Landmark Education Inspires Project: Forgive
May 17, 2012
The Landmark Forum empowers Detroit man to forgive the drunk driver who killed his family
[DETROIT] Gary Weinstein’s story of forgiving the drunk driver who killed his wife and two sons inspired a documentary film and campaign called Project: Forgive recently featured on CNN. Weinstein says the tools he got through Landmark Education helped him deal with the tragedy and ultimately forgive the man responsible for the deaths of his wife and children. The film which is due to be released next year is being produced by his friend and fellow Landmark graduate Shawne Duperon.
Weinstein says in the film that he realized that he needed to forgive, for the friends of his children, for other members of the community in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and for his own future.
The day Weinstein got the horrible news about his family, he stood at a virtual fork in the road with an important choice to make. “The doctor said, no one made it, and in that moment, I realized I was alone,” Weinstein recounts. “But what I knew was, I was the one who was going to get myself up out of bed the next morning. I was the one that had to answer for my actions from that point forward. We are not what happens to us. Who we get to be is who we say we are going to be in the world.”
The ability of people to choose how they will respond to what happens in life is a central tenet of Landmark Education’s programs. For Weinstein, being able to forgive the drunk driver that killed his family grew out of the knowledge that regardless of the circumstances, he had a say in how he was going to respond: he could choose whether to remain bitter and stuck in the circumstances of what had happened, or choose to move forward. “What was there for me was, I need to move on,” he says.
Weinstein, his late wife, Judy, and family friend, Duperon, had all done The Landmark Forum, the flagship program offered by Landmark Education. The personal and professional growth, training and development company has had more than 1.3 million people around the world use its programs to cause breakthroughs in their personal lives, careers and communities.
Coincidentally, Duperon was friends with both Weinstein and the person who was driving the other car in the accident, Tom Wellinger. Wellinger is currently serving time in prison for the accident. There were several ways in which the Weinsteins, the Wellingers and Duperon’s lives were connected: Duperon’s children had babysat the Weinstein children. She knew and loved Judy Weinstein. Also, Wellinger’s ex-wife was also Duperon’s partner in a monthly Mastermind group designed to sharpen business and personal skills. What’s more, Weinstein and Wellinger lived within a mile of each other in Farmington Hills, a suburb of Detroit.
After the accident, when Weinstein met Wellinger, who had been driving drunk, his first question of the man responsible for his family’s death was: “How are your kids?” Since then, he has reached out to Wellinger and asked to speak to his children to help them heal.
Project: Forgive, Duperon says, is a deep inquiry into what forgiveness is. It examines “what happens when we forgive, what happens when we don’t.” She is soliciting stories of forgiveness worldwide to be featured in the documentary and companion DVD and book series.
“Gary’s story was the catalyst for this film and one of many that we will explore,” she says. It is her hope that the finished documentary will inspire people to view seemingly unforgivable situations in a new way and perhaps even contribute to a cultural shift in forgiveness and healing.
As of April 23, 2012, Project: Forgive had surpassed a $100,000 fundraising goal as people across the Web pitched in to show their support. Learn more at http://www.landmarkeducation.com and www.shawneduperon.presskit247.com.
Landmark Education is a personal and professional growth, training and development company that has had more than 1.3 million people use its programs to cause breakthroughs in their personal lives as well as in their communities, generating more than 100,000 community projects around the world. In The Landmark Forum, Landmark’s flagship program, people cause breakthroughs in their performance, communication, relationships and overall satisfaction in life. For more information, please visit http://www.landmarkeducation.com.