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This fundraiser ended on 03/14/11

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The Jedi School Foundation\'s aim is to set up a nonprofit distance education program for children, but we first need to establish ourselves as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit with the IRS. A full disclosure of spending is available upon request.

In 1996, a woman by the name of Sarah Stone took on a student by the name of Ray Jenson. Ray, a troubled young man with a checkered past, learned what she had to teach, and took every opportunity to better himself. Coming from a background of sexual, physical, emotional and even ritual abuse, Ray was on the path to continue this abuse on others.

But with Sarah's intervention, Ray became focused on a much different path: one of helping other people. Taking on vows in the year 2000 to that effect, Ray began to practice a religious belief which he felt a strong connection to, yet was ill-suited to continue. As a member of the clergy, Ray's duties required a high degree of personal sacrifice, and all the while Sarah's instruction seemed to help him to become aware that the religious side of things was not as important as spiritual development.

In 2002, Sarah died from simple old age, childless and poor, but writing a portion of a letter which indicated a legacy of some kind. But she never finished it, dying in mid-stroke. For years, Ray wondered just what kind of a legacy she was leaving, but kept up the things that she had taught him: meditational prayer, spiritual awareness, practical healing (not the mystical "faith" healing, but helping people through counseling), and understanding others through one's own experiences.

For 7 years, Ray continued to learn, getting married and having a life of his own, and also learning new lessons. And in the summer of 2009, almost to the day 7 years after Sarah's death, Ray finally understood the legacy: it was to teach children.

Since then, Ray has been working to develop a team of dedicated individuals who want to start this school and develop it into a learning center which teaches children from the age of 2, all the way through adult academics. And Sarah thought that an education in world religions was so very important that she insisted that Ray learn everything he could, and expressed a regret that he hadn't been under her tutelage since a very young age.

Our team wants to create a school which is interfaith in nature, which appeals to youth in a way which engenders excitement about education in science, technology, philosophy and even politics (e.g., doing what's right instead of focusing solely on practicality), and which prepares students for the realities of a harsh world which often victimizes those who are poorly-prepared to handle truths about greed, anger, hate, and so on. The school will be private, religious, and nonprofit. We would screen potential students for their ethics and morals, rather than requiring them to be a member of one of the many Jedi groups out there (simply because it's so very difficult to tell which are not actually religious, as there are humanists and atheists who have adopted the Jedi philosophy).

So why "Jedi"? The simple answer: because it's what the Jedi belief teaches. The newly-founded Jedi religion is a syncretistic belief system, meaning that there are a number of other religious beliefs which have been adopted. While not truly universalist, there is a universal appeal to truth, respect of others, and interdependence which supersedes religion.

Besides, what kid wouldn't want to go to school to become a Jedi?

(Note: Sorry, Steve... you're 30, you're too old for that. You're just going to have to wait until they can build the college portion of it, or go to a secular college.)

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