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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just a Dream? Or …

So, first let me set the stage for this musing.

I have been working hard to grow the stable of investors to meet the challenge of growth for the Lifeplan Institute. We are now in over 100 sites in 9 states and have over 50 new requests for trainings to implement the Lifeplan program.

I am also eager to ensure we are leveraging the best of current and emerging technologies to support the Lifeplan program. I was fortunate to meet Mark David Milliron who is the CEO of Catalyze Learning and, for my money, this country's leading spokesperson for creating educational environments that promote critical thinking, social thinking, creative thinking and courageous thinking. He is also passionate that we cannot hold on to the "old ways" but must capitalize on new technologies and an inclusive conversation to move us forward to much more potent educational opportunities for our young people.

I am also having an animated conversation with Pat Christian who founded Hope Labs and is bringing cutting-edge technology to truly involve and empower young people no matter how challenging their circumstances. I have asked for her counsel on how to build the metaVerse™, Lifeplan's virtual university and support system for kids who have gone through the Lifeplan program. The metaVerse must be a low-tech threshold asset that allows kids to augment their lifeplan with learning assets like financial literacy, study skills, a lifetime nutrition game plan, career planning, etc. The metaVerse will also support kids' ability to use social networking to connect with their lifeplan board of directors, friends, mentors, parents and peers who have similar aspirations.

We are also blessed with legions wanting to be trained as Ninjas. All of us who are currently teaching the Lifeplan program to kids are in awe of their response. Having done this for over four decades (yes, I am old) I can honestly say this is THE most special youth development program I have ever been part of. It does everything George Lucas has advocated for over the past three decades; it's truly a contextual and cooperative learning process.

So given all this streaming through my head at light speed, I am having spirited dreams about Lifeplan! I had a dream last night that I was invited to Tiger 21, a group of very affluent and successful individuals who represent billions of investable equity. I shared the history of Lifeplan, the extraordinary needs of young people growing up in the ever-complex world, and how successful Lifeplan has been. I pointed out that absent this kind of new, innovative program, kids will be ill-equipped to matriculate to the necessary educational levels to thrive, break the connection to generational failures, and bring future leadership to business and the country.

Who knows where the next part came from, especially given that I have spent my career in the non-profit world. I shared that we have over 16 million kids in high school. Add middle school and now you are over 20 million. What if you built a business where just ten percent, or two million kids, paid $1,000 to go through the Lifeplan program? Yes, that is Two Billion Dollars.

The costs to deliver this would be well under $100 million and leave quite a profit. Donate $200 million to endow the Lifeplan work in perpetuity to ensure the remaining 80 percent can have access, and you have a real life dream come true. By the way, I augmented the argument by saying what if you had only five percent pay only $500 and you still have a $500 million revenue with expenses well under $50 million? Still a rather vibrant business enterprise. Now, if you'll allow me to be a bit more expansive (dreams are like that), what if this went off the charts and millions chose to step up and ensure their kids had access to the Lifeplan program?

The bottom line is that I hold more hope for this scenario where the private sector can move with more alacrity and speed than some huge government initiative that would smother it with an onerous bureaucracy.

Well, it's just a dream. But if I am invited to present this to Tiger 21, I promise you I will test the waters with this business model. This whole Lifeplan program development has had one extraordinary surprise after another to the point that I say a prayer every morning to just "stay out of my own way" and let it unfold.

I hope this musing finds you all well and happy. Thank you for being part of this unfolding journey for the kids in America.

All the best,


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