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Mensa Educational and Research Foundation’s Award for Intellectual Benefit to Society to be presented to ESL author Elizabeth Claire
Date:1/6/2013

les that she would contribute to such a newspaper...if someone ever started one.

Twenty years later, during a Landmark Education course, the Self-Expression and Leadership Program, Claire found the courage to start such a newspaper...just in Bergen County, New Jersey. Claire found an eager partner, Mariko Sasaki, director of JBC Language, in Fort Lee, New Jersey.They gave the paper out free, hoping to support it by advertising.

Claire wrote the paper, Sasaki sold ads and managed the record keeping. The two of them personally delivered sets of papers each month to schools, libraries, and ethic grocery stores.

The reaction from readers was positive. (Hey, who doesn't like something free?) But the business model consumed a lot of time, energy, and money without generating very much income. The partners decided to sell subscriptions, eliminate advertising, and make Easy English NEWS a national "welcome” newspaper. Would anyone actually pay for it?

Claire, a life-time member of Mensa, found other Mensans to create a team of copy editors. (“It's essential to have expert fact checkers and fault finders,” says Claire.)

“I had no idea how hard writing this newspaper was going to be," she adds. "But I kept going, even after Mariko withdrew to tend to her language school. I took out a home-equity loan, and took on tutoring twelve students to keep the wolf from the door.

“The appreciation from ESL teachers and their students followed after each month''s publication,” says Claire, “and it went to my head. I became addicted to the positive feedback. Compliments took the place of cash-in-the-bank for many years.

“There were a lot of breakdowns,” says Claire: "computer crashes, lost data, a broken elbow, tending to my mother in hospice at home, then my own cancer surgery the following year. Luckily,
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