The 4e Genesis

It all started with an elementary school teacher who was inspired to teach character education on a broader scale. John O'Neill saw a void in the core curriculum and witnessed behavioral issues in the classroom almost daily. His goal was simply to make children aware that they had choices. He shared his inspiration with his lifelong friend Will Rodman, whose background in media and production helped shape the vision. The two set out on a course to merge entertainment with education and create engaging, original programs for children that help fortify character, build confidence and raise self-esteem. They founded 4e Productions, LLC with a mission to "enlighten, empower & enrich everyone." Hence the 4 e's.

The first program to evolve was the musical stage production "Letters to Daddy", but it was originally intended to be a concert for children. O'Neill and Rodman discovered early in the process of developing their company that music was a powerful mechanism to convey messages, especially with children. They also learned the power of peer influence, as they watched their own children embrace ideas or lessons that came from classmates or kid’s television shows ...while the same messages were being dismissed (with plenty of eye rolls) when they came from their parents.

Enter Rilee O'Neill, the teacher's daughter, who was 12 years old when the original album was recorded. Rilee’s talent was evident at an early age, and by the time she was 10 she was captivating audiences throughout Orange County, NY. Performing wasn't the only important thing to Rilee though. She wanted to use her vocal gift to help others. So, 4e and her parents began to develop a program that would enable Rilee to perform songs at local school assemblies that addressed relevant children’s issues, like bullying. The next challenge was to find the right songs. Rodman and O’Neill ideally wanted to create original songs with meaningful messages for kids that would be performed by kids. The search ended at a diner in New Haven, CT, where Rodman, his 9-year-old daughter Caroline, O’Neill and Rilee met with a songwriter named Mark Shepard. Two weeks later, "Dare to Be" was born, a powerful song that encourages individuals to overcome limiting beliefs and pursue their dreams. It was the first of the 12 original songs that are featured in “Letters to Daddy – The Musical Key to Bully-Free” and it was inspired that day at the diner by the two young girls who knew the strength of children's convictions and wanted their voices to matter. Well, they certainly did.