David Langness: Donate to the cause | TheUnion.com

David Langness: Donate to the cause

My wife and I decided to move to Nevada City two and a half years ago, stunned by the beauty we found here. I don’t mean the physical beauty — the mountains, meadows, forests and rivers — although the setting and the gorgeous environment definitely attracted us.

Instead, I mean the inner beauty of the people we had the privilege of meeting.

We met artists, writers, musicians, doctors, social activists, educators, children and youth and retirees who love this place and love each other — a whole host of altruistic, wonderful, creative, caring, committed souls that truly form a community. We felt warmly welcomed, instantly included and thoroughly hugged. We felt at home.

Then, a couple of months ago, my sweet wife Teresa had a heart attack.

The emergency department at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital quickly got her into an ambulance, which sped down the hill to Mercy General in Sacramento. There, two excellent surgeons — Drs. Marquardt and Morris — saved her life. We owe everyone who treated Teresa our enormous gratitude.

She’s home now, recuperating. Guess what? It turns out that open heart surgery takes a lot out of you, even if you’re otherwise healthy and relatively young. More importantly, it tends to stop you from doing your work.

That’s a big concern for Teresa, because she runs a global educational charity called Full-Circle Learning. A writer and an educator, she started FCL as a volunteer, nonprofit effort after the riots in Los Angeles in 1992, with the goal of healing traumatized inner-city children.

Soon, that small after-school program grew into a much wider and more ambitious international development agency that nurtures altruistic identities. Today, Full-Circle Learning helps young people all over the world embrace their role as the change agents and humanitarians of their generation. FCL’s teacher training programs focus on community transformation by applying character education and relevant skills to local and international service.

Its schools and educational programs integrate and expand students’ character strengths, academic excellence, artistic capacities and peacemaking skills. Through integrated learning units, FCL students take responsibility for their own communities and apply skills to truly improve them.

As you might imagine, Full-Circle Learning grew exponentially. Now, it operates in more than 20 countries and serves many thousands of mostly disadvantaged students—free of charge.

Today Full-Circle Learning schools educate children in many African nations and villages; in cities and rural areas in Asia; in island nations like Papua New Guinea; in places like Brazil; and in migrant worker housing projects here in California.

Because its student services and international training programs are typically free and especially in demand among vulnerable populations or for underserved kids, Full-Circle Learning — headquartered in Nevada City — raises funds to support those programs.

Teresa, who takes no salary for her work as founding board president, has multitasked as the program director, trainer of international staff, curriculum author and administrator.

She’s also spearheaded the fundraising tasks for years — but her heart attack has made that job very difficult, and has financially jeopardized the remarkable educational work Full-Circle Learning does.

Many people have offered to help. Supporters have made generous donations of time and funds. Just before her health crisis, when 32 Full-Circle Learning schools in Liberia needed supplies for Ebola prevention, several talented musicians rose to the occasion. Local heroes Terry Riley, Beaucoup Chapeaux, Ludi Hinrichs, Joe Fajen and Bill Douglass performed to raise the needed funds to successfully halt the virus in its tracks in Monrovia.

Since Teresa’s heart attack, the House of Blues in Los Angeles held a benefit concert for Full-Circle Learning last weekend. Bob Marley’s grandson Bambaata played and sang there, as did the Latin music maestro K.C. Porter.

Next weekend, here at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, locals will have the rare opportunity to hear the great jazz singer Tierney Sutton and her band, as they give their time and musical genius to Nevada County and Full-Circle Learning on Saturday night, Aug. 1.

The New York Times calls Tierney one of the best jazz singers of her generation. She recently sold out headlining performances at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and SF Jazz in the Bay Area. Tierney and her band will perform her most recent album After Blue, a song-cycle tribute to the legendary Joni Mitchell — and they’ll donate all the proceeds to the cause.

We hope to see you there. You may come to support Full-Circle Learning but, no doubt, you’ll leave as a fan of the band.

David Langness lives in Nevada City.

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Good Job


I guess I am getting old and grumpy. What is with the “good job” expression being so commonly used in very unexpected settings?

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