Plans Possible–Actions Needed–Results Desired

On this page:

  1. Mission and Vision (desired results, why, how, progress, support…)
  2. Goals and Scope of Work (what we aim to do with partners)
  3. Seven Areas of Calling and Impact Needed


To empower citizens, communities, and country
to PLAN and LEAD in LIFE.

Vision for 3 Priorities

I. Plan for School and Life

Vision: Students write plans for school and life while in school preparing for college, career, character. College students continue, expand, and improve plans for the 7 Areas of Life Professionals and family members continue to develop plans that inspire and guide them.

This fulfills a best practice for student development that helps students increase sense of purpose and “grit” to do their best more often because of enhanced attitude leading to improved attendance and achievement, including graduation and especially, “college and career ready.” Students use their plans for assignment grades with teachers and with parents, counselors, mentors, and applications to college or career. College students expand plans for college and life, adding draft professional plans that inspire them to prepare and to use seeking opportunities.

The State adds a positive brand for positive, common sense applications that lead to improved student achievement, graduation rates, and national rankings, and a workforce better prepared for productivity and true professionalism.

Because: A+ fulfillment of student and professional development requires a plan–student development literature already calls for this–we just need to implement.

Alumni and parents want this addition, especially for their children. Approximately one of four students do not even finish high school, intended to be a fundamental academic preparation for success and good citizenship.

If the legislature has been funding what they can and teachers have been doing what they can, then it makes sense to focus more on a third component–to help students develop more purpose and personal leadership and character traits like “courage” and “perseverance”–if we don’t it seems we are choosing to accept what we have been getting.

Plans enhance sense of purpose, which increases attitude, attendance, and achievement leading to more “grit” and perseverance (a school character trait) toward graduation and “readiness.” If we are already doing most all you think you can with school leadership and teacher performance, adding self-reliance to students is a workable strategy that will have more long-term benefits related to developing citizenship.

At the college and university level, only a few schools report 70-75% of students finish. At many schools, the success rate for graduation is less than half, even less than one in four. At the college level, personal leadership including sense of purpose, time priorities, and habits, often determine if the student finishes–more than academic ability. Many students think they are as busy as they can be though are investing less than 20 hours per week in college work. If we help them assess what they are doing, choose a vision to invest 30 or 40 hours, and teach them how, more students will graduate and learn valuable skill needed on the job and wanted by professionals.

Strategy: research, development, publication, and posting free or low cost online resources to help teachers and students state-wide and nationally–web pages, books and planbooks, videos, presentations….

Advise and assist leaders with vision for student development to add requirements, rewards, and resources needed for implementation and sustainability. And, persist to advise and assist state leaders guiding requirements to put motivators in place to support desired behaviors. Key implementers include educational leaders and teachers, executives and HR professionals, human services organizations, coaches and mentors, civic club leaders, ministers of education, and other motivated citizens. Leaders of these groups must put processes in place to reward action for sustainability.

Life Leaders publishes online planbooks such as Plan for School and Life, Plan for College and Life, Plan for the 7 Areas of Life…all intended to help students and professionals to PLAN and LEAD in LIFE.

Life Leaders seeks to serve government, education, and human service organizations to reach the next level in the movement to add plans for life and best-self leadership in schools, colleges, universities, professional, and spiritual organizations as part of a brand for schools, other development organizations, and the state fulfilling Freedom to Flourish.

Progress: Life Leaders is the longest-running nonprofit in Alabama, perhaps the U.S., teaching, advocating, and serving leaders and personal development advocates to help people write plans for life and learn personal leadership princaiples. Dr. Dyson started efforts in 1973 to help students get this added preparation. Life Leaders adopted this goal by 1993.

We have made progress through efforts, though sustainability will come after schools require and reward students to do this recommended action.

Our first public seminar was hosted January 1992. Over 250 seminars have been sponsored to advance planning, personal leadership, and professional development. Pilot classes have been taught in Birmingham City Schools on Veterans Day History, Freedom of Rights, and plan for 10 Character Traits. Life Planning and Leadership was taught at Birmingham-Southern College and UAB School of Engineering. Radio shows, videos, and blogs on Planning, Best-Self Leadership, and Master Your Goliaths support people and this purpose. Google Ads invite the public to preview and print publications to use at no cost. And, we have added Life Leaders Ranch Day events for students to help inspire them to PLAN and LEAD in LIFE aided by experiences with horses and activities in nature.
For more Progress…

Partners: foundations and friends provide advocacy to leaders and key implementers, volunteerism, and/or money for the mission. They subscribe or follow as many as possible of our communications for their information, use, and sharing: journal, email, blogs on Facebook, and posts on Instagram.
Take Action.

II. Veterans Day Founding History & Character Education

Vision: Teachers of millions of students know the “who, when, where, why” national history of America’s Veterans Day starting in Alabama so they can teach this often-missing history. Alabama schools teach why America’s take a day off annually to commemorate veterans of all U.S. wars connected to the Civil Rights Movement and creation of Freedom to Flourish.

American educators know and teach that Veterans Day started in Alabama in 1947, endorsed by General Eisenhower (1946) and honored by President Reagan (1982). School character traits are taught supporting this history–these are five of the 25 adopted by Alabama in 1995 for instruction for 10 minutes per day: Patriotism, Courage, Perseverance, Loyalty, and Citizenship. These additional character traits and values should be taught, we believe, especially in Alabama: Freedom, Trust, Honor, Peace, and Leadership.

Dr. David Dyson speaks to elementary school students in Hoover, hosted by two students in the class, great-granddaughters of the Founder of National Veterans Day. The teacher made this happen to correct a mistake. Without having material on Veterans Day Founding Education, she taught what she found on the Internet, which stated Veterans Day started in another state. She learned soon of the unintentional confusion and embarrassment felt by two of her students because their great-grandfather started Veterans Day seven years.

After 70+ years of presenting good events with good media coverage, only 1% of Americans know this national history of “who, where, when” National Veterans Day started–and even in the founding State of Alabama, less than 50% know. We need to keep the good and add strategy to succeed and sustain.

We could succeed if every student (future graduate and patriotic citizen) learned in at least one grade the history and character traits of Veterans Day. If state curricula requires the missing lessons to be taught, Life Leaders can provide the material online for the teachers of millions of students.

Because: Less than 1% nationally know this positive history. Alabama is losing national brand, event and tourism revenue because some national veteran, educational, and patriotic organization event planners do not know they should consider Alabama for their annual meetings. More in Birmingham (the founding city) have additional awareness (perhaps 50%) thanks to annual news stories though successful education to all citizens for city, state, and nation fall short because this history and character education has not been required. Our educators can make a difference by implementing, and Life Leaders can advise, assist, and provide resources to succeed better and faster.

Prior to our escalated involvement rising in 2012, more online resources used by well-intentioned teachers cited erroneously that another state started Veterans Day (7 years after it actually happened in Birmingham). The state credited with this official recognition contributed to the national movement, though Alabama started the holiday seven years earlier (1947). Mr. Weeks, founder, invested 40 years starting and growing Veterans Day, though he had officially lost his legacy. In 2012, we (Patriotism in Action program of Life Leaders) led the campaign to the U.S. Senate for a resolution to correct the official history, approved November 2012. We can learn from this lesson: event and education are required for sustainability.

Strategy: provide the nation’s top web site for teachers, historians, and media professionals on the founding of National Veterans Day history. Provide free online resources supported by training and coaching for inspired educators, historians, and media–web pages, book, poster, videos, teaching materials, lessons on 10 character traits, events, social media, plus Google Ads providing free resources. Partner with National Veterans Day as historian, help them create web pages for teachers connected to our complete collection.

Progress: Education partner with National Veterans Day and serve as Historian and Author for National Veterans Day. After the “9-11” attacks on America, we wrote and published Patriotism in Action: The Founding of Veterans Day in Alabama. Since then, our Patriotism in Action program has presented Personal Leadership for Patriots and Tribute to the Founder of Veterans Day. We developed, host, and support the top U.S. web site with free resources for Veterans Day Founding Education. Google ads with links invite visitors to free online teaching resources. Programs and posters have been presented in schools such as Birmingham City Schools, Hoover, Vestavia…Teacher Conference at American Village, Freedom Institute for City of Birmingham, Boy Scouts…. And, we have presented at major veterans organizations. Our book on the history is presented to the National Veteran Award honoree and national officers of veteran organizations visiting for National Veterans Day annually.
More Progress…

III. Advance Alabama

Vision: Alabama is branded nationally for college football and civil rights, especially among millions who have not lived or visited here. And, we can add positive branding for the city and state that started America’s National Veterans Day and the connections to Freedom–Freedom of Liberty, Freedom of Rights, and Freedom to Flourish–before Birmingham hosts the World Games in 2021.

Because: Most students are missing important and inspiring history with applicable character traits. The State of Alabama is losing positive branding and revenue from events, tourism, and commerce. The opportunity is for Alabama to lead on events and education related to Veterans Day, Civil Rights, and Plan for School and Life. The message: We have Freedom to Flourish and we take action on common sense to become good citizens. The positive brand can include standing for patriotism, freedom, rights, and good citizenship.

Strategy: Provide online resources (web pages, blogs on social media, Google ads) supported by speaking, training, and coaching for inspired visionary government leaders who can advance policy, educators who can add lesson plans and requirements, civic club presenters, historians, and media who can help educate and inspire the public.

Progress: Our Patriotism in Action team led the campaign resulting in the U.S. Senate passing a new resolution restoring historical leadership for starting America’s Veterans Day for the State of Alabama (after Congress passed an earlier resolution giving credit to another state that started their Veterans Day commemorations seven years after Birmingham). With the help of government leaders, educators, and other patriots, the 40-year legacy of Raymond Weeks and of Alabama has been restored. Now, we can implement for greater results and sustainability.

The Governor of Alabama presented to Life Leaders a proclamation supporting our work and call to action. The Mayor of Birmingham presented a proclamation to us in a presentation at a public City Council meeting.

Dr. Dyson served on the Freedom Institute Faculty for “50 Years Forward” for the City of Birmingham (1963-2013). We host the Advance Alabama blog on Facebook as well as Central Alabama Positive News and Possibilities. Additional blogs including Veterans Day Founding Education, Freedom to Flourish, and Freedom City.
For more Progress

Beyond the Mission

In addition to serving as the lead resource in the nation for Veterans Day Founding History and Character Education and the lead resource in Alabama for Plan for School and Life, we also seek to serve as significant resources for our other areas of calling. Beyond that, we intend to cooperate with other nonprofits such as Raleigh’s Place (foster children), University of Montevallo (Environmental Studies and Student Success), and various animal shelters and service groups in Central Alabama.

Goals and Scope of Work

BSC students at Goals, Resolutions & Personal Leadership class held in conjunction with a Life Leaders seminar

Plan for School and the 7 Areas of Life
Increase College-Career-Character Readiness
Increase Satisfaction of Alumni, Parents, Students

  1. Plan for College-Career-Character classes, handouts, templates to use: planbook and program teachers can use–online, presentations and advice, plus in school pilots improving printed and video materials.
  2. Goals and Resolutions Planbook: written, published, and posted for students and the public to use.
  3. Google ads Alabama and nationally offering educational resources and individual tools to teachers and speakers: planbooks, video, web.
  4. Plan for College and Life planbook (to help more students stay in school and perform at a higher level of commitment).
  5. Plan for School and Life planbook (to boost attitude and achievement in high school through planning for character-career-citizenship).
  6. Publications free to Alabama Department of Education.
  7. Publications free to College of Education deans.
  8. Mission and Vision handout for college students preparing to teach and professors (given to parents & students) template and video.
  9. Life Leaders Ranch Day for students to develop goals, plans, character traits such as courage.
  10. Master Your Goliaths Planbook
  11. Veterans Making Comebacks Planbook: Look in the Mirror Assessment
  12. Veterans Making Comebacks Planbook: Goals & Actions to Develop
  13. Best-Self Strategy Planbook: 7 Best Practices to Plan & Lead your Life
  14. Professionalism Under Stress book free online (for serious cadets, cadre, civilian students) free for reading at Life Leaders web site and added to Amazon for Kindle readers.
  15. Free blogs on Facebook for the 7 callings and more: Plan for School and Life, Best-Self Leadership, Master Your Goliaths, Veterans Day Education, Patriotism in Action, Advance Alabama.
  16. Financial Fitness Planbook
  17. Attitude and Ability Planbook to Assess and Develop A-B Levels
  18. 7 Motivating Values Planbook
  19. Life Leaders Journal
  20. Google ads offering free public access to publications.

Veterans Day Founding History, Character,
and Leadership Education

The Veterans Day Founded in Alabama poster is a resource to display at school events, classes on history and character, city halls, veteran organizations, and tourism venues.
The newest poster lists 10 character traits.
  1. Provide the #1 web pages for teachers, government leaders, civic club speakers, historians, and media–handouts, videos, slides…
  2. Serve as Historian and Author for National Veterans Day.
  3. National Veterans Day web page content for teachers and other visitors and link to/from our Veterans Day Founding Education pages.
  4. Patriotism in Action book that tells the history of starting Veterans Day and patriotic guide–publish, post for student/public access.
  5. Poster that summarizes the history lessons for Veterans Day Founded in Alabama and 10 character traits to teach in schools.
  6. Video: How National Veterans Day started in Alabama (<5 min.).
  7. Google ads to reach teachers, students, veterans, patriots nationally.
  8. Video channel playlist for Veterans Day Founding Education.
  9. Blogs on Facebook: Veterans Day Founding Education, Patriotism in Action, Freedom to Flourish, Freedom City….
  10. Civic club presentation resources for presenters to use: video, handout

Advance Alabama

  1. Brand Alabama as the founding state of America’s Veterans Day–web page, publications, Google Ads in the state plus nationally.
  2. Brand Alabama further for the emerging national initiative to help schools help students write Plans for School and Life to improve achievement,
  3. Google Ads targeted for state, nation, selected countries in the World Games 2021 hosted in Birmingham, video channel posts, publications.
  4. Advance Alabama blog on Facebook.
  5. Freedom to Flourish blog on Facebook.
  6. Freedom City blog on Facebook.
  7. Google ads taking media and interested people in key World Games countries to our information branding Alabama positively for national and international contributions to Veterans Day, Civil Rights, Student Achievement–supporting the team leading Birmingham’s efforts.
  8. Advocate to City of Birmingham and Alabama to assist on improved strategy and implementation to provide information to media and visitors from World Games countries before 2021.

Additional Supporting Initiatives

  1. Character Traits
  2. Agricultural Sustainability & Personal Leadership Planbook.
  3. Class for Personal Environmental Leadership.
  4. Ranch and Farm seminars for students with horses, plus support public service and policy for protection of animals.


  1. Nov 10, 4 pm: Tribute to the Founder of Veterans Day, Weeks Monument, Linn Park, Birmingham
  1. Available: Plan for College, Career, Character & the 7 Areas of Life
  2. Student Success
  3. Best-Self Leadership seminar to PLAN and LEAD in LIFE.
  4. Life Leadership Ranch Experience


  1. Life Leaders Ranch Day for Camp Rockhurst (students improve plans for life, learn of personal leadership, and equine-assisted coaching…).
    Personal Leadership for Patriots at the Southern Museum of Flight.
  2. Flag Day/Memorial Day 2019 in honor of Col. Bob (USA Ret) & Nancy Barefield and memory of Col. Stretch Dunn (USA Ret).
  3. Life Planning and Leadership courses at Birmingham-Southern College
  4. Lectures at the University of Montevallo.
  5. Summer Camp seminar for GEAR UP.
  6. 250+ months with public seminars on planning, personal leadership, and/or patriotism in action.

7 Areas of Calling Impact

I. Help people Plan and Lead in Life

1. Best-Self Leadership: so students and professionals learn common denominators of doing our best regardless of academic, professional, or other life choice with a written strategy for doing our best we can use and teach, proving ourselves better prepared to serve.
Best-Self Leadership

2. Plan for School and the 7 Areas of Life: so youth (and the adults teaching them) each write a plan in school to inspire and guide them with improved attitude, attendance, and achievement, help parents and counselors know intent better so they can advise better, plus help students communicate, attract, and match with college and career opportunities. Plan for School & 7 Areas of Life

3. Master Your Goliaths: so people know better how to set goals and resolutions to help them develop and achieve, assess and change, and overcome threats and challenges to benefit them and society while learning a process they can use again.
Master Your Goliaths

II. Advance Freedom, Patriotism, Veterans Day Founding Education

4. Patriotism in Action: events to advance more people taking action in addition to feeling patriotic spirit. Events promote personal leadership, true professionalism, and appreciation for military and veterans, first-responders, and families who serve and sacrifice for freedoms.
Patriotism in Action

5. Veterans Day Founding History and Character Traits Education: so schools add missing education so students can learn the national history of America’s Veterans Day starting in Alabama connected to 10 character traits: patriotism, courage, perseverance, loyalty, and citizenship, as well as honor, freedom, peace, trust, leadership. Alabama informs and benefits better from national movements led here connected to freedoms.
Veterans Day History & Character Education

6. Freedom to Flourish: so more students know Freedom Lives, how, and they have Freedom to Flourish because of liberty and rights and learn best practices for how to flourish, plus implement with a plan to develop capacity and commitment for fulfilling callings and choices.
Freedom Lives/Freedom to Flourish

7. Advance Alabama: Alabama has opportunity to be branded positively in our nation and globally as a leader advancing freedoms of liberty and rights, as well as freedom to flourish, before the World Games in Birmingham, 2021.

III. Events for people to plan, develop, renew with animals

1. Farm and Ranch: Life Leaders offers educational and personal/group enrichment programs for those seeking to plan, improve, renew, or make comebacks in a unique program to think, plan, and implement to improve results and habits–in nature with animals also needing sanctuary.
Farm & Ranch for Animals and People 

Plans, programs, and pages for these 7 callings will continue to improve.
Suggestions of ideas or introductions to people who may be looking for us: or 205.422.6484

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