ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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AS IT’S THE PEOPLE with you along the way who

make the journey fulfilling, exciting, and worthwhile; I’d like

to acknowledge my entire family. My mother always showed

unconditional support and my father always told me to go for

it; thank you. Harold and Paula Freund have been married

for half of a century, and as parents they taught me that each

day is important, each day is special, and each day should be

valued. I have learned from them and the way they lived their

lives.

I’d like to acknowledge and remember my grandmother,

Matilda Levinsky, who was a female role model before it was

fashionable. Her no-nonsense strength and loyalty to “her

own,” along with her indelible spirit showed me the way. My

grandfather, Julius Levinsky, was our family’s link to who we

are. I live by the example they both set. It is through the lives

of my grandparents that I find strength, wisdom, and insight.

Much gratitude goes to the people who have embraced

this project from the beginning. To Lyudmila Bloch, a woman

who makes her own accomplishments look seamless, thanks

for the encouragement, optimism, and assistance. To every

 “living legend” and “eminent achiever” who contributed a

narrative to the book, thank you for taking time out of your

busy lives to write and express your thoughts and to share a

little bit of what makes you the people you are today.

Kids Who Think Outside the Box is a tribute to children

who have an innate sense of self and possess individuality:

the talent and distinctiveness needed to reach for the stars. I

acknowledge those significant educators in the lives of my

children who recognize the importance of embracing children’s

differences and have walked that extra mile to guide them on

their way to the finish line.

Special thanks to my husband who has persevered relentlessly

on behalf of our family; it’s always recognized. To Joe

Checkler, the best and most efficient writer and participant

a project could ever have. A very special thank you to Anita

Gill, you did a fabulous job. Great research and writing . . .

you will be quite a success at whatever you do. Larry Davidson,

for the countless calls and stimulating discussions, you

are officially appreciated.

Morgen, Chelsae, and Spencer, I say your names repeatedly

every day, and yet when I think about it, I still can’t

believe you’re mine. You are three distinct individuals with

three different smiles, three special hearts, and three different

outlooks on life—enjoy your journey. You’ll do great!

Stephanie Lerner