As the year comes to a close, we would like to take a moment to reflect and update you on activities that have occurred at COUI over the the past twelve months.
2012 was a year that presented a number of challenges and opportunities to help COUI's Teens and Toddlers (T&T) program continue within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). We are happy to report that we have conquered those challenges and embraced opportunities that help to give the organization and its programs a solid base to grow and expand.
THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN'
AND SO IS COUI!
This year has been about positive change for COUI. We took the year to reflect on how we could better improve and expand our mission and goals, while implementing internal changes to see to it that the Teens and Toddlers program continues.
We are pleased to announce that we have a new COUI website and a new mission that reflects the core values and vision established by our founder, the late Laura Huxley:
Our mission is to educate and prepare our youth to reach their full potential through programs that address teen pregnancy prevention, non-violent parenting, life skills, continued education and job opportunities.
If you have not had a chance to check out the website, please take some time to do so. You can directly access the COUI website by clicking this link: COUI. There is a plethora of information about the organization and how you can make a donation to help keep our Teens and Toddlers program thrive. Your donation will directly go towards the program's administrative and operational costs.
While on the COUI home page, you will notice that we have teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help spread the word about teenage pregnancy prevention and the measures you can take to help combat this issue.
TEENS AND TODDLERS & LAUSD
More good news abound! We have taken the proper steps to see to it that our Teens and Toddlers program continues at Phoenix High School in conjunction with local area daycare centers by working with LAUSD to have the program curriculum approved to be offered as a complimentary bonus to their current Health class, which is a graduation requirement. Once approval is received, COUI will be able to offer the Teens and Toddlers program throughout the LAUSD system.
As we set our sites on 2013, we have identified and contacted two more schools in the San Fernando Valley that are in need of our services and program. It is our goal to have the funding to implement the program. At a cost of $20,000/school per year, we truly need your help to make this happen.
To help jump-start this process, we have established a donor funding page on www.razoo.com, the crowd-funding platform that allows you to make a donation of any amount to help support a non-profit cause. You can access our page directly by clicking on this link: www.razoo.com/coui.
COUI'S ADDRESS CHANGE
Please note if you are interested in contacting us by mail, our new address is as follows:
13300 Victory Blvd., #357, Van Nuys, CA 91401.
A LOOK BACK:
How COUI Came Into Being
By Piero Ferrucci, MD, COUI Board Member
In the early sixties Aldous Huxley was asked by a group of journalists what is the best technique for eliciting personal transformation. He was the right person to ask. For years he had been interested in all kinds of ways to expand consciousness, enhance psychophysical functioning, and just feel better. He was not only a great writer, he was also a prodigious explorer of the inner worlds.
His answer was surprising:“ After years of research and experiments, I am almost embarrassed to say that if I had to sum it all up in a phrase, my answer would be: ’Just be a little kinder.’” In other words, if you want to change your life you do not need any fancy equipment or far out guru; you don’t have to perform strange rites, go on a pilgrimage, travel to faraway lands or spend years in a cave. You already have all it takes – just pay more attention to everyone you meet in your day to day life, because that is the arena where real transformation occurs - if you are willing to express your kindness and warmth. That was Los Angeles in 1961.
I often think of two other memorable statements by Aldous. The first was: “All living is relationship”: the very stuff we are made of is relationships; if they are happy, nourishing, creative, that is how we will be. The other statement was: “One never loves enough.” Years later, when conducting a workshop with Laura Huxley, I found that somebody had posted that statement in huge, bold-colored letters on a wall: a spectacular, benevolent reminder.
Aldous died in 1963. In December 1969 I was in America. I had returned for a month's stay at Esalen Institute. Kathy Pfeiffer, the adoptive daughter of Laura’s best friend Jinny, had just married. I went for a walk with Laura Huxley in the Hollywood hills. There was a path behind her house she would often take, right under the Hollywood sign. It was cold and dark – just after sunset. While we walked and chatted, Laura said thoughtfully: “I have been thinking of doing something for the children.”
For many years Laura had been concerned with the youngest generation. Sensitive, vulnerable, open, babies and children are the prime target of abuse and neglect. They cannot get organized and make themselves heard, they don’t have a union or a newspaper through which they can voice their protest. Most of the violence they are subjected to is invisible; and for the most part it occurs in the family. Many babies are born unwanted, and that increases the probability of abuse. We all need other people’s care, attention and warmth; babies and children need it much more. For them, more than for anyone else, kindness is life-giving. Laura’s thought was very similar to Aldous's, and during their fruitful relationship they had strongly influenced each other. The results were two memorable books:“Island” by Aldous (1962), and “You Are Not the Target” by Laura (1963). Besides having been a violinist, Laura had also trained as a therapist, and knew how much damage can be done to a human being not only during the first few years of life, but even during pregnancy: damage that can sometimes be healed with therapy but that often lasts throughout one’s life.
In 1975 I was again in America (I live in Italy). Laura was my aunt, and I would come to Los Angeles every year and be her guest. At that time I was editing a book of Aldous's lectures at U.C. Berkeley. I had just arrived in Hollywood, when Laura called a meeting with a few friends: “I want to do something for the children,” she said. That thought had never left her. Yet the meeting was inconclusive. Laura wanted to create a space for children to be taken care of. She thought of the name “Bambini.” It was to be an enlightened child care center. But it never happened.
At that time the problem of unwanted pregnancy was also becoming more and more visible. A child realizes, either suddenly or slowly over time, that he or she has never been wanted: ”There is no place for you here. We never really wanted you. We do not want you to exist”. Is there a greater wound to a human being, one which goes closer to the root of one's existence?
In 1977 Laura called me in Italy: “I have been awake all night", she said. "It finally came all together for me." Her voice was excited. This was Laura at her best. “I will start an organization called OUI – Our Ultimate Investment – it’s also oui, yes in French. [Later OUI became COUI).] And it is going to look at a human being’s life from before conception through pregnancy, birth and the first three years.”
Shortly afterwards came the inaugural conference: a most powerful weekend with two thousand people attending, and with Ram Dass, Frederick Leboyer, Jean Houston, Al Huang, Ashley Montagu, and John Vasconcellos as the main speakers. The ideas were strong and convincing. The atmosphere was happy and vibrant. The participants were inspired. At the end people danced on the stage.
And from then on the ball just kept rolling...
During this holiday season, we hope you will consider making a donation to Children: Our Ultimate Investment. Your contribution will help us continue our efforts in preventing teenage pregnancy and STDs. All donations are 100% tax deductible.
We have provided links above to donate via Pay Pal or Network for Good, and we accept contributions via check as well, mailed to the address below.
From Your Friends at COUI
Children: Our Ultimate Investment
13029-A Victory Blvd. #357
North Hollywood, CA 91606
EIN #: 95-3190775