16-year old LISA COURT confronts her demons: negative peer pressure, antisocial behaviour, drifting with the crowd at the expense of reaching her potential. Inspired by her teacher, CJ KRISTEN, Lisa launches the M.A.D. (Make A Difference) project which transforms a school, a community and, eventually, due to the power of the internet, goes global. During this time she discovers love eternal.
CJ Kristen is Head of the Business Economics Faculty at Hillfield College, a school which has been through difficult times. Recently appointed Principal, MORGAN RIKA, has the challenging task of turning around the school's fortunes in the middle-class suburb of Hillfield, situated on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand. He wants to harness the special talents he believes CJ possesses to achieve this goal.
CJ inspires and motivates his Year 12 Business Economics class to undertake a project of their choice after he shares the Parable of the Bean with them, an allegory about seizing the moment, envisioning and dreaming about what can be. The lives of the students in this class, which eventually becomes known as Class 27 (27 students in the class), are thrown into turmoil, as they must decide whether or not to change their lifestyles and attitudes and become change agents within their own school community.
Within CJ's class are a number of challenging students, including REUBEN SHORTFALL and MARY-JANE BIRD, both of whom are affiliated to the local VIPERS gang which is creating many problems in the Hillfield community.
CJ's amazing 21st Century teaching and pastoral care qualities portrayed in uniting this group of students from a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, result in the development of Lisa Court's dream, which ultimately becomes the M.A.D. Club project.
The project results in older students mentoring younger students, designing their own M.A.D. Club Creed and bracelet and drawing up a membership process to encourage other young people to join them in their journey to transform their communities. The project also involves supporting two charities for young people. Class 27 students' lives are changed forever as they identify with these two charities.
The project is so successful it soon takes on a national image then goes global and the M.A.D. Club Company is formed.
However, the M.A.D Club project has to overcome a number of obstacles such as the bitterness that exists between Mary-Jane and Lisa's families; the jealousy between the two girls because of their different feelings towards Reuben; the trashing of the M.A.D. Club computers and premises; the withdrawal of support from the Club's chief sponsor; opposition to the project from a number of people; harassment from the increasingly influential Vipers gang; initial efforts to derail the project by an ambitious journalist, Ann Cooper; and the untimely death of CJ Kirsten, The death of CJ Kirsten ensures that the M.A.D. Club project, with its slogan 'Reach One, Reach All', will become his legacy.
Reuben sees his life in a new way and, most especially, acknowledges his true feelings towards Lisa, who has been his motivation, inspiration and cheerleader since the project was birthed.
After an emotionally charged funeral to farewell CJ, Lisa heads to the beach to reflect on all that has occurred in her life during the previous two years. Throughout the experience she has been on a spiritual journey. At the beach she experiences a vision of a resurrected CJ Kirsten encouraging her to continue to grow the M.A.D. Club vision. She is also unaware that Reuben has followed her and is standing behind her as she undergoes this life-changing experience. She knows that with Reuben she has found love eternal and they vow to continue the legacy which CJ has left behind.
Ann Cooper, unbeknown to both Reuben and Lisa, has tailed them, captures their special moment by camera and is ready to write her special investigative story of the past few months on finding true love.
Author Bio: Robin Cox has been an educator in multicultural environments for 37 years – as a principal, sports coach, boarding housemaster, symposium organizer and life skills facilitator. During that time he has also mentored about 1000 adolescents and, since 1999 has trained over 700 volunteer adult mentors. His passionate promotion of the spirit of mentoring has encompassed developing mentor training programs and manuals, as well as running seminars and workshops for teachers, youth workers and tertiary education providers. Married with two adult children, he is currently living and working in Brisbane, Australia as an Associate Head, Executive Director of Faith and Community, at a Co-educational school of 1500 students in north Brisbane. He is the author of four professionally published non-fiction books linked to youth mentoring by Essential Resources (New Zealand) and two professionally edited and self-published (by choice) non-fiction books promoting the spirit of mentoring and encouraging young people to become the best they can be. He has written under a pseudonym for a UK Parenting organization. His interests include watching most sports, jogging, fishing, tramping, mentoring people of all ages and writing.
In 1995 Robin was awarded a U.S. Grant and spent six weeks at Fordham University studying 'Thomas Jefferson – his political thoughts and action'. In 2006 Robin was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, which saw him travel to Canada and the USA visiting youth mentoring and other youth related organizations. He has his own website which he operates as a community service to those interested in youth mentoring and encouraging young people to reach their potential (www.yess.co.nz). He has coached and been involved in sport to a National level.
Robin enjoys writing, his major motivation being to inspire young people to reach their potential, to become the best they can be through the powerful medium of story-telling.
Keywords: Love, Mentor, Teacher, Students, School, Parents, God, Teenager, Inspiring, Self-Help