John F. Kennedy Personal Mentor

On this 50th Anniversary of his death I am remembering the impact John F. Kennedy had on my life.

When President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 I had recently turned 16 (Sept. 17th). My life was in turmoil. The situation in my alcoholic home was becoming impossible. I was anxious to take charge of my own life, chart my own course and pursue my own dreams.

President Kennedy was a beacon of hope in a world filled with fear and uncertainty.

The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, made the prospect of a nuclear war real to me. Our neighbor had built a Fallout Shelter in their home and I wondered what would happen to me, my family and millions of others if there was a nuclear war. I had been told Edmonton would be a prime target because of the oil industry.

Before this, I had been captivated by President Kennedy beginning with the Presidential election in 1960. Kennedy became a personal hero based on two speeches he gave that, even today, deeply move me.

President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961 filled me with hope. It is still one of the greatest speeches I have ever heard.

He began by saying “the election was not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom”… I urge you to click the link above and listen to this masterpiece of leadership and oratory.

In the fall of 1962 at Rice University, President Kennedy gave his Moon Speech.

Talk about “shooting for the moon,” literally! This is a powerful example of sharing a vision, a challenge, and calling people to get behind it. If you have the time, click the link and hear another masterpiece of leadership and oratory.

Now, I hope you understand why I was so devastated by the assassination of President Kennedy. It was personal for me, in a way that seems irrational to me now.

I know that history has revealed that Kennedy was a womanizer and that he was chronically ill and suffered with pain. I don’t condone his breech of fidelity but it is not my place to judge him, or anyone else for personal failings. His illness and pain makes me marvel all the more at his vibrance and energy. I wonder at the strength of his calling to serve, his passion to lead and inspire.

I visited Dallas and the School Book Depository. It made me wonder what might have been… I left sad.

In 2007, I made a pilgrimage to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. It is located on a ten-acre park, overlooking the sea that he loved. President Kennedy chose the site himself a month before he was assassinated, planning for years ahead, he thought. It has three parts: a Museum, an Archive and an educational Institute.

The architect was I.M. Pei, selected by Jacqueline Kennedy. The selection was a surprise because he was a young architect and the candidates included some of the best known architects in America. I.M. Pei seemed to Mrs. Kennedy to be filled the promise, imagination and temperament that would reinforce her vision for the library. The building is stunning. Visit the John Fitzgerald Library and Museum online and see for yourself.

The visit was a very personal and emotional experience for me. The multi-media presentation had me relive part of my youth. I spent some time standing quietly in the atrium.

Ultimately, I left home, pursued and realized many of my dreams. Today, fifty years later, I am grateful for John F. Kennedy a man who, as strange as this may seem, was like a personal mentor to me. Thank you.

 

 

$24,000 In Grants Available For Alberta High Student Leadership Projects

Peer influence is powerful. But, too often it is used negatively and hurtfully. This Fall, after a very successful pilot program in Edmonton last year, the Empowering Self-Talk Initiative is being expanded to include all Alberta High Schools, .

Nobody knows more about what will help students than the students themselves. So we are reaching out to students for the answers and we will award six student proposals with $4000 each to implement their empowering self-talk program at their high school in Spring 2014.

“Twenty-Five per cent of kids who start grade 10 won’t graduate” states Larry Anderson, funder for the Empowering Self-Talk Initiative. “I was one of those kids, and when I learned to change my self talk, I changed my life.” We are reaching out to student leaders in Alberta High Schools. These student leaders are energized and motivated to change lives in their own high schools through developing and implementing innovative programs that improve the self-talk of fellow students.

All Alberta high school students are invited to submit a two-minute video proposal by November 29, 2013 about what they believe will help improve the self talk of other students in their high school and how they will implement the program in their high school. Two Selection Panels, one for the Edmonton Proposal Call, and one for the Alberta Proposal Call (outside Edmonton), will each select three proposals for a $4,000 grant, for a total of six awarded proposals, and a total of $24,000 in grants.  The awarded proposals will be announced on December 6, 2013.

For More information visit the Empowering Self Talk Website.

Mike Ryan to Receive National Award

Mike Ryan, Founder & CEO, Clean Scene

For a quarter of a century, Mike Ryan, has tirelessly and passionately worked to steer youth away from drugs, addiction and crime and to, instead, pursue a purposeful life. He has credibility. Mike was a addict and criminal himself who turned his own life around and has become a nationally recognized leader in addiction prevention, education and addict care.

The Canadian Criminal Justice Association will present Mike Ryan the 2013 Restoration Award, given to former offenders who have overcome the challenge of their past and made an exemplary contribution towards rehabilitation, restoration and a more humane and effective justice system.

The award will be presented to Mike at the 34th Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice in Vancouver, October 2-5, 2013.

Mike’s goals are first to educate and inspire the youth of Alberta to lead drug and crime free lifestyles. Secondly to reduce the stigma of addictions so that recovering addicts can become healthy and accepted members of society with productive futures.Thirdly to create a new facility to treat youth addictions and reduce the numbers waiting for treatment. Lastly to help our communities in Alberta and across our country understand the dangers facing our youth and in doing so reduce the amount of drug related crime.

I congratulate Mike on his well deserved award and thank him for his commitment to youth.

Roger Ebert | A Legacy in His Own Words

Film Reviewer Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert, the best known American film reviewer, died Thursday,  April 4, 2012, from cancer. He was 70.

He won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism, the first, and one of only three, given to a film reviewer since the category was created in 1970. In 2005, he received another honor when he became the first critic to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

After winning the Pulitzer Prize he partnered with Gene Siskel to do film reviews on television using their trade-marked “two thumps up!” They were the most influential film reviewers of their time.

His greatest legacy, in my view, are the conclusions he reached from a lifetime of living, expressed in his own words.

Roger Ebert, in his own words:

“No good film is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”

“We fought like cats and dogs, but we always loved each other.” (On his relationship with Gene Siskel)

“My newspaper job … is my identity.”

“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.”

“Years from now it is quite possible that ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ will be seen as the definitive film of the 1960s.”

“Every great film should seem new every time you see it.”

“No matter what they’re charging to get in, it’s worth more to get out.”

“To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion.”

“If you have to ask what it symbolizes, it didn’t.”

“I’ve been around a long time, and young men, if there is one thing I know, it is that the only way to kiss a girl for the first time is to look like you want to and intend to, and move in fast enough to seem eager but slow enough to give her a chance to say ‘So anyway …’ and look up as if she’s trying to remember your name.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Ebert and wife Chaz Hammelsmith

“She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she has my love, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone, which is where I seemed to be heading,” he wrote about wife Chaz Hammelsmith.

“I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.”

“I do not fear death. I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear.” (From Ebert’s book, Life Itself: A Memoir).

“…thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.”

Rest in peace Roger, thank you for your reviews and your insights.

Grade Ten Student to Perform at the Jubilee Auditorium

Emerging Artist – Daylin Jorgenson – Guest Performer 

At the Celebrate Songs of Human Condition Concert

Veteran music producer, Rob Hewes, on behalf of the Larry and Janet Anderson Philanthropies and with the support of the Victoria School of the Arts, conducted a series of songwriting workshops in the spring of 2012, at the Victoria School of the Arts.

Workshop participants each brought a song that they had composed and Hewes provided informative, critical input as well as inviting the same from all in the songwriter’s circle.  The students were thrilled at the personal attention that each received and responded positively to this unique and professional experience.  At the conclusion of the workshop series, the student participants were asked to vote for the best song created at the workshop. The song selected was The Go!, written by Daylin Jorgensen, a student who just began Grade 10 last week.

Over the summer, Rob Hewes worked with Daylin to create an orchestration and produce the song for performance and recording.

Daylin has been invited to perform The Go! at the Celebrate! Songs of the Human Condition Concert, on September 16 at the Jubilee Auditorium, as a special guest performer.

See Daylin perform The Go! and see 11 other amazing Edmonton singer songwriters perform two original songs each at the  Celebrate! Songs of the Human Condition Concert, September 16 at the Jubilee Auditorium. Tickets $20 plus service fees at Ticketmaster.ca

Concert Trailer

More Information: www.CelebrateSongwriting.com

 

Please Join Me: Attend This Concert

 

 

See and hear all of these amazing Edmonton Singer Songwriters in one concert.

Anna Beaumont | Brian McLeod | Brooke Trelenberg | Carling Hack |

Christin McCauley | Erin Mulcair | Jay Willis | Jordan Kaminski |

Martin Kerr | Rob Hewes | Roland Majeau | Susan jane Hodge

Under the direction of veteran music producer, Rob Hewes and featuring the Celebrate Band.

 

At the Spring “Off Broadway” Concert the response was overwhelmingly positive.

 

“It blew me away! A real nice variety. I loved the whole mix.”

Annemarie Petrov, Executive Director, ESO

 

“One of the best concerts I’ve seen in years!”

Tami Dowler-Coltman, Principal, Victoria School of the Arts

 

“Each artist impressed us with the quality of their music and writing. It’s uplifting.”

Neil Wilkinson, Ethics Commissioner, Alberta

 

See the concert trailer.

For more information visit the concert website.

 

This concert is 100% sponsored so that all the ticket revenue can empower youth.

100% of Ticket Revenue Donated to charities that support youth.

Youth Empowering Self Talk Initiative in Edmonton High Schools – students helping students improve their self talk supported by funding from this concert!

Youth Empowerment and Support Services – YESS, formerly Youth Emergency Shelter – awakens and empowers at risk youth by first providing safety and then fostering the healing from homelessness, abuse and addiction and by supporting job preparation and education in partnership with other agencies.

Junior Achievement – awakens and empowers youth through in-class discussion, materials and exercises about financial literacy and the economics of staying in school and through the life-changing experience of starting and running a real business in the JA Company Program.

Free the Children – Free The Children domestic programs educate, engage and empower hundreds of thousands of youth in North America and the UK to realize their full potential as agents of change. Their international projects, led by their holistic and sustainable Adopt a Village model, has brought over 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water, health care and sanitation to one million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty.

Literacy and Learning Day – Literacy and Learning Day helps parents support the education of their children by providing the insights of world renown keynote speakers (examples: Barbara Coloroso, David Bouchard) the advice of experts on a host of parenting and education challenges through workshops and other resources all for free. This enables the parents to help awaken and empower their children.

Please join me and attend. Bring some friends.

 

Celebrate! Songs of the Human Condition

Sunday, September 16, 2012 7 PM

Jubilee Auditorium

11455-87 Ave.

Tickets $20 plus service fees

Tickets available At

Ticketmaster

By phone: 1-855-985-5000

Thank you, I hope to see you there.

 

 

Literacy and Learning Day Full!

Congratulations to Wendy Keiver and the team at Literacy and Learning Day for filling their 10th Anniversary Event on April 14th. Sell Out is not the right term because parents attend free – including lunch.

For all ten years my wife Janet and I, through the Randy Anderson Learning Fund (named for my brother Randy who had dyslexia), have proudly supported this parent initiated event to provide learning and teaching resources to parents to help their children learn.

Barbara Coloroso

 Keynote, Barbara Coloroso will speak on Cyber Bullying

 David Bouchard

Keynote David Bouchard will speak on Reading: The Ultimate Cultural Challenge.

There are also a host of workshops on an variety 0f parenting and education topics. My wife and I are so proud to be associated with the dedicated Literacy and Learning Day team of leaders and volunteers. Visit their website for more information Literacy and Learning Day

My Life In Sports

I really relate to this video. I have never been much of an athlete. Fortunately, I have other talents, abilities, interests and passions. I believe we all have gifts of our own. Being supported by someone who cares about us, to discover and develop those gifts – is transformative and empowering.

 

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