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Growing power 

click to enlarge JANE MCBEE

It's not too late to start your life," says Diana Stolfus, high-school math teacher and recent Rising Star graduate (pictured on the right).

Founded nine years ago, Rising Star offers an experiential workshop that centers on the question: What fixed beliefs are keeping you from your dreams? Stolfus and three other pals from the program (Danica Mergen and Ron Ganaway are pictured here) chose getting down and dirty as their mandatory community service project. Partnering with Greccio Housing, which provides affordable housing for the working poor, the team laid cool green sod and planted flowers in yards that were previously only patches of dirt and water-starved weeds. With families struggling to make ends meet, there had been no extra funds for landscaping the otherwise well-kept units. Enthusiastic tenants gladly agreed to water and care for the new lawns.

"One of the things we enjoy most is that the community became empowered to care for their own space," says Stolfus. "The kids never played outside before; now they're out here all the time."

It's a humble beginning for Rising Star's lofty goal of empowering self, others and the world. But as Goethe once said, "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has power, genius and magic in it."

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