Friday, January 30, 2015

Join Us For Our Monthly Community Clean Up Tomorrow!

When: Saturday, January 31st, 2015 at 9am
Where: Starbucks Downtown Fairfield 700 Jefferson St Corner of Jefferson & Texas (map)
Description: We meet every last Saturday of each month (weather permitting). We clean up different locations and neighborhoods. Please join us. All are welcome
At the Matt Garcia Foundation we don’t want to complain about this, we want to create solutions to problems. It is with this spirit that we began our Monthly Community Clean Ups.

On the last Saturday of every month, volunteers get together and clean up a neighborhood in Fairfield. We pick up trash, work on landscaping paint windows, fix fences – all in an effort to improve our community. This is another example of community coming together to help make a difference.

The Matt Garcia Foundation Dream Team, is all about stepping up and stepping out of ourselves to serve others and our communities to be a part of the solution. Matt would say ” if you see a piece of garbage on the ground, please just pick it up” How simple is that! So, that is what we do.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kid President - How To Change The World (a work in progress)

In today's adventure, Kid President explores people's different ideas about how to make the world better. What do you think is the best way to change the world?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why Not Put the Gun Down?: Yoni Hernandez at TEDxYouth@Watsonville

At the age of seven, in Chiapas, Mexico, Yoni was shot during the uprising of the Zapatistas. Immigrating to the United States, Yoni was bullied at school and sought protection from a gang when he attended Watsonville High. Yoni's life story and message: Why Not Put the Gun Down? is relevant for youth involved in gangs and adults involved in war. Yoni's life is a story of triumph and courage.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ten Characteristics of Good Leadership

Characteristics of good leadership is something that has been studied for many years and through my research, I have discovered similar patterns in leaders that are worth mentioning in summary. Not all leaders have these qualities, but it is useful to have them if you want to be a good leader.
Through study I have discovered these ten characteristics of good leadership:


Good leaders have vision. Good leaders know where they are heading and they lead these people toward the same vision that they have for their lives, a community, or even a nation. They do not just look at what things are, but at what things could be.

2. Passionate

Good leaders are not passive people. They are usually extremely passionate in whatever they're doing. Whether it is sports or business, leaders are extremely focused and some of them are even consumed by their passion.

3. Wise

Good leaders are wise and discerning. Being a leader often means that they need to make crucial decisions at various points in their ministry. Having the wisdom to make the right decision is extremely important in ensuring the success of the organization.

4. Compassion

They have compassion for their followers. While they understand they have a goal to pursue, they constantly look back and care for the people that are following them. They are not selfish people who only think about their own needs and luxuries; they also have a heart for the people under them as well.

5. Charismatic

Good leaders are charismatic; they are attractive people and they draw people to them by their shining personalities. Whether is it the way they speak, or the excellence they demand from people; these leaders have an X-factor that people feel drawn toward.

6. Good Communicators

They are very good at orating and speaking. They are extremely well-versed in public speaking and they can influence and inspire people with the things that they say. With this ability, it is not surprise that they can usually garner a good following.

7. Persistent

They are persistent in reaching their goals. They understand that reaching a destination is filled with setbacks. Despite that, they see that the benefits of reaching the goal is greater than that of the setback that they experienced. This makes them extremely persistent people.

8. Integrity

Good leaders have integrity. They mean what they say, and they say what they mean. They are people who keep their promises and they don't play the two-faced political game that a lot of others do. As such, people find them trustworthy and they give their commitment to these leaders as a result.

9. Courageous

They are courageous. Winston Churchill says that courage is the virtue on which all others virtue rest upon. Besides just having a pipe dream, good leaders are courageous enough to pursue after it. The fears are real, but a courageous leader pursues them despite the fears.

10. Disciplined

Good leaders are extremely disciplined in their pursuit of their goals. While most people would be easily distracted or discouraged, good leaders discipline their flesh to keep focused and to keep steady despite the circumstances.

There you go, ten characteristics of good leadership. After reading these ten characteristics, you might see that you are lacking in some areas and strong in others. But no matter, it's not about becoming perfect, but knowing where you are lacking and making an effort to develop those characteristics in yourself.

Lin Yihan is the founder of Leadership With, an online guide to leadership filled with quality articles on the topic, valuable resources like icebreaker ideas, leadership quotes, leadership movies, videos links and more! He is also the President of University-YMCA at Singapore Management University, a student-run volunteer organization that has a mission to raise up servant leaders who will impact the local and international community. It currently has several local community programs, overseas trips to countries like Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as a Social Enterprise arm that raises funds for its community work.
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Support The Matt Garcia Foundation Through AmazonSmile!

You can help support The Matt Garcia Foundation by shopping through AmazonSmile.

  • Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to The Matt Garcia Foundation whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same Amazon Prime benefits.
  • Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at

Click the logo above to start shopping!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Three Types of Forgiveness and Why They Matter to Us As Leaders


We see it in public gestures like Nelson Mandela forgiving his captors after his long imprisonment or when President Ford pardoned President Nixon.

And we often see the results when there is no forgiveness.

Like in the news every day - from revenge violence to road rage to people arguing about reclining seats on airplanes.

Yes, Mandela and Ford were leaders, but how does forgiveness apply to us as "everyday" leaders?

It applies immediately and directly.

But before I share my thoughts, let's start with the three types of forgiveness. They are:

• Forgiveness of self
• Forgiveness of others
• Forgiveness of situations

As I describe each, I believe the relevance to you both personally and as a leader will become clear.
Forgiveness of Self

We all make mistakes. We all exercise poor judgment. We all screw up. It is what we do next that matters most. If, after our mistakes, we live in guilt and in the past where the mistake happened, nothing positive will come from it.

It's considered a universal truth that "we learn from our mistakes". Yet this "truth" is missing a couple of components - lessons in mistakes are there but the learning isn't guaranteed, and the learning won't come if we are living in the mistake or not willing or able to reflect on it, or won't let go of it and forgive ourselves first. A more complete statement of that truth is that "we can learn from our mistakes if we will let ourselves learn and choose to do so."

And that learning can't happen without self-forgiveness.

There are other reasons why self-forgiveness is important. It will allow ourselves to focus on the future, rather than the past, and it will allow us to reduce our stress and frustration (and makes us healthier too).

Forgiveness of Others

Admit it.

When you read the title of this article, this was probably the type of forgiveness you were thinking of.

Think for a second about the way you feel about a person who hasn't forgiven you. Do you want to be around them, or work for or with them? Are you willing to give them your best effort? Or does the barrier between you (which can include self-forgiveness too) keep you from moving forward?

When we don't forgive others, we set ourselves up for animosity, reduced productivity, more conflict and drastically lowered trust.

So how open to forgiving others are you?

Forgiveness of Situations

Things happen that might not be anyone's "fault". Do you know people who continue to dwell on a past situation that caused them grief or pain, even if it was just a situation? When we are able to forgive situations, we are able to let go of those negative feelings and move forward.

Your forgiveness of situations defines how forgiving you tend to be of negative circumstances, events, or situations that are beyond anyone's control. This would include things like illnesses, natural disasters and the like.

Can you let go of these situations so you can move forward?

If you hear yourself saying lots of "If only... " or "If it had just happened that way... " type statements, you likely have a ways to go in this area.

So What?

When we can forgive, we can move from a past focus to a future focus, which provides us with hope, accountability, and the opportunity for growth and advancement. As long as we (or others, or an entire group) are living in the past, no progress can be made.

Because error is part of being human, forgiveness allows mistakes, failure, slip ups, errors in judgment and decision making, flaws and other breakdowns to become a source of increased wisdom and learning. Without the forgiveness, the same events and situations create more divisiveness, angst, conflict and discord.

The best leaders use the practice of forgiveness to transform themselves and their organizations into forward-looking, agile learners and promote better results every day.


If you are still reading and still are having reservations, it is likely that you agree with my premise, but aren't sure how to let go. Perhaps this quotation from the psychiatrist Thomas Szasz will help - "The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget."

The point is instructive. Events, mistakes and mishaps in the past can be learned from, but only if we can let them go through forgiveness. This does not mean we should forget those events, but rather put them in the proper perspective. They are events in the past that we can't change now, but we can learn from.

A Final Note: If you would like a tool for introspection on your willingness and ability to forgive in the three ways described above, I recommend the free "Heartland Forgiveness Scale." Join leaders from around the world as a member of The Remarkable Leadership Learning System. This system includes two complimentary months of that unique system at: Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. You can learn more about him and a special offer on his newest book at
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Unity Is Key To Effective Leadership

Effective leadership requires enticing and motivating others to join in the effort to enhance and improve the organization, at least in certain aspects. It doesn't matter if someone possesses all the other skills needed to be a great leader, if he does not motivate others to unite and join together for the common good, the possibilities for success are limited. All great leaders have been possibility thinkers, and believe that the improbable can be achieved with effort, and what others consider impossible can also be achieved with more and better directed efforts. Winston Churchill said, "If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail." True leaders unite their organizations by exhibiting those traits and strengths of character that others respect and look up to, and motivate others to adopt a great leader's vision as their own.

1. In my over thirty years of working closely with hundreds of organizations and well over a thousand leaders, I have observed that the biggest stumbling block to unity is negative, blaming leadership. When someone in a leadership position resorts to negativism, or even worse, blames either other people or circumstances for certain challenges, not only are those behaviors demotivating, but they tend to draw people apart, often creating an aura/ atmosphere of distrust and selfishness. Unity requires strong leaders who emphasize the common good, appreciate the efforts of others, have true compassion and empathy, are effective listeners, and demonstrate that they genuinely care about their organization and its constituents and supporters. Almost magically, when people observe this type of positive, constructive behavior, they are strongly motivated to participate more, pay more attention, and prioritize the best interests of the organizations and everyone involved.

2. No leader will or should even strive to satisfy and please everyone. There will always be a segment of any group that prefers to be negative and critical, because it is always easier to find fault and blame, than to view the bigger picture and examine constructive alternatives and methodologies. However, the greatest leaders always listen and show respect for everyone, including those that most adamantly and vehemently disagree. True leadership is about showing you care, but not simply agreeing with everyone in order to be liked and face more resistance. The best approach to seek common ground, when possible, as long as it does not weaken the most essential components of an idea. Positive leaders with demonstrable integrity are nearly always the best unity builders.

Positive leaders unify and blamers destroy! True leaders seek to unite.

Richard has owned businesses, been a COO, CEO, and Director of Development, as well as a consultant. He has professionally run events, consulted to over a thousand leaders, and conducted personal development seminars, for over 30 years. Rich has written three books and well over a thousand articles. His company, PLAN2LEAD, LLC has an informative website and Plan2lead can also be followed on Facebook
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Friday, January 9, 2015

The Matt Garcia Foundation's Community Investment Day - S.T.A.N.D.

The Matt Garcia Foundation invites you to STAND with us this day to Support, Teach, Advocate, Nurture, and Dream with the youth, businesses, and residents of our community. Help us continue our efforts to support the many neeeds of our neighbors and partners by pledging to STAND with FFINEST.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Compassion is a Foundation to Understanding Others

As a mediator, and someone who teaches conflict resolution skills, I'm often encouraging others to look toward all forms of responses and possibilities to resolve problems. Often, especially with matters where there is a strong relationship, empathy, compassion, and forgiveness are foundations to resolving the conflict. I'd like to share a story I learned from Thomas Crum that provides a lesson in compassion.

Long ago there was a monastery that was very poor materially. The only precious possessions were three beautiful scrolls, that were always left open on a table in a small study.

One day a monk came out of the study, screaming, "Someone is stealing the scrolls!"

The abbot of the monastery came running to the study and saw that two scrolls were missing. He happened to notice that the third scroll was lying atop the window sill, where it had been apparently dropped by the thief.

The abbot grabbed the third scroll and dashed off in the direction of the fleeing thief. After a long chase, the abbot finally caught him near a small stream.

The exhausted thief collapsed on the bank and surrendered himself to the abbot. He awaited the subsequent severe punishment rendered to thieves in those days.

Instead, the abbot stood in front of the man and handed him the third scroll, exclaiming, "I have been chasing you all the way from the monastery. I wanted to give you this third scroll. You forgot to take it and it is the most important one. The teachings would be incomplete without it."

With this, the abbot bowed and walked back to the monastery.

Shortly thereafter, the thief returned to the monastery with the scrolls, totally committed to becoming one of its monks.

This story parallels the story of Jean Val Jean in my favorite novel, "Les Miserables." In both tales, the compassion shown to the thief, turned the person's life around. The compassionate response transformed the individual and had reaching effects much farther than the return of the stolen items and punishment in prison could have ever achieved.

In practical terms, increasing our awareness and compassion of others helps heighten the sense of connectedness, which improves the quality of our relationships. With compassion, comes understanding. With understanding comes a willingness to spend time and energy to collaborate and co-create solutions to conflict. You can choose to understand. You can choose to be compassionate.

Regardless of how incorrect or upsetting a person's action my be to you, the key to resolution is often to acknowledge your relationship with that person and understanding their positions and interests. Having compassion is the beginning.

Alain Burrese, J.D. is a performance and personal development expert who teaches how to live, take action, and get things done through the Warrior's Edge. Alain combines his military, martial art, and Asian experiences with his business, law, and conflict resolution education into a powerful way of living with balance, honor, and integrity. He teaches how to use the Warrior's Edge to Take Action and Achieve Remarkable Results. Alain is the author of Hard-Won Wisdom From The School Of Hard Knocks, the DVDs Hapkido Hoshinsul, Streetfighting Essentials, Hapkido Cane, the Lock On Joint Locking series, and numerous articles and reviews. You can read more articles and reviews and see clips of his DVDs as well as much more at and
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World | Megan Feldman | TEDxBoulder

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. We have to learn to forgive if we are to heal the planet.

Megan Feldman is an award-winning writer. Her journalism has appeared in publications including 5280, Glamour, Details, and The Daily Beast. She spent the past year on a global adventure to report and write her first book, TRIUMPH OF THE HEART: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World, which is forthcoming next year from Hudson Street Press at Penguin. Megan holds a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City, and has taught as an adjunct professor of journalism at Metropolitan State University in Denver.