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Building A "Foundation House" for Kids in San Francisco: So Urban Youth Can Thrive!
Once in awhile an opportunity comes along where there is no other response than "I must grab it." With other opportunities, they grab you. The following story is of the latter ilk.
But before I get started I must address the 600,000 monthly visitors who had been coming to Rugged Elegant Living on a regular basis and must be wondering where I went for the past nearly four months. A special expression of thanks to Wes, who took the time to pick up the phone and call to make sure I was simply o.k.
I told Wes that I hadn't been writing because I had gone through surgery, that we had been working on the e-commerce side of our business, and that my husband and I had bought a new house. However, what I wanted to tell him is what I am about to tell you now. The most significant reason I have gone offline is that I have been working on a project that has grabbed my heart, my soul and my attention, and now I am finally ready to tell the world about it.
I hope if this story touches you in any way, you will think about the resources you have that you can bring to the table. Whether you have creative ideas, financial means, mainstream media contacts, experience in this arena, or practical knowledge you'd like to share, we are all ears.
Building A "Foundation House" for Youth ... So They Can Thrive
Having unexpectedly bought a new home and moved our Rugged Elegance headquarters further west of the city near what is called "Land's End," Tim and I began the process of selling our previous home through a traditional real estate agent.
Until this week, we thought it was likely that this fabulous property, located in the center of the city, would have gone to another single family. Perhaps eventually, it will.
For the past year, we were getting prepared to remodel our home to better serve the needs of our own two children. However, friends kept telling us that if we were planning to invest a significant amount of money in our current property, we should first look at what else is on the market. As far as I was concerned, this house could have been "it" for our family, forever. It had plenty of space for our two children, our dog and our lifestyle media business. It has a pool, which is very unusual for San Francisco. The roof deck offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the city. We just needed an inside space from which to enjoy that view. One of the best features is that the house is located in an unpretentious part of the city, on a street we call our "Two Block Secret Neighborhood."
While we would have rather not moved, we nonetheless heeded our friends' advice. One weekend in February, we went out to a neighborhood called Sea Cliff and took a look at one, and only one property. By the end of March we owned it. That same day we hired an innovative architect by the name of Bernardo Urquieta of BRU Architects.
At that same time, our home in the Anza Vista / Western addition area was formally put on the market.
However, before doing so, our friend and trainer Anthony Thier of HealThier Fitness, came to us and suggested an alternative path to selling the house to a private party as a single family home.
He suggested we instead turn the house into a creative haven for under served kids in the city.
My immediate reaction?
During the fifteen years we lived in the neighborhood, we had always wanted to find an effective way to reach out to the kids living in the Pitts Plaza development, a block away.
From the moment Antony recommended we make the house into a place where kids come together from all walks of life to be taught positive life skills, not only were we sold, nearly everyone we spoke with about it said they wanted to help.
Antony's first thought was to create a unique place for kids to hang out with their mentors where together they can cook, swim, work out, as well as create art, music, theater, etc.
We first met Antony in September when he became our three-times-a-week personal fitness trainer. Over the past year, he has also become our kids' ski instructor. After four trips to Tahoe this past season, the girls are now proudly tackling Black Diamond runs. In addition, Antony has inspired all four of us to get into biking. Before we know it, we'll all be doing triathalons together.
Having someone like Antony in our lives is especially significant because we have two children with Type 1 Diabetes. As a result, we are always looking for ways to stay healthy. Having been a professional chef, Antony is both a guide and an inspiration when it comes to good nutrition.
Needless to say, he has quickly become an uncle figure in our kids' lives.
So, when Antony came up with this generous idea for our house and then added, "I would even consider becoming the live-in director," my immediate reaction was, "I'm even more sold!"
2006 XX Olympics Opening Ceremony: NBC's Six Minutes of Passion, Four Hours of Fire
On Friday, February 10th, 2006, the 2006 XX Winter Olympics began in Torino, Italy. Torino (Turin in English) is approximately 90 miles east of Milan. Fifteen sports -- the biathlon, bobsled, curling, ice hockey, figure skating, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, luge, speed skating, short track, Alpine skiing, Freestyle skiing, ski jumping, skeleton and snowboarding -- will be showcased by athletes from around the world from February 11th to the 26th. On February 10th, a primary star of the show was the group of creators who brought Italy to the United States. The Opening Ceremony was broadcast in America by NBC Universal. The team who produced the four hour production, especially, the first six minute introduction to Italy, deserves an Emmy along with major accolades.
I wish anyone in the world with a television could have watched and heard NBC television introduce America to Torino, Italy.
Brian Brown and Mark Levy deserve much of the credit for setting the stage and the tone for NBC's Olympic coverage. The pair devoted the majority of their time as producers to their six-minute "opening". And you could tell. Absolutely amazing. I had tears streaming down my face from start to finish.
Andre Braugher, the critically-acclaimed, Emmy award-winning actor who plays Det. Francis Xavier "Frank" Pembleton on "Homicide: Life on the Street" and in the upcoming show "Thief" served as their narrator.
We kept asking, "Who is that?"
If you asked the same question, now you know.
NBC's Olympic Team Creative Director Mark Levy and Brian Brown, the poetic genius, did a magnificent job showcasing Torino to all those watching in America.
Torino, a beautiful Italian city is often lost in the shadows of Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. Torino has a vibrant history, thriving culture and rich scenery.
Brown and Levy magnificently showcased Torino in Friday night's six minute introduction.
Scott Duncan, the cinematographer for "The Apprentice" and "Survivor," (and the brother of NBA star Tim Duncan) shot much of the breathtaking scenery. Stunning!
And the music. Wow. Superb.
If our kids weren't in school, we'd be booking the next flight to Italy. Thank God we get to head there in June.
To follow is how Andre majestically lured us into the images of Torino. You could almost taste the snow.
Hopefully, if you didn't see the Opening Ceremony live, you've at least TiVoed it.
For the fifty million viewers who did tune in, your participation was greater than last week's American Idol (40 million), CSI (34.5 million), The Grammys (44.3 million) and Dancing with The Stars (29.9 million).
The top twenty-five cities to tune in included Salt Lake City, Minneapolis / St. Paul, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, Ft. Myers, Sacramento, West Palm Beach, Las Vegas, Providence, Indianapolis, Hartford, Norfolk, Columbus, Baltimore, Portland (Oregon), San Diego, Atlanta, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Buffalo, New York and Kansas City.
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