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Dan Pallotta Speech to Kick Off Month of Kindness
(Released: 10/29/01)

By Karen Grava, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- The man who created AIDSRidesUSA and the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Days will speak on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ball room at the University of Connecticut. Dan Pallotta, whose company, Pallotta TeamWorks, is the nation's leading producer of what it calls "human potential events" and which has raised more than $250 million for charities in less than eight years. His talk will kick off the University's Month of Kindness.

It was Pallotta, in fact, who gave Debbie Rubenstein, executive director of Hillel, the idea for the month. Rubenstein participated in the three day, 60 mile walk for breast cancer last summer in Boston and opened discussions with Pallotta about putting together a month focused on acts of kindness. The two decided UConn should inaugurate the month this year and create a prototype that can be taken national next year.

"Dan is an incredible motivator and a wonderful speaker," she said. "He likes to do things that are a challenge for the participants and that really get you thinking."

The Month of Kindness, conceived before the terrorist events of September 11, has taken on new relevance since then, Rubenstein said. "Focusing on being kind to one another really helps you focus on what is truly important to you. We may not be able to change the world all at once, but we can change our neighborhood, our town or city, our state and the way we act with our own circle of friends. We can start small and build from there."

The month is also important because it stresses the need for all members of the community to give back to the community. "Generosity is not only something that you exhibit during the holidays when you buy presents for people. Generosity of spirit -- extending a hand to others --- is truly what is critically important to preserving our society and our humanity," she said.

Pallotta is the author of a new book, When Your Moment Comes: A Guide To Fulfilling Your Dreams By A Man Who Has Led Thousands to Greatness. "Dan's goal is not to make you great, but to help you make yourself great," Rubenstein said. "He wants to you to recognize in yourself the capacity you have to help others and to achieve your potential."

Pallotta's book is described as "Not about getting ahead. It's about getting a heart. Dan shows you how to reclaim your true calling and create the courage to pursue it. He teaches you to overcome obstacles and deal with the desire to quit, guides you as you explore the trap of cynicism, and helps you unveil the awesome power of commitment for yourself."

The son of a construction worker, Pallotta grew up in Malden, Mass. As a Harvard undergraduate, he conceived and organized the first cross-country "Ride to Life," a 4,235 mile bike ride across the country to raise money in 1983. He and 39 other students completed the trip, raising $70,000 for Oxfam-America, an international hunger relief agency.

In 1985, Pallotta moved to California and helped organized the Great Peace March Across America and Hands Across America. He originated the first California AIDSRide in 1994, inspiring thousands of cyclists to raise funds by biking along California's coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In 1998, he began the Avon three-day walk for cancer, which raised more than $5 million in its first year of operation alone. The 3-Days has now expanded from its California base to Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Denver and Seattle.

Numerous student groups are participating in the Month of Kindness, which will close Nov. 28 with a lecture by the director of Amnesty International.

October 2001 Releases
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