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Monday, January 2, 2012

A Time for Optimism

Happy New Year! The beginning of a New Year is always a time for optimism and an opportunity to renew our commitment to support those whom we treasure: our society's young people.

I'm excited to see the extraordinary 8th graders at Mount Tamalpais School who, along with thousands of young people across the country, are going through the Lifeplan program. Before they left for holiday, they went through the Values exercise and chose their individual top five values. Then they negotiated the class's top five, which were Love, Family/Friends, Live Your Dreams, Determination, and Diversity.

They have been working in five groups, crafting a storyboard and shooting a 60-second PSA that tells a story reflecting each group's value. The 8th graders will share these PSA's during their Lifeplan celebration at the end of the school year when they will invite their Board of Directors to come and hear their story of building a Lifeplan.

As we resume the Lifeplan "Journey of Choices, Decisions and Consequences," these young people will begin the module that helps them think about their dreams. Once they have identified a dream (I have them write it in pencil, acknowledging that it may change), they will learn about short-term and long-term goals. They will also learn about SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals.

We will then move on to concrete steps on the journey and begin thinking of those individuals they want to be on their Board of Directors. During this process, the young people will learn about networking, and how to nurture their network and Board.

I can't think of a greater way to start the year than by helping young people think about their dreams, build a thoughtful plan, and gain the real confidence from succeeding in this process.

I said the New Year is a time for optimism. My grandfather always said that, "Optimism is the only philosophy that justifies getting up in the morning." Well, more than that, it also invites us to light up the eyes of our extraordinary young people with a Lifeplan journey that will truly help them reach their dreams.

All the best,



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