can get anywhere.” Although Ajavon is now paving the way for future female athletes to thrive, her own rise to the top wasn’t without its challenges. She suffered a serious injury in college that threatened to sideline her career. “That situation just forced me to work that much harder and strive for my dreams, and I was able to do that.” She stresses that perseverance has been a key factor to her success. “You have to be able to go up, down and around anything that may stand in your way,” she says. How does she do that in a world where adversity can often be found around every turn? By relying heavily on the advice and positive examples of her coaches, family and friends. She credits her single mother – who successfully raised four children – as her primary inspiration to keep going when times get tough. “My mom has a strong backbone, and I know that if she can get through anything, then I can do the same.”

Playing in the Big Leagues

When asked what we can expect from the Mystics in the future, Ajavon enthusiastically offers, “You can look forward to us getting to the finals this year.” Championships aside, it appears that this organization of hard-working women – and their community – have already won. They inspire us to step into our power, rise above limitations and grasp our dreams. Mystics’ president Sheila Johnson is placing the team’s emphasis on winning games – and on winning in life. When asked for advice on how to follow in her footsteps of incredible achievement, Johnson offers this advice, “Never lose sight of who you really are, follow your passion, never demean yourself around anyone, stay truly focused and make sure you maintain your moral compass.” That sounds like a true gameplan for success. To catch the Mystics in action, check out this season’s schedule at www.wnba. com/mystics/schedule.



Arts & Entertainment Gary Sinise Actor, Musician, Philanthropist

By Sandra Meyer Photos courtesy of USO and Snowball Express

The Lt. Dan Band in action.


ost remembered for his role in the classic Forrest Gump Gary Sinese stole the hearts of audience members with his portrayal of the tenacious veteran Lt. Dan. It was Sinese’s character that made such an impression that the Disabled American Veterans presented him with the Commander’s Award, thanking him for his portrayal of a disabled veteran who found purpose and peace after returning from the war. While Sinese’s acting credits are numerous, including his latest role as



Detective Mac Taylor on CBS’ CSI: NY, his is a multi-faceted life and one riddled with charitable work. The Gary Sinese Foundation alone supports more than 20 charitable causes, and his band, aptly named The Lt. Dan Band, is world world-renowned for their USO tours in support of troops around the world. His humanitarian efforts have not gone unnoticed, and Sinese has been nationally recognized by several organizations, including being one of only three actors to receive the prestigious Presidential Citizens Medal, the second

highest civilian award. He has been likened to Bob Hope in his tireless support of the veteran charities that have become his life. Recently, Positive Impact Magazine (PIM) caught up with Sinise, and here is what he had to say: PIM: You support so many charitable causes: what would you say is the nearest and dearest to your heart? SINISE: I’m involved with many military charities and first responders. If you go to www.garysinisefoundation.org, you can look at charities we support, and there are probably 25 different

“I’m involved with many military charities and first responders. If you go to garysinisefoundation.org, you can look at charities we support and there is probably 25 different charities listed that I’ve been involved with over the years.”

Gary Sinise entertains the troops.

charities listed that I’ve been involved with over the years. There’s Snowball Express, which is an organization that takes care of our Gold Star kids. There’s Taps… all those charities are on there because I think they’re important, and I think they’re making a difference. Through the Gary Sinise Foundation, we’re supporting them, creating and providing programs that support military families and first responders. PIM: With all the people you’ve met and helped along the way, is there any story that stands out and really touched you? SINISE: I’m working in partnership with organizations that give back to our wounded, so I’ll meet hundreds if not thousands of wounded warriors over the course of time. I’m always humbled at what some of these folks go through. There are several quadruple amputees that we’re working with. We built a house for SPC Brendan Marrocco, who was the first soldier to survive losing both his arms and both his legs. We built a

special home for him, and that has led to a partnership with the Stephen Towers Foundation to create our Building for America’s Bravest program, designed to build homes for severely wounded warriors. I’m always meeting just incredible individuals who are trying to turn a tragic circumstance into a triumph. I could talk for hours about all the different organizations, different people and things I’ve been fortunate to do. Going out there and entertaining our troops or playing for kids of a fallen soldier is something that has moved me and meant a lot. There is great reward in being able to give back to them. PIM: Who or what has had a positive impact in your life? SINISE: My mom and dad have always been incredibly supportive of me and big champions. I’ve certainly met extraordinary individuals in my life, both in the acting world and in the military space, who have been true mentors and friends and inspirational figures in my life. I loved working with John Franken-

heimer as an actor. He is somebody who was just a great leader on the set, and that’s something I very much appreciated. I met a man named John Vigiano, a former firefighter and a former Marine, who sadly lost both his sons on September 11. One son was a police officer and another was a firefighter, and they both were killed at Ground Zero when the towers came down. I first met John on a trip to Iraq in 2003; he wanted to thank the troops, and I was on my way to do the same thing. We became friends, and he introduced me to all these good friends at the FDNY and at the Fire Family Transport Foundation. I was able to do a concert to help build The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance. That was a great moment because I felt that here were so many of our first responder families that lost loved ones at the World Trade Center. I was able to do something to help support them and to show appreciation for what they had lost by raising money to help build that particular memorial. I wouldn’t have necessarily known some of those folks if it were not for John Vigiano, who is just a great man. He and his wife, Janet, have become very special friends. continued on next page

“As a fortunate citizen of the United States of America, we are blessed with the freedom and opportunity to follow our hearts and achieve our dreams, no matter how big those dreams may be. With passion and commitment, anything is possible, and we are only limited by our imagination.” positiveimpactmagazine.com



continued from page 15

“I am grateful and lucky to have had so many wonderful experiences and to have met extraordinary people from many walks of life.” The Lt. Dan Band plays USO tours in support of our troops.

PIM: Tell me a little about your band and how that came to be? SINISE: It was just a jam group back in the 90s and early part of 2000 and 2001 – guys that I played with for fun. Then I started going on USO tours. I would go out and shake hands and take pictures. Finally I talked the USO into letting me take the musicians with me, and it turned into something I wanted to continue. It’s evolved into a really great band, and now we’ve played hundreds of concerts for the USO, military charities and all kinds of support things along the way. It’s been great to be able to entertain our troops. PIM: You’ve had enormous success in acting, philanthropy and with your band. What would you tell someone starting out in life about following his or her dreams?

“Do not let your fear of failure ever dictate what you want to try to do. If you can think it, dream it, imagine it, then find a way to achieve it. And always remember that you can never go wrong if what you are doing is right.”



SINISE: As a fortunate citizen of the United States of America, we are blessed with the freedom and opportunity to follow our hearts and achieve our dreams, no matter how big those dreams may be. With passion and commitment, anything is possible, and we are only limited by our imagination. At the same time, I have known people in my life that have had great imaginations and somehow were always afraid to reach out and take chances. There is always the possibility of failure at something. The biggest failure of all would be to look back and say you never tried to reach for something, that your goals and dreams were stifled by your fear. So I would say, do not let your fear of failure ever dictate what you want to try to do. If you can

think it, dream it, imagine it, then find a way to achieve it. And always remember that you can never go wrong if what you are doing is right. PIM: What is on your “bucket list”? SINISE: I’m not sure I know how to answer this one. I am grateful and lucky to have had so many wonderful experiences and to have met extraordinary people from many walks of life. I guess, to stay healthy, grow old with my wife and watch my kids experience joy in their lives. PIM: What are you most proud of in your life? SINISE: My family.

Positive Impact Magazine thanks Gary Sinise for touching millions of hearts around the world through his acting, music and fundraising. It is people like Sinise who inspire the rest of us to answer a call to action. Opportunities are all around us; we need only be open to them to make them a reality. To learn more about the charities Sinise supports, visit his foundation website at: www.garysinisefoundation.org




Philanthropy: The Gift That Keeps On Giving By Earl Davis


was mentally preparing for the speech I was to make at the all-boys maximum-risk youth detention center in about an hour – another “free” speech. As I arrived at the facility and moved to the check-in station for security credentialing, I saw the 17-foot, vertical, barbed-wire fence that surrounded the entire 50-acre compound. Six law enforcement officers escorted me to the platform where I was to make my presentation. When the compound bell sounded, I could see 250 young men in uniforms standing at attention. I was taken aback when I noticed that these men (between the ages of 12 and 17) were interlocked together by the waist. As they began filing in for my presentation, I realized why there were only 50 chairs set up – even though I was to address the entire population at the detention center. The chairs were for the graduates leaving the program, which meant that 200 less fortunate young men would have to stand (in the hot, Florida sunshine) for the 90 minutes allocated for my speech. I spoke for only 30 minutes and used the remaining time to get to know the young inmates, answering questions and offering advice. A few years later, I pulled into a parking space just below my second-floor apartment window. I was getting out of my car when a tall, thin young man called to me from a distance. “Mr. Davis, Mr. Davis…? Is that you?” I didn’t recognize his face. He said, “I was at the detention center. I remember you talked about success concepts of leadership. You talked about the importance of making right decisions and what it is to be a man and how to turn your situation around



– and how to serve the world. I never forgot that. My name is Reggie*.” Reggie was 12 years old at the time of my speech at the detention center, and now he stood before me at age 16. He had been in and out of programs. I asked Reggie if lived in the area, and he said yes – he was staying with his uncle who lived in the apartment just under mine. We talked for a few more minutes, and I shared with Reggie that I stood behind every word I spoke at the detention center … and if I could ever help, I would try. About two weeks later, there was a knock at my door. It was Reggie, with tears in his eyes. He said, “Mr. Davis, I messed up again. Can you help me?” He was not meeting all the requirements preset for him when he left the detention center, and he was still making poor choices – which led to him getting kicked out of his house.

“Philanthropy is a seed that never stops producing fruit.” The caseworker assigned to Reggie had given him 24 hours to complete the next-to-impossible task of finding reputable work. We spoke for a few minutes about what it means to make a fresh start, and I gave him some specific instructions he could follow to hopefully counteract the negative. When I came home the next evening, there was a note on my door that read: “Thanks, Mr. Davis, for the advice. I did what you said, and I have a con-


firmed job interview today. I demonstrated accountability with my probation officer the way you taught me, and he extended my time. Thank you so much!” The next time I heard from Reggie was a year later. He knocked on my door, beaming from ear to ear. He held his report card in hand … all As and one B. He was now on the principal’s list for good reasons. He was a crew leader at the restaurant where he had worked steadily for the past year, and he and his mother had patched things up. I’ve lost contact with him now, but the last I heard, Reggie was serving his country in the U.S. Marines. Philanthropy is a seed that never stops producing fruit. And the more you give, the more you receive. I no longer view a “no fee” speech as just another “free” speech. I see it as an open door to possibility. I promised myself at the beginning of my speaking career that philanthropy would be of utmost importance to me. I’ve given one “no fee” presentation a week for the past 17 years. I also reserve 25 dates a year for organizations that want a professional speaker but can’t afford one, due to budget restrictions and demands.

“It takes teamwork to make the dream work.”

Here’s how to make philanthropy a part of your life: Always look for ways to improve yourself through personal and professional development, because you cannot give what you do not have. Assess your surroundings, find a need and fill it. Once you begin looking and exploring, you’ll find your place. Leave no stone unturned. You’ll find resources in places that are often overlooked. No one can do it alone. As they say, it takes teamwork to make the dream work.

Earl Davis is a speaker and success coach and the creator/host of the television and radio program The Winner’s Circle. His company, Create Winners, Inc., works with businesses and individuals who want to bring out the best in themselves and others. Learn more at www.positiveimpactmagazine.com. *Not his real name.



EDUCATION The Academy Prep Center for Education A Helping Hand for the Success of our Youth By Bailey Foster • Photos courtesy of Academy Prep

© istockphoto.com/procurator

A sturdy oak tree, the rising sun and a shining star. These are the symbols of strength, nourishment and potential represented on the logo of Academy Prep Foundation, Inc. (known as the Academy Prep Center for Education). And it is these qualities that the center is demonstrating in the lives of disadvantaged youth across the Tampa Bay area. Established in 1996, Academy Prep is a charitable organization that focuses on educating low-income, middle school students at two sister schools: the Academy Prep Centers of St. Petersburg and of Tampa. By offering top-quality education – based on a proven academ-



ic model – and ongoing graduate support, Academy Prep encourages students to pursue their dreams and to realize their full potential.

Planting Purpose and Sprouting Success Like the oak tree in its logo, Academy Prep is a fortress of strength and a starting point for growth for its student, rooted in the knowledge that hard work pays off. Ryan Gonzalez, director of development at the Tampa location, confirms: “What makes our school unique is that our kids attend school up to 11 hours a day, six days a week, 11 months a year, in small classes.” As part of this unique educational

program, students receive outstanding college preparatory education, participate in extracurricular classes and programs and are supported by the Graduate Support Services staff throughout high school and college. From literature, math and science courses to dance, chess and sports activities, students learn and thrive regardless of their economic backgrounds. By enabling the community’s youth to live fulfilling, triumphant lives, Academy Prep is leading the way for other organizations and programs across the globe. Its success sets an inspiring example for proven ways to educate and encourage the world’s children.

Nurturing Youth for the Future Behind the oak tree in the logo is a bright rising sun – a symbol of warmth and nourishment to our planet. Serving as a beacon of light, the school guides students to achieve excellence in their own lives and throughout their communities. More than 88 percent of the St. Petersburg center’s students and 95

are competitive applicants to some of the most prestigious high schools in the nation, such as Shorecrest, Berkeley Prep and Phillips Exeter.” Students who attend Academy Prep centers also move on to some of the nation’s top college institutions, including Northwestern University, the University of Florida, Columbia University, Eckerd College and Florida State University.

“Academy Prep encourages students to pursue their dreams and to realize their full potential.” percent of the Tampa center students graduate from high school on time. According to Lacey Nash Miller, director of development at the St. Petersburg center, “AP students come from homes that are at or below the poverty line and live in a world where most of their family members and peers have not or will not graduate from high school.” Miller describes the journey of many Academy Prep learners: “Many of our students come to us two to three grade levels behind in math and reading. After four years of being immersed in our extended school program, our students

Karimah works diligently.

Celebrating Individual Greatness The shining star on the AP logo represents one of the most important aspects of helping students reach their full potential: the individuality of every student and celebration of each graduate’s success. The school recognizes that every child can reach great heights if they learn to do their best. Cavesha, a 2008 graduate, is now attending Florida State University, thanks to the confidence she gained through her experience at Academy Prep. “I learned that I can do anything, and that I shouldn’t feel inferior to anyone else. I plan to be a success!” Another graduate, Antavious, is continuing his education at TBC Academy. “I’m grateful to be a graduate from such a tremendous school.” With the help of the community, Academy Prep will continue bringing education to local youth and inspiration to the world. The organization hopes to open additional schools in the future to touch even more lives. “Both schools appreciate and need the generosity of the community in supporting this extraordinary mission,” says Gonzalez. Miller reflects on the school’s ongoing success: “Academy Prep education is igniting inner-city students’ commitment to learn and succeed, which results in productive adults who work diligently to reach their full potential and ultimately give back to their communities.”

Antavious poses before his graduation from Academy Prep. Two boys sit outside while reading.

To support the goals of Academy Prep by donating or volunteering, or simply to learn more about the school’s mission, visit www.positiveimpactmagazine.com.



EVERYDAY PEOPLE The Olympic Games A Family Lesson on Integrity, Courage & Strength

By Dr. Kim E. Costello


ver the past several weeks, many families have had their eyes glued to the television watching the Olympics. Many of us saw 19-year-old Kirani James take the gold in the 400-meter for his country, Grenada. As monumental as this moment was for him and his country, there was another moment that really stood out in my mind as his finest: when James reached out to Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee sprinter, and asked to exchange bib numbers with Pistorius after he came in last in the semifinal heat. In doing so, James acknowledged the courage and strength it took for Pistorius to compete. The loyalty, generosity, compassion and kindness James demonstrated through this symbolic gesture was poignant. And it makes a perfect platform for a meaningful family discussion. The time we’ve spent with our loved ones, sharing the grand pageantry of the Olympics and witnessing the world’s best athletes perform in the various sporting events, can open the door for important family conversations. The Olympians are an example of commitment, dedication and a willingness to pursue their passions. While marveling at the determination and discipline these athletes used to become world-class competitors, parents can prompt a family discussion about topics like goal-setting, pursuing dreams, the importance of hard work, demonstrating grace in the face of defeat, integrity and moral strength. There have been many moments throughout the Olympics where family members can see core character strengths being exhibited. Highlight these examples in family conversation and share them with your children in order to demonstrate the power of focus and integrity – so these skills are instilled and nurtured within your household. 22


Pistorius, within his own right, is also an amazing testimony. Known as the “Blade Runner” because he has two carbon fiber prosthetic legs, he is living proof that hard work and dedication can help us to overcome a multitude of disabilities or disadvantages. Share these examples with your

family and talk about how, in addition to the athletic prowess that makes these winners world-class, it is also integrity that creates the true stars of the Olympic games. As we discuss these stories, we teach our children values that guide all other aspects of their lives.

“Integrity creates the true stars of the Olympic games.”

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health Eating for a By Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

Healthier Mind Adopt these lifestyle habits to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease:

»» Limit your intake of red meat and other animal products, saturated and trans fats, and salt. »» Focus 90 percent or more of dietary intake on whole plant foods. A diet higher in vegetables, fruits and legumes and low in red meat can decrease risk of Alzheimer’s by 65%. »» Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods, especially walnuts, leafy greens and berries.


lzheimer’s disease, a common form of dementia, affects up to 4.5 million people in the U.S. alone. Alzheimer’s is a devastating and ultimately fatal condition, consisting of loss of memory and thinking skills, confusion, personality changes and eventually the inability to carry out the activities of daily life. The good news is dementia is not a normal part of the aging process, and you can help prevent it through something as simple as your diet.

Dietary choices earlier in life have a profound impact on the health of the brain as it ages. Patients with Alzheimer’s often have deficiencies of several vitamins, especially the antioxidant vitamins found in vegetables and fruits. We pay a steep price for our extravagant diet, rich in meat and dairy and low in natural, healthful plant foods. In fact, studies have found that the lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are almost identical to those of cardiovascular disease. The health of the brain is closely connected to the health of the heart and blood vessels, because the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain must not be narrowed with plaque if the brain is to function properly through life.



»» Grape juice, berries (especially blueberries) and walnuts have been singled out for their protective effects on the brain, specifically preventing cognitive decline and improving memory in those with mild cognitive impairment. Walnuts also contain a useful omega-3 fatty acid, and leafy greens are the most nutrient-rich foods in existence, and also provide vitamin K, which is involved in energy production in the brain. »» Take brain-supporting supplements: Omega-3 DHA, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

»» Intake of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is associated with decreased Alzheimer’s risk, and DHA levels in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients are low. Maintaining DHA levels in the brain is an important measure for preventing neurodegenerative diseases in later life. Vitamin B12 deficiency has recently been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.19 vitamin B12 is scarce in plant-based diets, and we absorb less of it from foods as we age, so it is wise to supplement. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. You can get vitamin D levels checked with a blood test and use supplements if those levels are low. »» Physical activity. Exercise has favorable effects on the brain at all stages of life. In children and young adults, exercise improves subsequent learning ability, and in adults over 60, physical fitness is associated with better memory, cognitive function, and reaction time. High levels of physical activity are associated with a significant reduction in Alzheimer’s disease risk.

Dr. Fuhrman is a #1 New York Times best-selling author, nutritional researcher and board-certified family physician specializing in nutritional medicine. His newest book, Super Immunity, discusses how to naturally strengthen the immune system against everything from the common cold to cancer. Learn more by visiting www.positiveimpactmagazine.com. positiveimpactmagazine.com



Mindfulness can easily be incorporated into your home and family life, using these simple techniques:

Calming Back-to-School Chaos Simple Mindfulness Techniques for Your Busy Family By Dr. Kim E. Costello


arents and children anticipate the transition of summer ending and school beginning. This back-toschool time is exciting, and sometimes it’s a chaotic time for families that are over-extended and overwhelmed by the level of activity in all areas of family life. It’s time to schedule physical exams, complete school registration paperwork and purchase classroom supplies and uniforms/clothing. Our attention and resources are pulled in many different directions. Back-to-school time can affect the cohesiveness within our families. How often, during these busy times, do we keep our awareness in the present moment? Maintaining awareness during transitional times is one of the



best things we can do to preserve harmony within our families. Creating mindfulness techniques in your home can produce a natural balance between thinking and doing. Mindfulness – the word and the technique – has been around for years, and the concept is simple: remain in the present moment and pay attention to what is happening so you aren’t overburdened by any one aspect of reality. Simply put, mindfulness is “momentto-moment awareness,” according to Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book Full Catastrophe Living. Integrating mindfulness within your family unit can reduce stress, boost immune systems, lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety and create a more harmonious atmosphere.

“It’s never too early to start incorporating mindfulness in your household.”



Mindful music

Turn on the stereo and listen to music that soothes the soul – music with a calming tempo. As you play this music in your home, encourage each member of your family to pay attention to the notes and focus on the beat. Teach them that if their minds wander, they can gently ease from their thought back to the music.

Establishing mindfulness techniques during back-to-school time can foster a sense of centeredness within each individual family member and among the family unit as a whole. These simple strategies can restore calm to an otherwise challenging time, reducing the feelings of overload that often occur this time of year.

Try using these ideas in your own family, making necessary alterations or adjustments depending on the age of your children. It’s never too early to start incorporating mindfulness in your household. These small changes can make a tremendous difference.

Mindful breath 2



Breath frees emotion. Challenge family members to pay attention to their breath. Set a timer for 10 minutes and pay attention to each inhalation and exhalation during that time. Focus on how the breath moves in with each inhale and out with each exhale. You can also imagine a color with each breath. For instance, inhaling yellows and blues can create calmness. Exhaling reds and blacks can remove anxiousness.

Mindful walk

Family activity is important. If you walk and are mindful at the same time, you are getting double the benefit. Encourage each family member to walk in silence for 15 minutes, paying attention to things around them: sights, sounds and colors. As they walk in silence, encourage them to concentrate on their breath, their movement and their environment.

Mindful environment

Take the family to the backyard and have them focus on something in the environment of their choice. It can be a rock, flower, tree or bird. Focus on the item for one or two minutes. Teach them that if they become distracted, they can take their attention away from their thought and re-direct it back to the item they selected.

“Maintaining awareness during transitional times is one of the best things we can do to preserve harmony within our families.” Dr. Kim E. Costello is a board-certified counselor residing in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she owns and operates The Costello Center, a counseling and academic success center. Dr. Costello has provided therapeutic services for children and families for more than 20 years. For more information, visit www.positiveimpactmagazine.com.




Cultivating Simplicity:

Livin’ Large in a Smaller Way By Marci Wise

“I don’t know if it comes with age, wisdom or simply fatigue – at some point in our lives, most of us begin to feel the draw to get back to basics.”


fter years of striving, obtaining and accumulating, we often come to the realization that we’re over-stocked, over-burdened and overwhelmed. The benefits of a simple life begin to call to us, and we find ourselves ready to take that leap—and vow to clear out the excess clutter from our lives. While we’re conditioned to think that simplicity means less, in many ways it can actually bring our lives more – more happiness, peace and purpose. Choosing to live a simple life doesn’t mean living in lack or poverty. Instead ensuring that each item around us has meaning and a purpose for being there. When my husband recently accepted a new job in another city, I took it as my cue to finally do what my soul had been urging me to do for ages: simplify! While I must admit that the task was a bit harder than it sounds, I’ve found that creating a smaller life has big benefits. Through my own trial and error, here are some tips on livin’ large in a smaller way.



Free your mind – While we know that a lot of effort goes into getting things, we might not acknowledge that an equal amount of energy goes toward keeping those things. I was surprised at how much lighter my spirit felt after eliminating the non-essentials. Think of it this way: For every item you own, there’s a little space of your mind devoted to it. The more you have, the more you have to account for. As you take steps to simplify your life, you let go of mental clutter and reclaim your most precious resource: your attention. This one factor can be hugely transformational. With fewer distractions, you can focus on yourself, others and the world around you with a clearer mind and a greater sense of well-being. Love it or leave it – When attempting to simplify your life, you may be surprised at how challenging it can be. When eyeing-up my closet, I found myself paralyzed by some kind of strange, hypnotic attachment to pieces that I haven’t even

worn in years. The mindset of getting rid of things I didn’t like wasn’t helping me. (“Of course I like it, I bought it!”); However, when I changed my plan of action to keeping only the items I love, I hit on simplification gold! Think of how wonderful it would be if you actually loved every item in your closet, had a memorable story for every knickknack in your home, and a warm affection for each and every thing around you. When it comes to simplifying, “love is the answer” – so let that simple criteria guide you to your ultimate version of simplicity.

Use the Rule of Three – When faced with 11 pairs of jeans (spanning various weight stages) and black slacks galore, I found the “rule of three” to be invaluable. Choose to keep only your favorite three items of the same category. For example, three little black dresses are more than enough. This tactic helps you avoid excess while still leaving you plenty of dressing options. And remember, when you do buy a new item, be sure to eliminate an older one of the same type. Donating clothes or giving them to friends is a great way to give new life to an old item. Do the Swap and Shuffle – In a simpler life, fun gets moved up on the priority ladder. When scanning your daily list of to-do items, take note of the things that excite you – and those that you dread. Look for ways to accentuate the positive. Even if you can’t avoid some of your more unpleasant duties, make a conscious effort to create balance by immediately following them up with an activity that pleases you. As you become more purposeful with your pursuits, you can begin to place activities that nourish you in a more prominent place of importance. Your sanity, good health and well-being are crucial to all of your endeavors, so feel good about helping yourself flourish. Manage your calendar so enjoyment is just as important as anything else on your agenda. Simple Me/Simple We – By simplifying our own lives, we’re helping ourselves and helping the world too. Less consumption means less demand on environmental resources, which can have a positive impact on a social, national and even international level. Recycling and reusing items in a responsible way will enable us to enjoy the earth’s bountiful supply for generations to come. While our modern-day version of a simple life may be quite different from those of our forefathers, scaling back can allow us more opportunities to enjoy the priceless pleasures that people have reveled in for ages – the beauty of a brightly colored sunset, the relaxation of an idle moment and time spent with the ones we love. Creating a simpler life doesn’t have to be complicated. The only true difference in my “new” lifestyle is that now when I look around the room, I’m surrounded only with things that make me happy – and it’s truly as simple as that!



who “ Anyone saves a single

life, it’s as if he has saved a whole world. – Ancient Jewish scripture

By Bailey Foster • Photos courtesy of One X One


his old Jewish scripture is at the heart of Joelle (Joey) Berdugo Adler’s life mission and her reason for founding ONEXONE, a charitable organization in Canada and the United States. ONEXONE improves and preserves the lives of children worldwide by focusing on five areas of overall wellbeing: water, health, education, play and food. Joey founded the organization on the principle that every life has infinite value and that we can all make a positive impact on others’ lives – one by one.



In 2004, ONEXONE got its start as the Lou Adler Foundation, which Joey founded in honor of her late husband. Lou Adler was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2001. During Lou’s illness, doctors told Joey that there was no hope for her husband and that they would not waste resources on him with his very low chance of survival. Shortly thereafter, Joey watched the coverage of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on TV, followed by a commercial showing emaciated children in Africa.

She was moved by the seeming lack of real value placed on human life. “It was really devastating to me to see that the life of my husband, the life of a child in Africa, those thousands of people who died in New York – that people were making economic decisions on whether to save lives or philosophical decisions on the value of life.” Then and there, Joey vowed that she would devote the rest of her life to advocating the value of every human life. From its infancy, the Lou Adler Foundation focused on patient advocacy

ONEXONE: preserving the lives of children worldwide.

“Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve really fallen in love with people.” – Joey Adler

and children’s issues. In 2005, the organization was transitioned into the ONEXONE foundation, while Joey continued her family’s support for cancer causes under a private domain. As president and CEO of the fashion brand Diesel Canada, Inc., Joey has leveraged her business model for good with ONEXONE and other causes. She wants everyone to be motivated to change the world and relies on a spirit of hope to make her own mark on people’s lives. “I’m a big optimist,” she says. “When I have an idea, I want to execute it, and I want to make it happen.” Joey has certainly shown the virtue of optimism through her work with ONEXONE. Since its inception, ONEXONE has drawn public attention to the issue of child starvation in North America. In collaboration with local organizations around the globe, ONEXONE also implements and operates programs that benefit vulnerable children in places like South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya and Haiti. Through its many partnerships, the organization improves the lives of children by providing access to clean water, nutritious foods, healthcare initiatives, academic school programs and equipment for sports and play activities.

Following the 2010 earthquake, ONEXONE made eight flights to Haiti, providing $7 million worth of goods, including critical medicine and medical equipment. The organization enjoys the support of high-profile figures like Matt Damon, Frank McKenna and former President Bill Clinton. Transcending obstacles and pushing ahead, the foundation is focusing on an important goal for the future of philanthropy as well. Joey is determined to reinvent business models and create opportunities in the developing world that can give back large portions of profits to local communities. Through ONEXONE and her role in Industrial Revolution II LP, Joey is collaborating with others to establish a high-level

Founder Joey Adler making her mark on the world

continued on next page



MAGAZINE FOUNDATION Great news abounds and Positive Impact just keeps on going and giving! Our newest addition to the Positive Impact family is the Positive Impact Magazine Foundation, our new nonprofit is designed to provide grants pr and funding to organizations and people creating a positive impact! It is our intent to get behind our readers, our sponsors, and our subscribers in their efforts to give back. We know that in order t o be an influence, we must set an example, so we will promote the natural cycle of giving and receiving while providing a conduit for support! We are excited to begin our journey and will keep you posted as we plan events, fundraisers, and align with o rganizations that will move the Positive Impact Magazine Foundation into the forefront of the giving community.

continued from page 31

garment manufacturer in Haiti that will share 50 percent of its profits with host communities and provide economic improvement for the Haitian country. What keeps Joey going, in the midst of her high-powered roles and her incredible dedication to and support of the causes she’s passionate about? Her answer is simple: “Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve really fallen in love with people.” Through each experience and journey, Joey is continually reminded of her reason for persevering and her love for what she does. “Helping someone else in the world … it’s a privilege,” she says, gratitude resonating through her voice. “I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world, that I’ve been able to do something in my life that has this kind of a meaning.” May we all be as blessed to make such a positive impact.

“Joey vowed that she would devote the rest of her life to advocating the value of every human life.”

To learn more about ONEXONE and its many initiatives and to find more ways to support or follow the progress of ONEXONE, visit www.positiveimpactmagazine.com. To learn more about Positive Impact Magazine Foundation, log on to POSITIVEIMPACT MAGAZINE www.positiveimpactmagazine.com 32

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different by nature The Journey is

Part of a series of articles entitled Different by Nature By Julie Starke

the Destination Photos courtesy of Creative Visions Foundation


very so often an organization comes along that defies the norm, takes convention and shakes it by the shoulders. It stands up tall, reaching with an outstretched hand to uplift the people in its path and give resources to those who are called to give voice to the voiceless. Such is the quest of Creative Visions Foundation (CVF), an organization inspired by reasons much different than most. Motivated by the loss of a son and a brother, who at the young age of 22 was killed while covering a conflict in Somalia, CVF carries on the work of Dan Eldon. As the youngest Reuters photojournalist of his time, this young man was setting the world on fire with his sense of passion and purpose by walking into worlds where a story needed to be told. His core belief, that “within each of us, there is a creative spark that can be used to fulfill our potential, not only for ourselves, but for the world,” was one he lived out until the very end. Dan’s untimely death forced his family to find a way to cope – to both remember and to forget. As a result, they established the Dan Eldon Center, located on the top floor of a landmark building bordering Santa Monica and Malibu, and launched Creative Visions Foundation, a publicly supported 501(c)3. Each has been designed to help them carry on the work of Dan. So, this is the story of that family. Of Dan, the courageous artist and adventurer who believed in the “creative spark” in each of us; of Amy, his sister, whose documentary Dying to Tell the Story aired on CNN and ignited her passion for peace; and Kathy, the mother, who lost so much 34


Kathy Eldon, co-founder of Creative Visions Foundation, introduces the On Rev Speaker Series, with Ben Keesey, the CEO of Invisible Children, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jeffrey Gettleman.

yet gained an entire movement to fill her heart with love and her life with passion, carrying on the work of a son who held so much promise. Creative Support for a Changing World. Established in 1998, Creative Visions Foundation models their work a little differently. They do not focus solely on their own agenda but focus on supporting those who use the power of media and arts to create ongoing, positive change in the world. It is these Creative Activists who are changing things up one project at a time and bringing a voice to people who would, perhaps, never be heard.

The Imagination Foundation is one of many that have recently received support in their quest to bring a story to life. Caine’s Arcade is the account of one little boy who used his imagination to create a cardboard arcade. This short documentary highlights the ingenuity of Caine, a little boy without a handheld video device and with a heart for building things. Although it really demonstrates what can happen when people pay attention to the smallest detail, Caine’s Arcade brings people together in a unique and inspiring way. www.cainesarcade.com

Kathy in Kenya, continuing to connect with children all over the world Nirvan, of The Imagination Foundation, and Caine become comrades on the journey.

Visit the CVF website and you will find countless resources to help those on their journey. The Creative Activist Toolkit is a guide created by Charles Tsai, an educator and consultant to social entrepreneurs, that helps change-makers learn and apply best practices. There are how-to videos and fill-in-the-blank Power Point presentations to get you started, as well as a multitude of tools for the journey and examples to follow. It is resources such as these that make CVF a unique source for all who choose to use the media and arts to become vehicles for social change. While CVF has assisted more than 100 artists, filmmakers, playwrights and leaders of social movements on five continents, their vision contains so much more. Their goal is to foster relationships and build a community of like-minded people all over the world, providing online support in the form of tools and resources. This is only the beginning of their outreach. So it is easy to see why Kathy and Amy have chosen to continue on the journey to inspire. Dan Eldon loved the world and the people within it. He demonstrated this in the countless journals he left behind, each filled with images, art and poetry that capture both the essence and the spirit of people all over the world. During his short time on earth, Dan lived out his art. His family intends to let others live out theirs. It is a powerful combination. While Creative Visions Foundation pushes forward with its programs of outreach, Kathy has turned Dan’s work into a gallery of its own. Clothes have been designed that boldly display his art and thoughts; his journals have been turned into a book; and, a gallery displays much of his original work. In many ways Dan is still with them, guiding the process and, as his family’s foundation says, helping the world to “seek innovative solutions to local and global issues by using the arts and media to ignite positive change.”

Dan Eldon, artist, adventurer and photojournalist. The first of many ‘Creative Activists’ to shine a light on the world in crisis.

Dan Eldon connects with the children of the world.

continued on page 37 positiveimpactmagazine.com




















continued from page 35

So, Kathy, Amy and the rest of the team, are carrying on Dan’s work by helping others light the creative spark within and, along the way, are making a place for themselves. For this family it is all the same, leading them to easily honor Dan’s favorite mantra: “the journey is the destination.”

Ryan Christofferson documents the journey of two students who headed south to Guatemala to live on a dollar a day to learn about and address global poverty.

Coming Soon!

What is a Creative Activist? Creative Activists are ordinary people who ask brave questions about challenges they see in their neighborhoods, communities and the world around us. They seek solutions, using Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are!” Often armed with little more than a seemingly endless capacity to care and create, Creative Activists develop their ideas into sustainable projects and productions that focus attention on what’s wrong and ignite action to help make things right. Creative Activists understand the power of media and the arts to focus attention on important issues and ideas embracing both traditional forms of communication as well as new forms of social media to spread their messages to the widest possible audience. Creative Activists, while diverse in race, religion and culture, are collaborative, like-minded individuals who celebrate creativity in all its forms and help mold and nurture ideas, no matter how big or small. They are seekers, thinkers, visionaries and doers who love to provoke conversations and challenge old paradigms. Creative Activists create impact with the common goal of changing the world for the better. Every person has a creative spark within.

Reprinted from creativevisions.org with permission

Gene Jimenez paints one of twentyfour paintings based on a series of twenty-four conversations with peacemakers and “every-day people.”

A humble garbage picker in Paraguay uses his ingenuity to craft instruments out of recycled materials – and a youth orchestra is born.

Creative Activist Daniela Kon with Deeda Productions

For more information on Creative Visions Foundation, the Dan Eldon Center or to get involved in their work please visit www.creativevisions.org. Julie Starke is a writer, designer, and communicator who provides creative consulting to corporations and individuals. Different by Nature is designed to share stories that will uplift the world and help shape generations to come. More at www.positiveimpactmagazine.com.

For more details, visit: www.positiveimpactmagazine.com



cover story Matt Damon Man on a Mission

By Marci Wise Photos courtesy of water.org

Matt Damon with kids in Ethiopia.


e’s the handsome, Academy Award-winning golden boy of Hollywood. Actor Matt Damon desires to do much more than simply fill theaters. Named one of the most bankable actors in tinseltown by Forbes magazine, he’s spent the last two decades racking up a string of impressive accomplishments.

At the age of 27, Damon made himself a household name by winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting, along with long-time friend Ben Affleck. Since then he’s kept audiences on the edge of their seats as Jason Bourne in the commercially successful Bourne series of action flicks, starred as the title character in the blockbuster Saving Private Ryan, and managed to defy typecasting by turning powerful performances as offbeat and diverse characters in films like The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Legend of Bagger Vance and many more. The role that comes most naturally to Damon is that of humanitarian. He’s committed to using his public platform to turn attention toward some of society’s most pressing issues.



A Magnetic Attraction

Damon learned the importance of helping others at an early age. Growing up under the influence of a mother who was an educator and activist, the young Damon was influenced by a magnet she had placed on their refrigerator with a quote from Gandhi that read, “No matter how insignificant what you do may seem, it is important that you do it.” That mantra worked its way into his psyche and inspired Damon’s first act of philanthropy at the age of 12, when he donated a portion of his $5 allowance. “I learned then that you find one thing that matters to you and it changes your whole


It seems that Damon’s own desire to make a positive impact has taken precedence “over the doubts of any naysayers. He’s begun to embrace his role as an

international change-maker and is choosing to use his celebrity capital where it has the most leverage – in giving

Madam Amiideesina from Ghana scooping water from unsafe source.

mind-set,” he told Parade magazine. It’s a lesson that has stayed with Damon. These days, using the power of the celebrity spotlight, he’s made it his personal mission to shine a light on issues of concern all over the world.

A Dual-Edged Sword

While the type of celebrity that Damon has achieved offers him a powerful platform from which to be heard, it doesn’t come without its own challenges. Researchers from Trinity College Dublin concluded that the general public is fairly cynical as to the charitable motives of most celebrities, “whose involvement they felt served their own aims – namely publicity – first

a voice to issues that matter. ”

Matt and water.org co-founder, Gary White, visit water projects in India.

and foremost.” It’s a hurdle that tests even the purest of intentions. While Matt Damon’s charity work has been far less promoted than that of other celebrity activists, a mass skepticism does create some unique challenges. Damon acknowledges that people have become a bit desensitized by what he calls the “Sally Struthers Effect” – mass images of the ill and starving, designed to tug at the heart strings. He feels that people best respond not to problems but to the solutions to those problems, and that they want to take part in positive change. “Once they go, ‘Wait a minute, there are solutions to these problems out there that really work, they’re practical and they makes sense to me,’ people will

pony up for that,” he says. It seems that Damon’s own desire to make a positive impact has taken precedence over the doubts of any naysayers. He’s begun to embrace his role as an international change-maker and is choosing to use his celebrity capital where it has the most leverage – in giving a voice to issues that matter. He’s even mocked his philanthropic persona in a guest appearance on HBO’s Entourage, where he appeared as himself hounding lead character Vincent Chase to donate to a charity. He seems to be saying, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” and is more than happy to poke fun at himself if it swings the attention back to issues of importance. continued on page 41 positiveimpactmagazine.com


“ I can’t think of any more important value to instill in our children than the desire to help others. I feel strongly about setting an example for them. Real problems can

be solved by the next generation if we instill in them the right values.”

From top (clockwise): Matt visits children in an at-risk community, who collect dirty water from an open well. Boy drinking clean water in Ethiopia. Children at new school tap in Honduras. Haitian children wash with POSITIVEIMPACT MAGAZINE clean, safe 40water.

COVER | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT continued from page 39

Sample water from Borehole in Ghana.

“Damon believes that the lack of clean water underpins a host of other issues – disease, poverty and even women’s rights in developing countries.”

Yordanos from Ethiopia holding his unsafe drinking water.

A Determined Damon

The father of four daughters, Damon is especially aware of the importance of the next generation. He works closely with ONEXONE – www.onexone.org - a charity that protects our most valuable resource by committing to improving the lives of children around the world. They focus their efforts on the five areas that create a child’s overall wellbeing: water, hunger, healthcare, education and play. Damon and ONEXONE’S visionary founder, Joelle Berdugo Adler, seem to be kindred spirits with a similar philosophy. “I promised myself that I would make it my life’s work to encourage every single person that ONE BY ONE we could promote the philosophy that every single life was infinitely precious and, as importantly, ONE single individual has the power to make a profound

and sustainable change in the lives of others,” she says. That notion, that each of our efforts matter, is still the fire that keeps Damon’s philanthropic passion burning. He told Parade magazine, “I can’t think of any more important value to instill in our children than the desire to help others. I feel strongly about setting an example for them. Real problems can be solved by the next generation if we instill in them the right values.” While some may still roll their eyes at the idea of a celebrity out to change the world, Damon seems to have risen above such petty observations. Partnering with those of like mind seems to be one of the secrets to his charitable success story. Joey Adler reflects on his involvement with ONEXONE: “Personally, there are very few others I have met in life whose humility, humanity and incredible commitment to their fellow human being is greater. I am honored and privileged to know such a kind and generous man.” Another organization close to Damon’s heart is Water.org. Surprisingly, this fundamental resource is not available to everyone. Damon believes that the lack of clean water underpins a host of other issues disease, poverty and even women’s rights in developing countries. He tells The Atlantic: “Six years ago, when I was starting to learn this issue, that was one of my big takeaways, how interconnected it all was, the giant role that water and sanitation played in all of this.” It’s estimated that a child in a developing world dies of a water-related illness every 20 seconds – yet this loss is entirely preventable. continued on next page

Gary White at the pipeline construction site in Ethiopia.

In the developed world, water is a given. Not so around the world, where every day nearly a billion people struggle without safe water. Water.org is dedicated to solving this crisis. In 2009, Damon and social entrepreneur Gary White merged their organizations, H2O Africa and Water Partners, to form Water.org. As co-founder, Matt is actively involved. Water. org works hand in hand with local partners to provide access to clean water and pioneers innovative solutions to deliver permanent change. To date, Water.org has reached nearly a million individuals. $25 can change one life, forever. (see ad on page 58.)

Inauguration of a well in Haiti.



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Proven technology for making dirty water clean has existed for more than a century. The challenge now is utilizing that technology in ways that will work for each of the varied communities around the world. That’s why Damon teamed up with Gary White, a civil

engineer with expertise in water systems, to create Water.org in 2009. The two are hoping that the powerful combination of scientific innovation and celebrity clout will be just the trick to get things done. The strength of their plan lies in the belief that local involve-

ment is crucial for the creation of long-term solutions. For only $25, someone can have water for life – and they’re working diligently to provide access to safe water and sanitation for communities all across Africa, South Asia, Central America and Haiti.

Shining a Light Damon seems intent upon focusing the power of the Hollywood spotlight on more important things than personal publicity. His philanthropic efforts reach out across numerous platforms – their only commonality, meeting an urgent need. Some of Matt’s other charitable associations are:

Not On Our Watch

Feeding America

ONE Campaign

Tonic Mailstopper

Founded with fellow heavy hitters George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt, David Pressman, and Jerry Weintraub - the group has made it their mission to draw upon the powerful voices of artists, activists, and cultural leaders to protect the vulnerable, marginalized and displaced. They speak for those who often cannot speak for themselves. The considerable press attention they generate provides the perfect platform for making the plight of the less fortunate more visible to those who can help put a cease to these atrocities.

Although the United States is known as the “land of opportunity,” it’s estimated that 49 million Americans, that’s one out of every six, still struggle with hunger. In an effort to bring awareness to this fact, Damon has rejoined old pal Ben Affleck to record a series of PSA’s. The organization‘s mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks that distribute over 3 billion pounds of food a year. It is the largest organization focused on hunger relief in the U.S. and Damon is a celebrity partner.

Geared towards fighting AIDS and poverty across the world, ONE consists of people from every walk of life, united as one. The organization takes a stand for the more than one billion people around the world who live on less than a dollar a day. They’re actively working for legislation to allocate more funds to basic needs like health, education, clean water and food. “The more I learn, the more empowered I feel. We really can solve these things. It’s exciting,” says Damon.

By halting junk mail we can reduce wasted paper and prevent the unnecessary chopping down of trees. Damon was immediately drawn to this worthwhile green initiative and talked about it on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007. “It was a gift given to me this past holiday season and I was so impressed that I’m now on the board of the company” he said. For a one-time fee of $20, not only can you stop the influx of junk mail that comes into your home, but Tonic Mailstopper will plant a tree as well.




Instead of focusing on the problems, Damon chooses to seek solutions. It’s an empowered approach that encourages us to not only open our hearts but also to offer our hands toward making tangible improvements in the world around us. In the end, Damon believes that our greatest saving grace lies in the fundamentals of our basic human nature. “When you have an earthquake or a tsunami it’s a simple message: People see suffering on a very large scale and people respond…people are generous, and I believe that is going to save the day,” he said. In a world where we revere our celebrities simply because of their fame, Matt Damon may actually be an individual worthy of all the attention. His concern, compassion and contributions shine a much-needed light upon some of life’s darkest crevices – and that may make him the brightest star of all.



Happy children in Haiti.


www. maiapparel com



MIND, BODY & SPIRIT One man’s journey to the golden age

By Julie Starke Photos Courtesy of Capponi Group

Top: Michael Capponi at Puma Pumka in Bolivia. Some Archeologists, professors and authors argue this city could perhaps be the oldest found reminisce of our civilization dating it as far back as 17,000 years old. Below: Sylvester Stallone and Michael Capponi, early ‘90s; Krissy Taylor, Michael Capponi and Liv Tyler, early ‘90s


n a world made of opposites, none is more apparent than the paradox of a man who lives with one foot in the world of nightclubs and multi-million dollar properties and the other deeply embedded in third world countries and spiritual retreats. A precarious balance of ego and spirit, this is a man who possesses a deep sense of mindfulness, yet a twinkle often escapes his eye, and a perpetual smirk rests on his face. One wonders whether he has a secret lurking deep inside, the truth of which is only accessible to the most astute. Michael Capponi, a name synonymous with Miami since the early days of surf and sun, is a permanent fixture on the South Beach social scene. Long 44


before art deco buildings dotted the landscape and celebrities chose slivers of paradise to call their own, he was a name to know and, as time passed, he secured a status that would morph him into “the Prince of South Beach.” Stories have been written of his beginning, countless articles about his early rise to fame and his quick yet hard fall from grace. It is no secret that he had way too much, way too soon, and it catapulted him into destruction. His life, in many ways, has always been on public display. He is not ashamed of it; rather he speaks of it with honesty and an understanding that communicates his evolution. His is a story of redemption, yet he possesses a quiet acceptance of what had to happen

feature | MICHAEL CAPPONI to put him in this unique place – one that has made him supremely qualified to understand both growth and decay and to excel in the world of extremes. It is apparent that his is a purposeful life, a life he has been privileged to live, but one that also indicates that the best is truly yet to come. He is a sharer of both wealth and information. It is easily apparent that he has an abundance of both. Michael Capponi with president Barack Obama at the Fillmore on Miami Beach.

connecting for a cause Capponi’s world is made up of a myriad of events: million-dollar real estate deals, celebrity attended fundraisers and world-class travel. He understands connecting people and building things, and he shows his expertise in both his business acumen and empowerment missions. He also understands that unless you truly connect to a cause, you don’t really have a relationship with it. This all adds up to a bigger vision for Senate reform that would qualify nonprofits based on the level of revenue given to the cause. But that’s another story for another day and one that will take time. For now, this mover and shaker is moving and shaking because the world, in his perspective, is running out of time. Now lest you see that as a “sky is falling” voice or just another recourse of doom and gloom, think again. This is a guy who is quick to respond to disaster, one who isn’t the least bit afraid of the future, and one who pays the utmost attention to the details, showing ingenuity and purpose in all of his work.

There is excitement for the evolution he is witnessing, and Capponi feels that we are on the cusp of massive global change. It’s his personal quest to press forward, supporting the world in its awakening and helping bring humanity to a new level of connectedness. “If this were a school and we were given a report card, our remarks would read ‘failed to unite,’ ” he confidently reports. “Humanity is on a treadmill. Currently there is a small percentage of people that help others, but until we realize that we are all in this together and begin to help one another, nothing will change. We must gradually accentuate the unity portion of everything. If we do that, we have a shot.” That’s what this Miami mogul is up to – uniting people in a way that levels the playing field, promotes connection and innovation, and creates lasting change. He unequivocally believes it is our duty to help other human beings and is out to prove just how feasible this idea is – starting with the people in Jacmel, Haiti.

“If this were a school and we were given a report card, our remarks would read ‘failed to unite.’” Photo: The Great Thanksgiving Feast at Miami Rescue Mission.

Capponi, Boca Raton Mayor Whelchel and President & CEO of Capponi Construction Group, Kenneth J.Gross, at the Capponi Construction Group & Douglas Elliman Boca Raton launch event

EMPOWERING a CULTURE When Capponi landed in Haiti just days after the devastation, he was not prepared for what he was to witness. Armed with paramedics, he dove in and, in typical Capponi fashion, took charge. Or so he thought. In reality, a simple seed was planted, and he found a level of connectedness he had yet to experience. It’s this connection that led Capponi, along with Donna Karan and others, to help create an economically viable model for the people of Haiti to thrive. They are enabling what they know to be workable businesses for the area – namely art and tourism – and teaching the people of Jacmel to manage their own economic base. As Capponi says, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Sustainability, for me, adds up to the ability to sustain. It’s just that simple.” Capponi is willing to bet that his model will work – whether it’s farming for food in developing parts of the world or a clean-water well in Nairobi – most just need the tools to get the job done. With his beliefs that we are all in this together and what happens to one, happens to us all, Capponi is sure that the world is capable of coming together for humanity’s sake. He has been a part of such events and has already been touched by the heart of humankind.

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MIND, BODY & SPIRIT continued from page 45

“The most beautiful story of Haiti that I have ever seen in my life – and not reported on CNN – is that by day seven there must have been 100 countries there. Libya had a plane there, Venezuela…Egypt…Japan…every country sent all these groups of people – Israel had a center there. It was incredible. And a great model of how the world can come together when these types of situations happen. What’s sad is that disaster is the only time the world seems to come together.”

A TSUNAMI OF THE SOUL Take Capponi, for example. The rise and fall within his own life is a microcosm of what happens to the world when a cataclysmic event touches it. He fell from grace, and others gathered to help. The tsunami that ripped apart Sri Lanka or the earthquake that destroyed Haiti are just as devastating to the world as a debilitating disease or losing a loved one is to an individual. So, in essence, the person is but a microcosm of the world – and vice versa. The idea that disaster can unite is both disturbing and captivating. If each event in our lives is designed to teach, to help us grow and evolve, and to become closer to “the source of all that is,” it stands to reason that the same idea of evolution applies to us as the whole of humanity. That enlightenment comes from serving and helping – the micro infecting the macro in unseen ways. That this is, indeed, what makes civilization evolve and grow. If so, events will occur to help that evolution. If disaster and crisis are the way to unite and evolve, then disaster is what we will get. “Based on history it appears we are on the cusp of major change. It’s like a wake-up time on planet Earth or we may just get ‘tsunamied out’ – whether that is a psychological exercise for humanity or whether it is literally happening. In the meantime, we can go one of two ways: We can forget about it by sinking deeper into denial or get in touch with what we can do about it” says Capponi.



He points to history as a way to help us navigate the often times turbulent waters of existence and points to “The Golden Age” as a period of unrivaled intellectual activity, great peace, prosperity and happiness. In short, the age of Truth and Enlightenment. On one side of it was “the fall” and on the other “the rise.” Ancient prophecy suggests that this always occurs after the material age. It is this idea that has captivated Capponi and led him, and others, to explore the possibility that we are on the edge of entering a”Golden Age” in our own evolution. “It hit me like a ton of bricks,” says Capponi. “I was in possession of just about everything – except myself.”

direct cause and effect. In his mind, the evidence is clear to support a gigantic shift in consciousness and one that is supported by the archaeological and geological records of our planet.

THE SCIENCE OF CONNECTION Today, quantum physics and string theory teach us that we are all intertwined and that the universe is an ocean of connectedness. Many believe we are at a crossroads in modern civilization, where science, spirituality and religion all converge into the same message. Renowned physicist John Hagelin, PhD, helps us to understand our progress in physics over the past quarter-century. “What we’ve discovered at the core basis of the universe…is a single universal field of intelligence which unites the so-called particles of nature – quarks, electrons, neutrons…and it’s a mathematical tour de force,“ writes Hagelin. “Planets, trees, people, animals are all just waves of vibration of this underlying unified string theory. We’re really united at our core, and ultimately the understanding is emerging that there is only one consciousness in this room, and it is you, and it is me, and it is each and every one of us…and knowing that, knowing that through experience, is called enlightenment and has been called enlightenment through the ages.” Understanding that we are all made of the same fabric is just the beginning for many. Capponi believes the pendulum swings proportionately in both directions and that each of our actions has a

Top: Adonis Garcia, Capponi and 117 doctors, nurses, nuns and paramedics on one of the first commercial charter flights into Port-Au-Prince, January 18, 2010. Bottom: Capponi and Miami Beach firefighters in front of director Michael Bay’s plane, which generously volunteered to drop off more medical supplies for Project Medishare on the ground in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

“As soon as people start to realize that we’re all cast from the same mold... we’re all made from the same substance, connected to the same energy, you will actually start looking at people the same as you. And that is where and when we can truly begin to unite.”



“When you actually start looking at people as the same as you...that is when we can truly begin to unite.� Top: Michael with Haiti Empowerment Mission students, 2011-2012 school year. Left: Capponi and matriarch of Haiti Empowerment Mission transitional village in Haiti. Right: Capponi with Sanjay Gupta discussing the tragic 2010 earthquake, outside the general hospital in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

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PAST AND PRESENT Photo 1. Michael Capponi and guide Jaime Vasquez from the Quechuan tribe in Cusco, Peru. One of Earth’s most mysterious and astonishing sacred sites.


Photo 2. Capponi in front of the Sacsayhuaman ruins. The lumps on the bottom of the stones are formations seen repeatedly, making it obvious the stones did not come from the quarries in that fashion. Photo 3. Temple of Three Windows – The stones fit so perfectly that no blade of grass or steel can slide between them. There is no mortar. They often join in complex and irregular surfaces that would appear to be a nightmare for the stonemason.


Photo 4. This is the site of ancient Corinth. It was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (5000 BC–3000 BC), and flourished as a major Greek city from the 8th century BC until its destruction by the Romans in 146 BC. Corinth was conquered by Philip II of Macedon in 338 BC. After Philip was assassinated, Alexander the Great immediately came to Corinth to meet with the confederacy and confirm his leadership. Later, Corinth was partially destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC, but in 44 BC it was rebuilt as a Roman city under Julius Caesar.


Apostle Paul visited Corinth in the 50s AD. In this time, Roman Corinth prospered more than ever and may have had as many as 800,000 inhabitants. It was the capital of Roman Greece, equally devoted to business and pleasure. In these ruins, Apostle Paul would try to preach to people consumed with sex and materialism. Corinth, being the land of excess of this time, was the only place Apostle Paul basically failed in spreading the gospel.

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Eastern philosophy points to the ability to “tune in to our true nature,” Capponi shares. “You go deep inside yourself…meditate, smell, listen, feel… get in touch with nature…when you get in touch with your authentic self, you don’t want to hurt it any more. The way I see it, all life exists for attention. We are either getting attention for pulling things apart or for putting things together. It’s a choice. I choose together.” The idea behind this attitude is essentially rooted in being in touch with your inner self. If you are sensitive and in tune, not only are you more sensitive to others, you will probably look at a human being as more equal to you. You will respect them more, not argue as much, not talk down to them and in the end, you may even want to help them. That is the basic idea behind the spiritual path Capponi has been traveling for quite some time. It is one that has taken him on a journey through Peru, Mesoamerica, Bolivia, Turkey, Greece, Belize, Guatemala and all points in between in search of the truth. It is a path meant to include – not exclude, divide or make others wrong and it is one that Capponi believes is ultimately universal in nature. He hints at the need for more inclusion and less exclusion and offers hope that we will find more acceptance as we begin to understand that all religions offer us connection to a source greater than ourselves.

A TIME TO UNITE Michael Capponi keeps returning to the same mantra: The world needs you to UNITE. “I am suggesting that as we become more connected and feel less of a sense of separateness as human beings, it becomes natural to help one another out. This isn’t rocket science.”

Many scholars, historians and researchers have come together to explore the rise and fall of ancient civilizations as well as their bearing on the rise of the modern era. It is ultimately a search for truth and one Capponi believes can help us understand where we are on the continuum of life.

feature | MICHAEL CAPPONI Capponi has some ideas. Since his ultimate goal is to connect the dots within himself and subsequently unite all of his external worlds, he is now shepherding in a couple of potential solutions. One is his mission of Global Empowerment, which he is demonstrating through his work in Haiti; another is to create a universal desire for giving that will cross all societal boundaries; and another is the culmination of all that Capponi is, was and will be. He calls it the Global Enlightenment Foundation.

The study of ancient civilizations can guide us to a enlightened level of awareness. Capponi is excited to be partnering on these missions with his lifelong friend David Kennedy and considers it yet another sign of having come full circle. David, the son of former Miami mayor Dave Kennedy, is someone Capponi always looked up to while growing up in South Florida. Having traveled the world as a full-time professional surfer through the 80s, Kennedy has since spent the better part of his days merging best practices from lessons learned in the ocean and his inner life with the world of commerce. A devoted practitioner of yoga since 1980, he has been on the ground floor as both a principal and as an advisor to many brands that have sought to make a difference. From high-profile global yoga teachers and authors to apparel brands such as prAna clothing, and most recently transformational festivals such as Wanderlust, David has set out to create new paradigms for learning by combining business acumen with a unified world view. It appears this is what Capponi has already done in his own life, and David Kennedy, his newly appointed foundation director, is right there beside him. “Michael is a connector – a neural node in the fabric. He looks around, sees what is the obvious next step and gets real about it. That is the basis of his whole life.” And Kennedy knows Capponi’s life well. “This is his crazy, powerful, wonderful

story,” says Kennedy. “Michael found the thread that pulls us together and is now compelled to bring conversations from the edge into the mainstream. The global initiatives that he has committed to will search for the obvious instead of the miraculous.” After all, this is where Capponi lives – in the real world, doing real work. So in the end, both Capponi and Kennedy believe that it is time for a new paradigm and that each of us has a role to play in this shift of consciousness. It is their desire to be a part of the movement going forward that creates relevant context for this generation as well as the next, so that we may learn how to unite and rise up to our highest potential.

Their most recent venture, Satya Yuga Productions, seeks to do just that by bringing paradigm-shifting speakers and world musicians to new audiences.” This is about building bridges where there were once none,” says Kennedy. “We want to create environments where creativity and resources can meet and mingle, out of which things can happen!” “I feel blessed, lucky to be alive in one of the major turning points in recorded history,” says Michael Capponi. “I have a choice to be a part of the problem or be a part of the solution. I choose the latter.”

Michael, Donna Karan and Charles Forbin at Capponi’s 40th birthday celebration at Capitale in NYC.

“This is about building bridges where there were once none.” - David Kennedy Right: Haitian artist Philipe Dodard, Capponi and Venus Williams at Art Basel Miami, Haiti Art Expo 2010 Bottom: Michael and David Kennedy at a farmers market in San Diego, getting ready for the solor eclipse and his re-birth ceremony.




Unity in the Family Fostering Healthy Qualities in our Children

“In our busy lives, it is essential to spend time together as a family.”


t is no secret that the family unit has a major impact on the development of children. The family environment is where children first develop their core values and their overall sense of security and self-worth. We all want our children to develop confidence and character. What steps can we take to cultivate these qualities in our own families? According to research done by the U.S. Health and Human Services on successful families, there are specific structural and behavioral attributes that characterize successful families:

• communication • encouragement of individuals • expressing appreciation • commitment to family • religious/spiritual orientation • social connectedness • ability to adapt • clear roles • time together



By Dr. Kim E. Costello

In order to successfully foster the qualities we want to encourage in our children, families need to develop a mutual understanding for one another and be nurturing and empathetic toward one another. There needs to be a deep appreciation for each member of the family as an individual and what their specific character qualities are – and how those qualities can be successfully used within the family unit. In our busy lives, it is essential to spend time together as a family, and each person in the family needs to spend time alone to re-develop and establish themselves.

U nderstanding nurturing i ndividuals t ime y ourself Parents also need to take time for themselves and their relationship. They need to set time aside for a date night and make the time to have intimate communication. Children need to spend time with one another as siblings. They need to play with one another and learn to connect. Developing strong sibling relationships benefits children by showing them how to develop future positive relationships outside the family.

In my private practice, I also emphasize that parents spend time individually with each child. Children really benefit from spending time alone with their parents without the presence of siblings. This is special time that is cherished and provides a unique opportunity for connection and communication. Encourage family members to pursue interests and activities that are rejuvenating and provide opportunities for personal growth and enjoyment. The old expression says, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” Each person taking time for himself or herself encourages strength within the family unit as a whole and allows for the development of clear roles, self-expression and personal-growth.




Balancing Act Finding time for family and career By Sandra Meyer • Photo by David Henry Williams


sk most women what is missing in their lives, and they will probably answer “balance.” Achieving a home/work balance is a major challenge for women who work outside the home. It’s easy to feel torn when extra hours at work detract from time with family. Yet if the scale is tipped high on the family side, success at work can be tough. How do we find a way to balance the scale and reap the rewards on both sides?

Sandi Sullivan of Tampa, Florida, has found a solution. After many years of putting in 60+-hour workweeks, Sullivan realized that climbing the corporate ladder didn’t mesh with her life at home with two young children. She knew there had to be better ways to earn a good income yet have time to commit to her family. Sullivan’s decision to leave the corporate world came when a business associate asked for her opinion on a home business idea. “I was already discouraged in my career and would never have considered a business of my own,” she shares. After reviewing the home business information, Sullivan says, “I felt exhilarated. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, and that is what gave me the courage to make plans to leave the corporate world.” Sullivan began her search for the right opportunity and founded MomCeo.com in 2004. Applying her business knowledge, she was able to team up with a major manufacturer and create a thriving business that helps other women achieve their goals. She says the concept came to her because she had a distinct idea of the demographic she wanted to reach: moms who want to be home with their children but not limited in



“I love being lifted up through lifting up others.” their income potential. “At MomCeo, you can be the mom you want to be—your own boss—with the earning potential of a CEO,” Sullivan says. Now instead of being at the office before sunrise and missing out on important family events, Sullivan works a 20-hour workweek and is able to support her children and attend school events and extracurricular activities. She also found time to travel with her husband and volunteer within her community. Sullivan has indeed achieved a life balance and did not have to sacrifice her income to do it. Sullivan has the full support of her family in her business endeavor. “My husband is my biggest fan,” she says. In addition to her family, many people have helped Sullivan accomplish her goals, including business partners, friends and colleagues, whom she says, “have no financial interest in my success yet celebrate my achievements.” Sullivan has found prosperity in her financial and personal life, and she has also realized an added bonus: the joy of assisting other women in achieving the balance she has found. “To get ahead, I must team up and help others. My corporate experience was not anything like that. I am so excited to watch people’s lives be enhanced before my eyes both emotionally and financially. I love being lifted up through lifting up others.” Sullivan wants women who feel trapped in their careers or guilty for missing out on their children’s lives to know that there is another way. “You need to first dream it, have a vision of a life you want, and start to speak it as if you already achieved it.”


For more information on Sandi Sullivan and MomCeo, visit www.positiveimpactmagazine.com.


wallacejnichols creating conversation


“I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, and that is what gave me the courage to make plans to leave the corporate world.”

around all things blue

www.bluemarbles.org contact J for your next event. start the conversation.


With their reddish-brown hair (not fur), orangutans boast brains and beauty.

Center for Great Apes

A Home for the Most Intelligent Animals On Earth By Laura Watts Photos courtesy of Center For Great Apes

“The Center for Great Apes is a sanctuary in central Florida, established nearly 20 years ago, that provides long-term care for orangutans and chimpanzees – once performers in circuses, movies and advertisements or kept as private pets – that now need a permanent home.”


rangutans and chimpanzees are two of the most intelligent animals on earth. Humans have studied them in captivity and taught them to understand our language and to speak sign language. Some have even been taught to work on computers, perform math skills and read a map.



They are not monkeys, as some people think, but are primates known as great apes. What’s the difference? Apes have no tails, larger bodies, higher intelligence and can walk upright. In their native habitats, they live in jungles and rainforests and adapt their lives in the wild to the demands of their environ-

ment. Chimpanzees originate in Africa, and orangutans are found on only two islands in the world: Borneo and Sumatra. Chimpanzees are extremely social apes that live in large groups or communities in the wild. Infants are dependent on their mothers, nursing for five years and staying close for eight or nine years


An elevated, 3,500-foot tunnel system meanders through the property, giving the apes great freedom.

as juveniles. They learn social and survival skills from their elders much the way humans do through childhood and adolescence. They can live for more than 50 years and keep close family bonds throughout their lives. Chimpanzees are very adept at tool use, and wildlife researchers have discovered that chimps have cultural differences in different areas of Africa. Some use branches to reach into termite mounds for tasty snacks, and other groups use rocks to crack opens nuts. Chimpanzees travel through the jungle looking for fruits, roots, insects and sometimes small animals. Orangutans are far less social than chimpanzees, though equally intelligent, and some researchers believe that orangutans are the most intelligent of all the great apes. They also stay with their mothers as youngsters, for up to 10 years, and are not considered full-grown adults until 18 or 20 years of age. They have beautiful reddish brown hair (not fur) and are the largest tree-dwelling animals in the world. Once a young male orangutan develops cheekpads, at around 16 years, he begins

to become more solitary, staying away especially from other adult males. The big males (250 to 300 pounds) spend their days traveling through trees, looking for fruit to eat and females to court. They have an amazing vocalization – a “long call” – which they bellow out in the rainforest to let other male orangutans know their territory boundaries … and to let the available females know it’s time for romance! Because of apes’ intelligence and human-like appearance and abilities, they have been used for decades in the entertainment industry, trained to do tricks and wear clothes, as well as for exotic pet trade. Once they’ve been taught to be more human than ape, they cannot be reintroduced to the wild in Africa or Borneo. Since they are too strong to interact safely with humans, they need appropriate care for the rest of their lives – sometimes for more than 60 years. The Center for Great Apes in central Florida provides a space that respects and cares for these creatures, where they can live their lives in a safe, healthy and enriching environment. The Center was established nearly 20 years ago, after founder Patti Ragan spent several months volunteering at a rehabilitation project for wild orangutans in the rainforests of Borneo. At the sanctuary, they learn once again to live with their own species in large enriching habitats with good nutrition and health care. An elevated aerial chute system more than one mile long runs throughout the forested property to connect all 16 habitats. This allows the apes to go out in the chutes and walk around the sanctuary to visit other areas, apes and people. The Center for Great Apes is not open to the public as an attraction or zoo, but members and supporters are invited to attend special visitation days or to schedule private tours of the grounds. The sanctuary spans more than 100 acres and provides a home for more than 40 great apes. For more information on the sanctuary and how to get involved, visit www.positiveimpactmagazine.com.

Chimpanzees (top) and orangutans (middle and bottom) are not monkeys; they are primates known as great apes.





© Timothy Hiatt, Getty Images Entertainment


Making Childhood Dreams a Lifelong Reality By Rachel Schaeffer


illie Nelson truly “Rocks the Earth.” This year, the 78-yearold country music legend— whose career spans over 60 years, with thousands of songs written and over 200 albums recorded—was presented with the Planet Defender Award by “Rock the Earth,” an environmental organization who partners with the music industry. “I’m happy we share a love of music and the environment and use those passions to make the world a better place for generations to come,” said Nelson in his acceptance speech. Nelson’s philanthropic efforts date back to 1985, when he and fellow musicians John Mellencamp and Neil Young (Dave Matthews joined later on in 2001) created Farm Aid—a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping family farmers on their land. One of the extraordinary features of Farm Aid is its annual fundraising concert with the same name—the longest running benefit concert series in America. As Founder and Board President, Nelson’s commitment to the cause for the past 27 years is relentless and evident in the astounding $39 million they have raised promoting family farmers and raising awareness about the plight of these unsung heroes of American soil. Family farming in America is still a crisis. Due to economic pressure, US farmers are often pushed off their land and replaced by big factory farms. Farm Aid’s website encourages folks to take action to support family farmers, to protect our food quality and the environment. “Family farmers work to protect the soil, water, and biodiversity in

addition to producing high-quality, healthy food for everyone.” All great creations begin as seeds. The seed for Farm Aid was sown at the Live Aid concert—created to provide relief for the ongoing Ethiopian famine in 1985. On stage, Bob Dylan said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we did something for our own farmers right here in America?” Farm Aid had a mere a six-week gestation period, and was ushered into being on September 22, 1985 by Nelson, Mellencamp and Young. Nelson’s long-standing commitment to America’s family farmers earned him induction into the Agricultural Hall of Fame last year. Farm Aid’s executive director Carolyn Mugar remarked, “Willie has said he realized early on that playing the guitar was a heck of a lot easier than being a farmer. The family farmer has never had a better friend than Willie Nelson; he has worked tirelessly to stand up for family farmers and the good food we all want.” This past year, Nelson and others at Farm Aid asked White House officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help farmers who have been forced to finance their farms on high-interest credit cards or personal loans. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency proposed a new rule to help farmers by creating a micro-loan program for up to $35,000. What led Nelson to become a voice for family farmers? Growing up in Abbott, Texas during the Great Depression, Nelson was raised by his grandparents. He picked cotton in the summer and found it to be difficult work. He also raised pigs for the Future Farmers of

America. Singing and music was his deep calling from an early age. Nelson’s grandpa gifted him with a guitar at age six, and he disliked cotton picking so he made money singing in dance halls and other venues from age thirteen on. Having been honored with nearly every imaginable award a musician can win, Nelson has also earned recognition as an actor, author and a humanitarian and environmental activist. Known for his legendary ballads and albums to numerous to name all. The song “Crazy”, album “Red Headed Stranger” and “Stardust,” Nelson advocates for the reduction of gas emissions and is the mastermind behind Willie Nelson Sustainable Bio-diesel (Willie Nelson Bio-diesel also known as “Bio-Willie”)— bio-fuel for truck stops made from vegetable oil. At present, two sustainable bio-diesel plants exist in Oregon and Texas. His bio-diesel fuel-powered bus named after one of his many movies, Honeysuckle Rose IV, is powered by Bio-Willie. His home in Maui, Hawaii is solar powered. Nelson is recognized as an Honorary Trustee of the Dayton International Peace Museum and in 2010, was awarded the Feed the Peace award from The Nobility Project for his extensive contribution to agriculture and for his active role in world peace. Like his range in music—including country, outlaw country, country rock, reggae, blues, jazz and folk, Nelson also has a wide scope of causes for which he contributes his time and talents. The year before he founded Farm Aid, Nelson sang on the extraordinarily

continued on next page positiveimpactmagazine.com


LIVING TREASURES continued from page 57

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popular “We are the World” album. He is a significant voice in support of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and just this past Spring, supported the Occupy Wall Street Movement—protesting against financial greed and economic and social inequality by being a part of the “Occupy This Album.” His success and dedication in all arenas just seems to be part of him, much like his beloved battered old Martin guitar he affectionately calls “Trigger.” It seems that being a steward of the land and many other causes are a part of him as well. One could imagine the Earth herself at the top of the list in “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” and continues to love. If the Earth could vote, surely she would vote for Nelson who has tirelessly kept her, as his ballad is titled “Always on my Mind.”

Rock on, Willie!

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Putting the 20/20 Plan to WorkBy Dr. Michael DeVito

“Everybody has a dream” – Billy Joel

So let’s get busy!

mental health



physical health

a meaningful life well-lived financial

service to others

A few ground rules for designing your mission:

e lh ta men FAMILY ~


e have all experienced being in a rut. I see mine like walking through WW-1 trenches.….hard to see where you are going and there is danger in popping your head up above the ground. So we keep aimlessly walking...keeping our heads down. It’s safe….gets you nowhere. The rut is perhaps the surest sign that you are NOT on track towards a meaningful life. Use the 20/20 plan for GOOD. Don’t use the plan for more efficient Rut-work…….we are getting you OUT of the rut…. not trying to function better within the rut. What is your Dream? Do you dare to define it and speak it? We all share the Dream of a meaningful life….a life that contributes to all the good in the world. Each of us will have our own personal version; this is the beauty of a diverse humanity.


Fertile Ground

Think BIG - Yes, you can change the world, one little piece at a time…start with the person you see in the mirror. Be part of the solutions for the issues around you, not part of the problems. One caution here, you can do anything you dream...but you can’t do everything you dream. It is a process of narrowing your focus until you gain clarity of your primary purpose. This is a long-term process, a journey. As with any journey, you will need guiding benchmarks along the way. Road signs that reinforce that you are on track. These will be the “GIVE, GET, BE and DO” we will work with later. Turn off the Autopilot - Your true core, heart’s desire is rarely the first thing that comes to mind. Our first thoughts are usually “rut-generated”….desires built on the frustrations of our routine, changes that appear to offer quick






“Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find a thousand regions in your mind yet undiscovered” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

.e .






Get. . Be. .

.. Do

relief to the pains of the day. (Quit my job, win the lottery) Quiet reflection is needed to clear the fog of our daily habits. Be Careful what you fill your head with - Your dream must be free from the influence of the marketing demons that surround us. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements whose products will (we are assured) quell our perceived pains and lacks. In the book Quiet, Susan Cain relates a concept of the “pain of independence”. From 2005 research by Gregory Berns discussing how people will conform to avoid the pain of group disapproval. You will encounter this….welcome it. Remember….we are looking for YOUR dream...what feeds YOUR soul...not what serves the purposes of the latest trends & sales. Not reality TV, not the latest techno gadget and definitely NOT what your crazy cousin is always talking about. Learn to Appreciate without possessing - Too often we are dazzled by some item, possession or lifestyle that, on the surface seems irresistible. Rarely will you find a deep soul-goal laying around in plain view sparkling like a 20 carat diamond. The world is full of amazing things….there are thousands of museums dedicated to celebrating and preserving works of humanity. Learn to appreciate the talents of our world….and also see that you needn’t possess everything that catches your eye. There is nothing wrong with owning nice things, they bring us some joy & these can bring momentary pleasure. For your goal, your mission, think more in terms of a continuous, timeless thread that runs throughout your life.

Illustration © Rolffimages, dreamstime.com






Focus on feeling - how do you feel now? What is the feeling you want to end? What is the feeling you want to achieve? Will your dream make you feel at peace? Successful? Loved? Confident? All of these? We can identify some physical things later in the process…. for now we are talking about your soul, core feeling. Possessions can be benchmarks of progress along a life path...but they are rarely the goal or purpose for the path. Our feelings are a much better guide. This can sound confusing…...I’m speaking about a very logical/right brain method to achieve very ethereal & emotional left brain desires…..using your rational brain to please your emotional brain. You will see how each has its place and, like yin and yang, work in a beautiful harmony. Look to history - Your don’t have to re-invent the wheel….just put your own spin on it. The core of humanity does not change as fast as you think. True virtues of kindness, generosity, altruism, service, empathy...these are enduring themes in the history of man. Unfortunately, there are innumerable transient follies that we can be sucked into (greed, power). Enduring value…..this is our touchstone. A revealing exercise: listen to eulogies…what would you like said at yours? I know this prep work seem onerous. It is really so important. I often hear of disillusioned 50-somethings lamenting that they have worked for years and find themselves very advanced (successful???) along a road that offers no satisfaction. I am helping you plan for a life long journey….down the right road. It’s OK to climb the ladder of success….just be sure it’s leaning against the right wall! Exercise: Start to define your dream…

Questions to ask: What do YOU want? Why do YOU want it? Is it YOUR dream or someone else’s? Imagine the feelings, can you name them? Is it a timeless desire, or just of today?



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~ Paula Schroeder

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ay the flow be my strength

and my soul be carried by the breeze I remember who I AM and remember to uplift with ease.

I AM an extreme uplifter a giver of hope and a spark to remind you there’s no such thing as failure.

Join me too and let’s be extreme beyond even to a degree our greatness is only beginning to be shown and the world is ready to know!

Seeing others shine in the Divine graceful in living and breathing embodying their light… this is my mission, my purpose in mind.

Exceedingly great in degree that is extreme and the character enjoying it that’s me!

I AM an Extreme Uplifter AND SO ARE YOU!

Poem and artwork by Ami Bowen www.bowenimagery.com



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