Monday, April 7, 2008

Reflections from LEEP 4/3/08 conference call

Do you find that sometimes when you wake up in the morning that you are just cruising along on autopilot waiting for something to kick you into overdrive? I felt exactly the same this morning until I opened my notes from the Village conference call on Thursday night and started to read through them. As you read through this you will feel again the tremendous pride in the incredible contribution that you are making to the betterment of the lives of the people of the 9th ward.

You may notice that Mack was on the call. So was Dar. And as you notice this you may notice also that they are tired. And as you continue to notice, you also find a wonderful sense of purpose that transcends any feeling of exhaustion. This sense of purpose leaves you open to experience every new development as an amazing new opportunity to bring empowerment, education and to provide new opportunites for growth to to the community. As we engage these opportunities with this incredible sense of purpose, is it possible that we begin to feel the happiness and pleasure that comes with truly being in service brings? Because as you listen to Mack and Dar talk about their experiences, the tiredness just fades away as though it is no longer needed and is replaced by an overwhelming sense of joy and peace. Do you find as I do, that the real message in their words is not the tasks that they perform but rather the fulfillment that you feel as you step up as leaders in unconditional service?

Listen to the words that Mack uses to begin the call. It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the immensity of the tasks before him but there is no hint of this in his words as he speaks in his loving and genuine way and expresses thanks for everything that has been done and for the loving support that you are providing. He tells us that this has been a life changing experience for him. It has allowed him to really examine his life and to find his true purpose. And can you feel the overwhelming sense of gratitude? He speaks of the wonder of seeing people in a way that he had been blind to in the past. Teenagers cleaning gutters and doing dirty thankless tasks with smiles on their faces. Ordinary people travelling thousands of miles to help people they don't even know and leaving for home tired and sore and as they leave they express their thanks for the opportunity of being in service and say that they will be back to do even more next time.

Historic Green estimates that they had 600 people in the community and they are planning on being back next year with even more volunteers.

Mack is meeting with another group from Mississippi who go into an area for the purpose of rebuilding 100 homes in 100 days.

Architectural plans should be ready next week and this will include applicable building permits. This was donated by the architect.

Mack says that their plans will be to take on the small activity rooms first like the kitchen, art room, music room and computer room so that they can begin providing services to the community. There will be a rush of people returning to the community over the summer so that they can have there children begin school in the fall.

Amy spoke of working an incredible artist, Purvis Young to put on exhibits in New Orleans. He will donate 15% of the proceeds to the Village. She spoke of other artists who are willing to do something similar. This is in wonderful allignment with our program to provide art activities at the Village.

Teresa spoke about preparations for her mission trip in June. The group is doing fundraising and expects to bring along a couple of thousand dollars for the use of the Village.

The people returning to the community have amazing stories of overcoming adversity. Mack spoke about capturing these on video during interviews and publishing it in either print or DVD.

75% of the elderly sre sitll displaced. There is a high level of mortality as the stress of being away and living as a displaced person is taking a constant toll. Mack has stopped reading the local paper as the obituary page has grown from 1 page to 4 pages.

Carle will follow up with the program committee about getting art supplies, computers and other items. He also has another lead for the commercial kitchen and Amy is taking the business plan to the Emeril foundation.

Amy reports that the NLP group has declared that they will each find one attendee for the Breakthrough seminar in Miami on Jun 11. The funds from this will go to support a free seminar in New Orleans.

Angie has approached a local building supply company that expressed an interest in donating a large sum but they wanted to see the business plan and the drawings first. she has a meeting set up for next week.

The village is still selling tee shirts to volunteers. They are also planning carwashes and fundrasing meals.

Historic Green donated 3 lawn mowers and 3 weed eaters. Mack will take crews of volunteers aroung the neighborhood to cut lawns. The city is threatening to fie home owners $500 per day if they don't cut their grass. He will do this for free and will give the homeowners information about the programs at the village at the same time.

Dar is working on updating the website and distributing the new brochure. She is also working on another brochure specifically for fundraising for the Village. Please help by making color copies of the brochures.

Jens Neelson who created the business plan, has donated $6000 to the Village for general use and has also donated $3000 which he earmarked for payment of salaries for Dar, Charles and Mack.

The next phases of development for the building will require cash. We will need to have a licensed contractor for the plumbing and for the wiring. Any ideas for fundrasing, no matter how small are really important.

Do you feel the sense of excitement as the project is taking on a life of its own? As it is already making a difference in reviving this community? As the community is once again beginning to feel hope? Can you see how you really can make a difference in the World. Do you feel the love and gratitude that is building in the community? Do you feel the ripples of empowerment spreading through the world?

You are amazing leaders! You have made my day!

I love you all!