I feel very fortunate in this moment. I have been given excellent health and I have long lived in a place where I have had plenty of food, shelter and love. In addition, I have been blessed with a passion for music that has consistently brought me joy.
On the first part of the Adventure, I concentrated on travel, seeing new places and learning about the art of being full-time RVers. Now, returning to the New York area, I am learning how to combine our musical career with travel. Readers of this blog will know that it has not always been easy, but change often brings discomfort followed by learning and then, joy.
Yesterday, we went to our 5th school in the last month with a program developed with a non-profit, Theatre Within, called The John Lennon Real Love Project for Public Schools. If you want to learn more about that program, please visit www.lennonreallove.org.
Accompanying us over the last two days was board member and friend, Gary Siegel, who helped us in so many ways to facilitate the program for 2nd graders all the way up to 11th graders. Like Joe Raiola and other Theatre Within board members, this is a program that has been built with their hard work plus the money raised by generous contributors who believe in Lennon’s mission of peace, kindness, equality and love. Though Beth and I are on the ground doing the program, it would not happen without these people supporting us all along the way.
The main collaborators, of course, are the students and teachers at every school – the cowriters who reimagine John Lennon’s song, “Real Love,” as we write new lyrics and re-record the song in a single day! These kids bring me hope every time I sit in circle with them, facilitating their ideas about how to make their schools kinder, more empathetic and accepting during a time of history when it is so necessary.
In all cases, we are doing this program with schools that are “in need” in some way. Most of the schools have 95% or more of the children on a free lunch program and others have special needs. In all cases, we’re bringing this program to schools that very often NEVER receive arts-in-ed programs. Again, this wouldn’t be possible without the vision and the money raised by the team at Theatre Within.
The results speak for themselves. Every time we do this program, I see teachers and students and administrators exhibit wide confident smiles that come from work well done as a group. They know that they have no longer remained on the sidelines watching our world in its current state but put their talents and efforts towards an ideal that gives us all hope. In my opinion, this is the highest state of service that I can provide young people – just as my teachers offered it to me – the opportunity to love and learn and create all at once.