Werner Erhard was acknowledged by Youth At Risk as The Humanitarian Of
The Year for 2003 on Thursday November 6, 2003 at the Roosevelt Hotel
in New York City.
In the late 1970s, Werner created Breakthrough Racing, a research
project and an inquiry inside the question: "Who am I as team?".
In order to define a research project in an area in which he knew
nothing so that he stood to learn everything, Werner attended Bob
Bondurant's race car driving school at Sears Point race track near Napa
Valley in northern California. Then, driving Argo Super Vee Formula
Continental race cars, Werner entered the United States Gold Cup motor
Having never raced motor cars before, Werner won that circuit that
The project allowed Werner to break himself up and to recreate himself
as team such that the abstracts could be powerfully shared with and
gotten by others. When the project was completed, Breakthrough Racing
became The Breakthrough Foundation managed by Dan Miller who had
managed the Breakthrough Racing team for Werner. The Breakthrough
Foundation provided the fertile ground from which Youth At Risk
Youth At Risk coaches and sponsors young people in developing a future
that is viable, nurturing, and representing a break with destructive
patterns of the past.
In response to the overwhelming demand for information regarding Werner
Erhard being acknowledged with The Youth At Risk Humanitarian Of The
Year Award for 2003, and for information about the award ceremony
itself, here are four items.
In the first item, Kathleen Morris describes the origins of The
Breakthrough Foundation and Youth At Risk in more depth, and also
describes how Youth At Risk came to recognize Werner Erhard as The
Humanitarian Of The Year for 2003.
In the second item, Loren Linder gives an even deeper view into exactly
what the mission and accomplishments of Youth At Risk are.
In the third item, Kathleen Morris speaking for Claudette C'Faison
shares an occurrence at the event which really epitomizes what Youth At
Risk is all about.
In the fourth item, Anna Taglieri generously recreates the award
The Origins Of The Breakthrough Foundation And Youth At Risk
This is Kathleen Morris:
In the 1970s, Werner Erhard created a project known as Breakthrough
Racing with the purpose of discovering how to develop team. To do that,
he himself had to become team. Dan Miller headed the Breakthrough
Racing team for Werner, and after Breakthrough Racing completed, Dan
asked Werner if he could use the technology developed by Breakthrough
Racing to form a non-profit organization known as The Breakthrough
Foundation whose purpose would be to work abroad in villages in
Dan had worked in
with the United States State Department where he saw that what the
United States was doing was not empowering the people living there. We
were giving aid but we were not giving empowerment. We knew what they
needed but we were not inquiring of them what was missing for them.
At the same time, Werner Erhard and Associates conducted a series of
community meetings across the United States, the purpose of which was
to discover what was missing in communities. In communities across the
United States, it was determined that there was an increase in violence
among and violent behavior by young people. Drop out rates were on the
The program known as (and for) Youth at Risk was developed in concert
with the communities. Youth At Risk made an agreement with The
Breakthrough Foundation to produce Youth At Risk courses in cities
across the United States, a slam dunk given that The Breakthrough
Foundation was already committed to empowering young people.
In 1989, Claudette C'Faison (who had been on the staff of The
Breakthrough Foundation) and a group of volunteers who had been
participating with Youth At Risk founded Youth At Risk in New York
The Breakthrough Foundation, having gotten its job done, went out of
existence in 1993, and Youth At Risk continues to deliver its programs
in cities across the country.
Every year since 1991, Youth At Risk has acknowledged an individual who
has made a difference to the organization, the young people, and the
community. Since Werner Erhard was the source of the organization in
the early 1980s, we thought it was time he be acknowledged. Claudette
C'Faison proposed this to the Youth At Risk board of directors, and
they determined that this year, Werner would be invited to be the
recipient of The Youth At Risk Humanitarian Of The Year Award.
The Mission And Accomplishments Of Youth At Risk
This is Loren Linder:
Youth At Risk has grown since its inception as a regional project of
Werner Erhard's Breakthrough Foundation. Since 1989, Youth at Risk has
been a leader in youth empowerment and community based mentorship. Our
mission is to decrease the at-risk behavior of youth and to enhance the
effectiveness of the people who live and work with them.
This year's Youth At Risk's annual event and celebration stood inside
the theme "Rebuilding, Restoring, Reinventing Relationship". Each year,
our annual event serves as a way to introduce individuals and
corporations to the work of Youth At Risk, and we create a way for them
to experience the transformation our youth experience.
Youth At Risk provides mentors for youth from underserved communities
between the ages of 12-21 whose circumstances and environment put them
at risk for failure academically, socially, emotionally and physically.
Specifically, we target teenage
fatherless males, youth with disabilities, domestic violence victims,
potential high school dropouts, gang members, and abusive teenagers.
To date, Youth At Risk has served 225 families and over 2,500 young
people. We have provided training to over 700 youth professionals and
over 1000 mentors who have been carefully matched with a young person.
Youth At Risk creates access to transformation for members of local,
national, and global communities. It is because of Werner's founding of
the Breakthrough Foundation and the Youth at Risk programs that we
honor him as The Humanitarian Of The Year for 2003 for unlocking the
futures of our youth.
The Epitome Of Youth At Risk
This is Kathleen Morris for Claudette C'Faison:
Claudette said she was satisfied with the evening. Two of Werner's
daughter's, Deborah Erhard Pimental (who traveled to New York from
Hawai'i to be there) and Anita Lynn Erhard (who traveled to New York
from California to be there) attended the event to accept the award on
their father's behalf. Deborah and Lynn were both moved by the
acknowledgement of their father by Claudette.
Ricky Childs, the youth acknowledged at the event, completed the Youth
At Risk program in 1997 and now volunteers from time to time. He is now
19 and had not seen his father since he was 6 years old. The project he
took on with his committed partner/mentor was to locate his father.
Remember, he was 13 years old when he came to Youth At Risk.
He did locate his father, and his father was in the room with him
attending the event. The room rose to their feet to acknowledge
Ending hunger of the spirit is what we do at Youth At Risk.
Werner Erhard, Youth At Risk Humanitarian Of The Year For 2003
This is Anna Taglieri:
Last night I attended the annual acknowledgment dinner of the New York
chapter of Youth At Risk. This year, Youth At Risk presented Werner
Erhard with The Humanitarian Of The Year Award for 2003. Two of
Werner's daughters attended the event to accept the award on his
behalf. I want you to have a sense of what it was like.
It was a very uplifting evening! Many youths, mentors, and contributors
were acknowledged. All of the acknowledgments were moving, touching and
When it was time for the acknowledgment of Werner, a picture of him at
a blackboard flashed up on the screen, and a resounding standing
ovation occurred. Claudette C'Faison began the narrative of the impact
Werner had on her life and her job before she founded the New York
chapter of Youth At Risk. She described Werner's creation of The
Breakthrough Foundation, their work together in The Breakthrough
Foundation, Werner's creation of the 10 Day Youth At Risk course, and
all the places on
where Youth At Risk programs are in existence today.
The picture of Werner stayed on the screen throughout. Claudette said
that the video wasn't working, that the pictures were supposed to
change. Yet it worked to have him there like that.
Claudette's loving and gratitude-filled acknowledgment of Werner was
perfect. Afterward, Werner's daughters Deborah and Anita Lynn came to
the podium and accepted the award for their father. Again there was a
resounding standing ovation.
Deborah thanked us and acknowledged us. Anita Lynn read a message from
their father in which he acknowledged all of us for our contribution
and all the young people for what they had accomplished.
Deborah came back up to the microphone during the portion where Youth
At Risk was requesting contributions. She held out her left hand and
said: "Two thousand five hundred dollars.". Then she held out her right
hand and said: "A life.". She repeated the words and moved her hands a
bit as though they were pans on a balance. Then she declared that she
was sponsoring a youth for the coming year, all of which was very
moving and enrolling. Wild applause followed her declaration.
In addition to the mentors,
assistants, staff, and sponsors of Youth At Risk, many
were there as well.
Landmark Forum Leader
Nancy Zapolski was there,
Landmark Forum Leader
Sandy Bernasik was there, Armand DiCarlo, Center Manager of the New
Center was there, Joan McNeil was there, Tirzah and Maurice Cohen were
there, and many, many, many more people were there, all to acknowledge
and honor a man who has given so much and contributed so enormously to
their lives and to Life itself.
The venue was beautiful, and the fund raising auction directed by an
auctioneer from PBS's ie Public Broadcasting
Service's Traveling Road Show was fun. The buffet was
exquisitely presented, and the food was delicious.
I trust you now have a sense of what it was like to be present for a
most wonderful evening of acknowledgment. I am so happy I was there!
Completion Is Not An End - It Is The Real Possibility Of A New Start
In March 1971, Werner's stated intention was to create a space in which
people could participate in the transformation of people.