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March 2008
Rev. Celeste Shakti Hill

Expanding the Mind and Heart through Education
Education opens the mind and heart. It also supports greater self-awareness and self-esteem. This issue we explore education as spiritual and human journey. As you look through these articles consider what new concepts and ideas you will explore and share in 2008? As long as we are learning and sharing, we grow.
Wishing you much conscious growing, learning and sharing in 2008!
Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. -- Mary Ann Radmacher

World's Fastest Literacy Program
Is it possible to help an illiterate rural woman learn to read in a week? According to Victor Lyons, founder of Tara Akshar, it is. Lyons, a 57-year-old Briton, has a background in mental health and IT, and has created techniques that do yield such results -- when the class size is 1 or 2. Interestingly, though, when the class sizes are scaled up, they can still teach the same population how to read in a matter of 30 days, with a success rate of 90%. His organization's goal: to teach 1,000,000 by 2012. Says Lyons: "A newly literate woman gains self-esteem. She can now read the documents that banks and husbands make her sign. And she will now encourage her children to stay on at school and be literate."

The New Quest on Campus
According to recent studies, college students are seeking more substance -- and sustenance -- in the classroom than their professors are willing to offer. Findings of an ambitious and long-range study of spirituality in higher education offer an interesting window into the unspoken assumptions and expectations about what the quest for knowledge means at American colleges and universities. The initial results revealed that undergraduates are eager to explore spiritual interests and to talk about the deeper meaning and purpose of life: more than sixty percent of first-year students entering over 230 U.S. institutions of higher learning said they hoped to have an opportunity to develop their personal values, self-understanding, and maturity while at college.

A Basketball Superstar's Turning Point
NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson never forgot the inner-city Sacramento neighborhood where he grew up. In 1989, he returned to his hometown to launch a nonprofit after school program that is now his full-time passion. Why? His freshman year at University of California, Berkeley, when a professor asked how many people knew what "euphemism" meant, 31 out of 32 students raised their hands. Johnson wasn't one of them. "I just didn't think it was fair that 31 other people from all over the state - who went to different high schools - were exposed to that learning and I wasn't. It wasn't a cool feeling. So I said to myself that if I ever made it, I was going to go back to my community because I didn't want other kids to have to feel that feeling."

The Baby Academy
When Dina Abdel Wahab's son Ali was born with Down syndrome, she was unable to find a preschool to meet his needs. Children with Down syndrome do not benefit from environments where they are kept apart from mainstream society. And in Cairo, at the time, Dina had no other options for her son; if a better place was going to exist, she would have to create it herself. Determined to help Ali lead a normal life and to improve preschool education in her country, Abdel Wahab opened her own school where Ali would become the first student. The Baby Academy is now a chain of preschools for children three months to five years old. The school's child-centered philosophy is based on love, learning and play, and its curriculum is designed to inspire children to achieve their potential.

Learning is finding out what we already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers and teachers. --Richard Bach


Sacred You!
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