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Press Release

Make a Lifeboard

Press release date: 2007-09-27

Sample Activity from Success Express for Teens Activity 11




Gather pictures and quotations from photo albums, magazines, newspapers, and websites, then arrange them on a poster board to depict your life visually.


The life board is your own personal creation, a mirror that you alone make to see who you were, who you are, and what you still dream of becoming.

Regrettably, the first time I heard about this project I immediately judged it as too elementary for me, so I didn't do it. A year later, I learned about this concept again as a classroom teaching tool and decided to assign it to my seniors. As with all projects I required of students, I completed a life board, too. Doing the work myself, I discovered its power.

The concept is very simple. Purchase a standard sized poster board and make a visual representation of your life. You may put absolutely anything on your life board that has meaning for you. Find favorite pictures and old family photographs. Cut out words or phrases from magazines and newspapers that describe you, or illustrate your likes, your priorities, your personal passions. Make a photocopy of your first paycheck. Find a brochure of your dream vacation spot. Search for a picture, word, or logo from your church, your neighborhood, your school, your favorite extracurricular organization.

Print out your favorite prayer or poem, or a paragraph from the book that most inspires you. Include a still from a movie that changed your life. Find pictures of your personal heroes-those you know, those you'd like to meet, those from past history.

Dig out a ribbon you won at summer camp, one of the ribbons from your Homecoming mum, a picture of you with your biggest trophy, the "I love you" note from your first crush. Keep digging. Find any and everything you can. When you're done, you will have your entire life encapsulated on a single poster. Once you have compiled all that you want to include, arrange everything on the board. Be creative. There are no limits to how the board may look. My students have cut their boards into shapes, like a heart, or have carved out their initials or silhouette.

Let the arrangement as well as your pictures depict who you are. I am a very systematic person, so I arranged my pictures by priorities. Because spirituality is the core of my life, I put symbols for that in the center of my life board. Above them, I have pictures of my family. Arranged clockwise around the board are major goals; favorite adult pastimes, favorite books, movie, television show, and singers; childhood memories, and finally, lifelong dreams.

If you are more carefree, consider making your life board a collage. If you're especially artistic, make yours three-dimensional. I have seen them done innumerable ways, all just as fabulous as any other. Some students have divided the different elements of their life along strips of a rainbow, points of a star, the letters of their name. Some followed theirs from left to right in a lifeline, some like a graph, others around a spiral that met in the center at a single picture of themselves.

When you're done, you can stand outside your life and look at it objectively. Once you've completed your life board, you will have represented your life in its entirety-at least to now. As you gaze at your finished product, see how you have gone one step further toward creating your life. Everything on the board is a life choice that you've made. These are the parts of your life that you use to define yourself. They are the elements that you have either created yourself, or have freely accepted as a part of your life because you were willing to say yes to them. Celebrate what you have created, and whenever you feel blue or forget all that you already have in your life, take another look at your life board. It very well could be the greatest tool for gratitude you will ever have.

If you like, make your life board a constant work in progress. Although I personally prefer to leave my life board as is and make new ones at different stages of my life, you might prefer to keep adding to and subtracting from the same one. As you evolve, so will your life board.

Either way, be sure to fully appreciate the life you've depicted. Regularly take out your life board and admire it. The experience you will have gazing at the finished product will evolve as much as you do in the coming years. Think of a favorite book you have read at different stages in your life. Upon your second reading, you probably re-experienced what you initially loved about the book. In the process, you likely also discovered new depth and insight in the book that the younger you, lacking some experience, wasn't able to recognize. In this way, the second reading is twice as valuable: You re-lived the initial awe, and gained new perspectives of the books eloquence and message.

As a literature teacher, I discovered that the impact of some personal favorites never lessens. For me some books were powerful even after reading and teaching them fifty or more times. Each year when I share my life board with new classes, I experience that same personal impact. The thrill of looking at and describing the parts of my life never diminishes. I imagine you will find, as I did, that re-experiencing your life board is even more satisfying than re-reading a favorite book, for the life board is your own personal creation, a mirror that you alone make to see who you were, who you are, and what you still dream of becoming.

The life board is your own personal creation, a mirror that you alone make to see who you were, who you are, and what you still dream of becoming.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

ILL DO IT ON______________________________________________


1. Once you've completed your life board, record some positive
new discoveries you made about yourself.

2. What are some areas of your life that you included on your l
life board for which you would like to make more time? Less time?

3. What are some things missing from your life board that you
would add if you made another life board six months from now?



By observing your life board, what can you clearly see is working
for you in your life right now?________________________
Rate this activity on p. 8

Excerpted with permission from Success Express for Teens: 50 Activities that Will Change Your Life by Roger Leslie (c) 2004, ISBN: 1-886298-09-2, $14.95 trade paperback original, Bayou Publishing, Houston, TX, 800-340-2034,

To request a review copy, discuss running an excerpt from the book, or to arrange an interview with Roger Leslie, please contact Kate Bandos at KSB Promotions,, 800-304-3269 or 616-676-0758, fax 616-676-0759.