Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Interview with Organizer of "iLead 2008 - Be the Change" event in D.C.

This week we will interview Catrina Marie, a senior organizer of the "iLead 2008 - Be the Change" event. Catrina is currently working on organizing this event and course for young people, in Washington DC during the first week of August 2008. We will talk to her about the event. This event includes the Youth Empowerment Seminar Plus (YES+) course.

Question:
Can you tell us what this YES+ program is about ?
Answer:
The YES+ is about bringing about belongingness in the course participants, for society. When the people get in touch with themselves and their connection with people around and with society at large, they feel a sense of responsibility towards taking a leadership role in society. They are able to make a big difference in society. Not only that, the course provides them amazing tools to eliminate stress, develop strong social and leadership skills, and heighten focus and awareness.
Question:
Would your program reduce violence and crime rate in DC ? And what other benefits would the city of DC see ? Would it also help reduce poverty, for example ?
Answer:
Yes. For example, it was found that the calming influence of simple group meditation practice reduced violent crime by over 23 percent in D.C., during an 8-week period in the summer of 1993. The YES+ program makes individuals stress-free and peaceful, and therefore the society becomes peaceful.

Question:
So, your program will help the city. How does it do for the individual ?
Answer:
Individuals who attend the course become stress-free, start doing extremely well in time management, their relationships improve and they are able to easily resolve conflicts, and they are able to study well and easily. The course is organized in a very interesting way, and it includes interactive processes and games. They gain much more awareness about their environment also.

Question:
What is so unique about your program ?
Answer:
We are at a unique time in history. People want to be stress-free and happy, feel a sense of belongingness with people around them, and much more time. But they do not know how to get there. Our program provides this through some very easy processes. The stress that people carry now is very high and this leads to problems for the individual, society and the planet. And it is at this unique time in history, that this program is the best answer.

Question:
There is a lot of interest now in your program that will help youth take on responsibility and leadership for the city of DC. How does your program accomplish that ?
Answer:
It is through a combination of ancient breathing techniques and other unique processes, and wisdom on living life. The course caters to the physical, mental, social and emotional aspects of oneself. On the physical aspect, it includes body exercises, yoga and innovative breathing techniques. On the mental aspect, it has practical knowledge and interactive processes to improve memory, concentration & focus. On hte social level, it includes experiential processes to develop problem solving strategies and social skills; Interactive processes to develop leadership and life skills; Teamwork exercises to teach cooperation and conflict resolution. At the emotional level, it includes group discussions designed to help one feel at ease in challenging situations, and increase confidence and inner strength to better handle criticism and peer pressure.


Question:
With young people so pressed for time, many feel that they do not have time to take on responsibility for society, or that their actions will not have an impact on society. What do you suggest ?
Answer:
Through our program, people become much more efficient in their time management. So, they after the program, they are able to accomplish much more in the same amount of time. Also, the program empowers young people to move from being influenced by their environment, to having an influence on their environment. We work to ensure that tomorrow's voices for peace and unity are stronger than those of violence and self-centeredness.


Question:
Where else has this program been offered before and how have the results been so far ?
Answer:
This course is being offered in a lot of areas, for example : New York, Silicon Valley in San Francisco Bay Area, Berkeley, Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, D.C, and other places. And of course, it has been offered in other countries too, like Canada, Mexico, India and others. It has helped people reduce stress, be free from negative emotions and developed leadership in them, and people take on responsibilities for their societies.

Question:
Can you tell us more about the requirements to do your program ? Can anyone go for it or is it only for young people ? What are the costs, etc ?
Answer:
The YES+ program is for young people, ages 18-30. It is typically spread over six sessions of 3–4 hours each, and is held over six days. The program costs $375, but for full-time students, the cost is $200.

Question:
How can one register for the course ?
Answer:
People can find out more, and register at http://yesplus.info/

Question:
Seems your course is offered by the Art of Living foundation, headquartered in DC. Can you tell us about this foundation ?
Answer:
The Art of Living foundation is a non-profit, volunteer based educational and humanitarian organization. It offers several courses to bring individuals knowledge and techniques to unlock their deepest potential and bring fullness to life. Its mission is to uplift society by strengthening the individual through programs that create a sense of belonging, restore human values, develop life to its full potential, and encourage people from all backgrounds, religions, and cultural traditions to come together in celebration and service. The Art of Living course is offered in more than 150 countries around the world.

Question:
Thank you very much for your time. We wish you all the best.
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