Reaching Out - From With-In
to Our Challenged Friends and Families – an individual en-strengthening and skills training endeavor.

Sept. 1, 2013

Project leaders: Andrew Skadberg, PhD, Sarah Ford, Sergio Nino, Desmond Green, Niels Lundsgaard, Mike Harmon, Mike Fritsch, Tom Dooley, Dan Rubano, Bob Baker, Cory Stover, John Bald, Noah Israel, Peter Braun, Ben Frederick, Ed Osenbaugh, David Davis, Don Pierce and others to be announced.

A collaboration between the Reverence for Life University, Experience Co-Evolution Group, Vision Excelerator, Global Innovative Solutions, The Moods Channel, QC Collective, Voice of the People Radio and a consortium of organizations, businesses and individuals

Vision and Intention
Create an Educational Resource & Technical Assistance Center (hereafter Center) that provides access to information and assistance to  various marginalized populations with a focus on en-strengthening, skills and trades training, entrepreneurship and cooperative, community development.

This proposal describes the creation of an outreach strategy to offer services and assistance to various marginalized people who live in nearly every locale in the world. Our offerings are based on real world projects that have been implemented in various places. It builds off of the work of Dr. Andrew Skadberg in the area of regional/community revitalization and Desmond Green with individual empowerment and personal transformation. To see the transformation established on The Practice and the Reverence for Life Foundation in the Jamaican prison system between 1995-2000 follow this link.

There are immense opportunities to reach out to various populations of people who have found themselves marginalized because of economic and past government approaches to serving people and communities. Some of these groups include:

  • Veterans of War and disabled Vets
  •  Individuals who have been incarcerated, and those who have been released
  •  People who have experienced challenges with various addictions (drugs, alcohol, gambling)
  • Homeless populations
  •  People of “minority” or other national descent
  • Native Americans
  • Single mothers and children

Working with these populations can seem to be quite challenging, however, innumerable examples exist about the power of individuals who have experienced overwhelming challenge and then overcame. People who reach “bottom” can often demonstrate incredible turn around in their lives and thus provide inspiration for others to follow.

One of the most phenomenal of these examples is with the work of Desmond Green in the Jamaica prison system. Desmond implemented a program called “The Practice” with the “worst” populations, those being individuals serving death sentences or life sentences. By sharing the powerful, yet simple principles outlined he was able to assist individuals to set themselves free, even while in prison. The success is shown in that recidivism reduced from 90% to 30% between 1995 and 2000 and that prison violence was significantly reduced during those years.

Building off of the foundation of The Practice by Desmond Green, our group intends to provide a number of educational programs and instructions, utilizing a “learning by doing model” (experiential education), combined with common-sense community development solutions that will enable various populations, towns, villages and nations to transform their socio-economic conditions. Here are initial areas of emphasis:

-          Individual empowerment

-          Nature, environment, conservation, recreation

-          Trades, craftsmanship, agriculture, energy, transportation, innovation in construction

-          Arts, music, performing arts, media, creative endeavors

-          Entrepreneurship

-          Technology an Web based business and learning

-          Tourism and community development

How we Intend to Share Our Services and Assistance
We will approach various “communities” in a quasi-consulting capacity offering professional, hands-on assistance in the areas common to all community needs: food, shelter, energy, business, tourism, natural resource preservation, culture and quality of life. We offer these community development and individual en-strengthening assistance in a way similar to a “tool-box” of services and support. These Services could include sensible and cost effective infrastructure development (including affordable products), educational resources, community strategy development and visioning, tourism development, business and entrepreneurial development, etc. If the communities are in a position to actually hire our group, we could then establish a “hands-on” physical presence as we develop specific plans for community innovation and empowerment and strategy deployment.

If, on the other hand, the communities are not prepared financially to support engagement, our Websites offer a plethora of educational resources, short courses, case study examples, free books, etc. that are available, always. In fact, some of the greatest successes could be demonstrated through a community group that was self-motivated. The Nobel Laureate Margaret Mead stated “never underestimate the power of a small group of committed citizens to change the world. In fact, nothing else ever has.”

Our working groups associated with the Reverence for Life University and Experience Co-Evolution Group have several websites where communities, businesses, organizations and individuals can get access to a number of free tools, books and services are listed at the end of this proposal. Our team has been working for many years to gather these resources together to “be the change we want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi

Below you will find a short, tentative, outline of en-strengthening resources that we will make available to all communities whether we work actively with them or not. The advantage of working with our team would be more focused attention; however, we will do our best to provide support to all communities whether or not we are being paid. One of our specific goals would be to create community “outreach teams” that would be comprised of local individuals, or organizations that would become “experts” of sorts, to implement the various strategies and programs we have devised (similar to Train the Trainer).

We have simple philosophies based on ancient sayings “feed a man for a day, give him a fish. Feed a man for life, teach him to fish”.  Our aim is to find “local stars” in every community. Then, these people can build their own team that can implement the various programs locally. Even if our team would be hired to provide individualized consulting services, eventually we will go home. So our aim is to inspire community sustainability of various initiatives. Through the use of IT capabilities and online learning and support services, we can extend our assistance beyond our on-site interactions. However, our ultimate aim will be capacity and team building in the locations across the globe. Here is a short list of programs as an introduction to the kind of programs we have identified for helping communities.

Also, we are a very big proponent for not wanting to “re-invent wheels”. With the advent of the Internet we can gain access to information and “case studies” which provide ample opportunities to find information and identify potential examples to follow. The key to success is that they be “common-sense” based and that people know how to adapt, or modify, as needed to assure success in their particular context.

  • The Practice, is described above and is a foundation of the Reverence for Life University
  • Skills and Trades training, based on the work of Tom Dooley, a master wood worker, each individual has the opportunity to create a personal legacy with his work, art or craft. By sharing the vision that putting passion, love and dedication into their work, they can honor the materials that are being used (e.g. wood in woodworking), provide inspiration and joy in developing personal excellence in handiwork, create a legacy in the craft/product that is being created and potentially family heirlooms that will be shared for generations to come.
  • Active-Vets is a program that was developed by Don Boren the Exec. Director of the Big Bend Natural Heritage Assoc. in Texas. The program puts war Veterans together with other Vets on rafting trips for processing their experiences that are behind the diagnosis PTSD. To date the program has served 110 individuals and has resulted in phenomenal experiences as shared by the participants.
  •  Entrepreneurial Training, Business and Idea Incubation – this area provides a broad array of services and networking possibilities. This can best be encapsulated in the byline of the Vision Excelerator “bringing dreams to life”. The aim here is to assist people and groups to find a Vision that will inspire them to “do what they love to do”. One of the cornerstones of this item is the “Nature Tourism Guidebook” which was developed to teach farmers and ranchers how to add a “nature tourism” enterprise to their ranch operations. The same formula is generalizable to, essentially, any new business. Kind of like a recipe for bread, you can pretty much cook bread anywhere.

In conjunction with this approach, we have developed a "short-course" to assist people to become en-strengthened and to develop ways to work as a team. Here is a link to that course, with several recommended readings - Team/Individual Experience Plan & Study Guide

Under the umbrella of the consulting team “Experience Co-Evolution Group” we will begin to approach various communities here in the U.S. and abroad. We currently have active collaboration happening in Jamaica, India and Colombia S.A. Here is a short list of

More Details of Proposed Approach

1) Individual Empowerment and Experience Processing: Adapt a variety of programs designed to assist
     individuals returning from military service to integrate back into society, recover from PTSD and gain    
     access to ways to find fulfilling work.

                - Self Management Skill-sets – adapted from program implemented in Jamaican prison system
                 by Desmond D. Green called “The Practice”. Recitivism reduced from 90% to 30% between the
                 years 1995-2000 and prison violence reduces markedly.

- ActiveVETS – developed by Don Boren where newly returning vets join adjusted vets on
                recreational experiences to “process” and experience understanding a fellowship.

2) Entrepreneurial training series (modularized) specific to the context of the host community(s) –
     derived from materials available through the Vision Excelerator, NE Indiana Incubator and others.

3) Develop the cooperative model identifying various products, projects and outreach programs that
     facilitate growing the success and impact of this endeavor being launched.

4) Create a Web based distance learning resource center that could be accessed through “partner”
     libraries and/or community and school computer centers/classrooms and mobile laboratories like the   
     SMART and STEM buses.

- On-site, hands-on training seminars provided by locally trained instructors (using a train-the-
   trainer approach).

6) Aim to enhance a holistic economic development strategy – enhancing quality-of-life, ecotourism,
     nature, heritage & cultural tourism (and other types), value-added agriculture, energy,
     entrepreneurship, micro-enterprise development (Community based tourism derived from the work
     of Diana McIntyre of Jamaica).
7) Engage local financial and philanthropic organizations.

7) Conduct research and project benchmarking throughout the project lifecycle.

 

Pilot Study Areas – Pending discussion

-       Quad Cities Region

-       Lakota Native American Nation (Mission & Rapid City, SD)

-       East Moline – Watertown Community Empowerment Coalition (Dr. Skadberg serving on board)

-       All Native American nations that received HUD funds for housing and community development.

-       Identify potential for additional sites

 

Collaborators

-       Experience Co-Evolution Group

-       Reverence for Life University

-       River Bend Wildland Trust (Quad Cities, IA & IL)

-       Vision Excelerator

-       University of Northern Iowa, Sustainable Tourism & Environment Program (STEP)

-       Augustana College

-       QC Collective

-       QC Organics

-       Bob Windt – Yep! It’s Rocket Science

-       Tom Dooley Woodworks

-       Redco – Lakota-Souix Nation

-       Zoom Information Systems

-       Northeast Indiana Innovation Center

 

Outcomes:

-       En-strengthen and transform the lives of people who have traditionally “fallen through the cracks” of our current social services paradigm.

-       Stimulate/create robust, creative and cooperative community economies.

-       Sustainability as a driver creating sensible linkages between the various complimentary “assets” and economic sectors within the community/region.

-       Conserve (and/or enhance) the natural, historical and cultural assets of the community.

-       Enhance Quality of Life.

This initiative aims to integrate all aspects of community economic development into a centralized strategy approach supported by a technology based information and technical assistance service center. However, a central emphasis will be on individual en-strengthening and transformation.

Publications, information, and a variety of rudimentary tools are available to assist individuals, communities and organizations realize a more diverse set of economic development opportunities. These resources can be combined with new forms of assistance to address other important areas of need including: team building, training & development, tourism development, community enhancement, technology development and utilization, and forest, animal and plant (ecological) protection and enhancement, and more. These areas can be supported via technical assistance and training and other support to stimulate/enhance other economic activities that are necessary for communities to flourish, while also protecting the natural and historical resource base and culture of the region

The approach to be utilized will provide incentives for the adoption and diffusion of the use of new technologies and distance learning tools and information that is, essentially, universally needed for tourism and other economic development activities globally. New Web-based technologies can create direct economic returns (rewards) for businesses and communities. These “rewards” then will stimulate people to expand their use of computers for running and growing their businesses and community economic development programs.

An active outreach and “marketing branch” of this initiative will promote resources and services and also conduct in-the-field research to identify and recruit communities that are “primed” for success those exhibiting a community collaborative spirit. These communities (or groups of communities) can then be “seeded” with a package of incentives to stimulate their participation.

Because this approach is designed to be market-driven, it will be economically sustainable perpetually. Initial Seed Capital would be highly advantageous, but not necessary given that this is a “grass-roots” endeavor. We see that adequate financial resources will be attracted given that our vision is clear, providing highly needed services and support to people. Driven by a successful business development model, programs will be designed to be self-sustaining over time. Initial funds will be used to “prime” the initiative, but the “Center” will be designed to generate revenues so that the initiative will not need to be subsidized over time.

 

Pilot Community (Region) Selection Criteria – tentative

-       Cooperative spirit

-       Current people willing to engage experience

-       Creativity

-       Cottage industries

-       Relatively stable economic basis

-       Community forestry, gardens, parks and recreation

-       Funding assistance available

-       Diversity of natural resources

-       Critical mass of tourist attractions

-       Linkages between communities (collaborative potential)

-       Absence of contentiousness intra-community and inter-community

-       Infrastructure (roads, telecommunications, service industry e.g. food, lodging)

-       Access to financial support and outside funding

-       Social networking - capital

-       Access – to tourism attractions by visitors, distance from University collaborators

-       Prior leadership training

-       Volunteer/service organizations

-       Prior projects that may have potential to re-start or revitalize

-       Rural development models being utilized

A proposed structure for the cooperative – three legs: business, social, infrastructure
In the world today there are three primary types of organizations: business (financial), non-profit (social good) and institution/government (infrastructure and public services). Usually, these three types of organizations end up attempting to support all three of these societal functions within their organization, but do not succeed because the organization´s “mission” is not ultimately aligned with functions outside of their normal domain of activities. For example, government agencies are very much challenged to operate a business successfully. This is also the case with non-profit organizations, in their original form they are not really designed to be businesses.

However, over time the majority end up becoming business oriented. In all three of these organizations the main focus of the organization does not give as much emphasis on the other activities. This equates usually to sort of “lip service” being paid, or worse yet a blatant use of these activities to garner support that is then utilized in an unbalanced, or manipulative way. Many cases can be seen by corporations that are really creating environmental problems using social programs or environmental programs to convince their customers they are doing good and thus people should buy their products.

A balanced organization should give adequate importance to each function. For example, if infrastructural support falters, the success of the organization will be diminished. Likewise, if the “quality of life’ (social) diminishes then the whole organism suffers. Finally, if adequate financial resources are not generated and sustained, there will be a breakdown of the whole organization (community, region).

It appears that a blending of the primary functions of these three entities would make for a more efficient organization. The institution would be responsible for managing the infrastructure and the services of the Cooperative. The business would be responsible for the fiscal and financial (marketing, business development) aspects of the Cooperative and the continued monetary support/management for the other two legs of the organization. The non-profit portion of the organization would be responsible for the programs that ensure the continued vitality of the region, such as education, social and other community empowerment programs.

Financial Capabilities and Product Innovations

We have identified a number of innovative products to be sold to generate financial resources to support this endeavor. Here is a short list of innovative products in the following areas. Links are provided links to a number of our affiliated websites on the last page.

  • Terra Pave/Top Seal: (Soils Control International) a polymer based product that is an alternative to asphalt and concrete. It has numerous applications described on the website.
  • HEM Paving and Road Groom: is a company headquartered in Grundy Center, IA. They provide affordable and durable road paving equipment that is especially attractive to organizations with smaller budgets (Roger Bockes, the owner, wants to open up international markets).
  • Energy Store: Sustainable, green and free energy technologies. My first introduction to renewable energy was with my family company, Odin Associates, and our 1981 research into the use of a biomass gas generator. Since that time, I have been gathering information and forming a network in the Quad Cities of individuals and companies working in this arena.
  • Regional, Healthy and Sustainable Food System: We are forming a network of companies, organizations and individuals who are passionate about good food. We are working with the Quad Cities Food Hub and QC Organics and the River Bend Wildland Trust currently and identifying other regional partners. We have identified several replicable food models that are adaptable to other places.
  • New Home & Rural Property Building: A number of our friends and associates are very interested in alternative building systems. These include Earth Shelters, yurts, earth bag building, and log cabins. Rosebud Log Homes in South Dakota is building beautiful log homes, cabins, and chateaus while sustainably managing the Lakota-Sioux forest reserves. They are prepared to sell these homes as kits, either modular or complete. I plan to be their representative for Rose Bud Log Homes in our region.
  • Business, Idea and Non- Profit Incubation: Since spinning a company out of Texas A&M University in 2004, I have been actively developing tools, resources and educational content to support new business development. As we established the QC Collective, we created an incubator called the Vision Excelerator. Recently, we have been attracting many individuals who either can’t find work, or who don’t want a 9-5 job, but would rather pursue their life calling and contribute their gifts to the community. I have many resources to assist these people.
  • Travel and Tourism Technologies: In 2003, I created a touchscreen kiosk called the TexBox for the Texas DOT, which provided travelers information when they stopped in rest areas. In 2004, the State of Texas put wireless internet in all 100 rest areas. Now this technology system is in 10 states, with potential to be in all 50. Iowa was the first state to put kiosks and wireless in all 40 rest areas. I am working with the companies that own the contracts for this technology, and also the 511 Travel Information lines. We see great potential to connect travelers with communities that are now diversifying and revitalizing, both creatively and cooperatively.
  • Reverence for Life University: Individual empowerment is key to success in every endeavor. This project has been in development since 2008, and we just launched the website in June 2013. This site provides powerful resources and assistance to help individuals discover their point of power.

Our Vision is to create a Win-Win-Win-Win cooperative endeavor
During times of challenge is when the greatest opportunities for achievement and empowerment occur. Communities and peoples are challenged almost universally, but the time has arrived for people to come together as family and community and support each other while embracing togetherness and environmental sustainability. Our team has gathered powerful tools to help individuals and for teams to form around the common good. The Internet makes it possible for people to access these skill-sets and tools and begin the process of transformation. 


Below you will find a partial list of our affiliations— local, national and international. However, I believe that such a process begins in a local community. The Quad Cities is primed for this initiative, as it has abundant resources and a growing unrest with the status quo, which is leading to grass-roots, community based efforts to revitalize. I can gladly provide considerable more documentation as I have written and strategized on these ideas since 1988.

Here is a partial list of our current affiliations:

Experience Co-Evolution Group
www.experienceco-evolutiongroup.yolasite.com – Community and Tourism Development Consulting Group
Reverence For Life University
www.reverenceforlifeuniversity.com – a collaborative endeavor between Desmond Green and Dr. Skadberg connected directly to Jamaica and other nations.
Vision Exceleratorwww.visionexcelerator.com – Dr. Skadberg’s business/idea incubator.
Rural Innovation Institutewww.ruralinnovationinstitute.com – Dr. Skadberg’s alternative
     development resource center.

HEM Paving & Road Groomwww.hempaving.com, www.roadgroom.com
Terra Pavewww.soilscontrol-usa.com/ - innovative, affordable polymer based alternative to asphalt and concrete.
Quad Cities Food Hub - http://www.qcfoodhub.com/ - focused on creating a sustainable, regional food supply and system.
Universal Hovercraft - http://www.hovercraft.com/content/ - we are working with Bob Windt the inventor of this type of hovercraft and will be looking to expand markets globally.
Zoom Information Systems - http://www.zoominfosystems.com/zoom-tin.aspx - the intelligent transportation company doing the wireless internet and traveler information contracts.
Envirock - rapid building systems - www.envirock.net
Micoy - true holographic experiences - www.micoyentertainment.com
Hydro Hammock (Ben Frederick) healing with water, and sleeping - www.hydrohammock.com
Dan Willis - work with Marcel Vogel, and other energy technologies - www.marcelvogel.com
EndlessOne Global - www.endlessoneglobal.com
National BRANDCard - www.nationalbrandcard.com

Cory Stover - Cory's Elixer/Bio-alchemy and radionics, websites to be announced.
Baker Dental Lab/Dreamhill LLC (Bob Baker)

Sustainable Agricultural Systems (David Davis) - website to be announced
Double Helix (Dan Davison)
More to be announced, soon . . .


Rosebud Log Homeswww.rosebudloghomes.com – my family in South Dakota building homes as they sustainably manage the Lakota-Souix Nation forests.
IMark Global & Tech - http://www.imarkglobal.com/, http://www.imarktech.com/ - our international partner into India, Asia and Africa focusing on tourism, sustainable development and technology.

QC Collective  – a community, cooperative artist brokerage representing artists in various locations around the Quad Cities.

Updated: Nov. 4, 2015