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INSPIRATION

Articles

Shawn Hardnett: Beacon Of Hope For Our Youth

Going above and beyond to educate those who need it most, he illuminates their future, offers a role model, and makes them a part of a legacy. He was told that North Forest was a “wasteland in Houston.” That was exactly why he was determined to go. Though weary from years of work in the struggling education system in New York, he was focused on entering one of the lowest performing districts in Texas as a force of change. Educational Reset “We opened the school for black and brown boys, taking the lowest performing demographic out of the lowest performing district. Now, these kids are outperforming the state in Reading and Math,” says Shawn Hardnett. His title is Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys Public Charter School. That said, he has proudly worn many other worthy titles – school founder, leadership coach, principal, educational consultant and, most notably – teacher.  What Hardnett does may not be obvious to the casual observer, but his results clearly are, and they are profound. You can see it

The Ultimate Gift: An Unforgettable Father’s Day

One young man’s Father’s Day gift completely changed life as he knew it. Grateful fathers around the country crack their smiles as they read their child’s handmade Father’s Day card and open up their gift to find the proverbial mug or clothing item. But for one stepdad, this past Father’s Day brought a gift beyond measure, an unforgettable surprise to last a lifetime and beyond. It started like any other Father’s Day. Unsuspecting Donzell Powell, a successful real estate investor based out of Suffolk, Virginia, was being treated to the usual Father’s Day activities. His 17-year-old stepson, Keon Wiggins, had something extraordinary in store for the stepdad he loved. Wiggins desired to give the ultimate gift in gratitude for all his stepdad had done in his life. What could he give that would be more meaningful than anything money could buy? In Gratitude Wiggins recognized it took an extraordinary man with a big heart to take him and his mother into his life. Powell was willing to take on the role of stepfather and created a loving, nurturing relationship with

Bobby and Tia Norfleet: A Win for All

Like father, like daughter. They’re setting the pace for equality on and off the track. Bobby Norfleet is in a race without a finish line. As a retired NASCAR driver, he is no stranger to competition, overcoming obstacles, and achieving one’s goals, but his drive wouldn’t let him stop after his laps were done. Norfleet is now retired, but as one of the pioneer African American NASCAR racers, he says he’s obligated to introduce more African Americans to the joys of NASCAR racing. He vowed to not let injustice, ignorance, or bigotry stand in his or other African Americans way as they pursue the sport. Instead, he’s gone full-throttle to help NASCAR become more inclusive by mentoring other African American drivers. And, his most prized protege — his daughter Tia Norfleet — is on her way to her victory lap. Getting off the Back Roads Born in 1960 in Savannah, Georgia, during the Civil Rights era, Norfleet heard about protests and sit-ins to overcome ideologies associated with white supremacy, black inferiority, and segregation. Norfleet remembers watching his brothers street race

Painless Payment Plans

A groundbreaking humanitarian initiative gives patients access to free medical care in exchange for community service. Healthcare is so expensive in America. Did you know that medical debts are the leading cause of individual bankruptcies in the United States? Moreover, more than 65% of these patients utilize their insurance but still can’t cover the bill. Now, imagine if you could volunteer your time instead of paying your medical debt. Well, Dr. Demetrio Aguila III is a Nebraska-based plastic surgeon who is allowing his patients to do just that. He is also the president and CEO of Healing Hands of Nebraska, a medical and multi-specialty surgical practice that offers surgical solutions to chronic pain, as well as surgical treatments for conditions of the nose, throat, and ears. “I see too many people who need surgery, but just can’t afford it,” he says. “I decided to make it fair, as long as people agreed to pay the goodness forward.” Through his surgeries, Dr. Aguila has helped the immobile walk, veterans recover from chronic pain, alleviate the pressures of sinusitis, and many more

Victorious Visions and Triumph

He uses the power of graffiti art and poetry to compel viewers to protect their eyes from the damaging effects of blue and LED lights. His is a story of not just hope but of victory. His art springs forth from what he calls “Victorious Visions and Triumphs.” Relying on God and the universe, his prayer is to bring out Victorious visions one day at a time and to bring out the greatness that is a reflection of God. “Many pray for God to put something inside them. I realize it is the opposite; we have the resources within us and must learn to bring them out,” says the award-winning, multi-talented, and leading influencer, Tony Cruz. Visionary Bronx Legend PRESERVING A CULTURAL ART FORM. A MOMENT IN TIME WITH BRONX GRAFFITI LEGEND RAM 2 SIX TRAIN BOYS 1980S. PRODUCED BY @gforcetrackz pic.twitter.com/NUCf7BaOYv — TONY CRUZ RAM2 (@TONYCRUZRAM2) September 19, 2017 His urban surroundings and life in the boroughs of a world capital inspired Cruz. In 1984, he created a business model, monetizing his graffiti art talent to create advertising design

Guardians of the Children: Protecting Our Priceless Resource

Biker heroes serve to shield and protect the powerless victims of child abuse. They’re not just another biker club rumbling down the open road. They are not a Motorcycle club at all. Rough looking on the outside, they’re soft on the inside when it comes to kids, especially victims of child abuse. Meet Guardians of the Children (GOC), a non-profit biker organization formed in 2006 by Founders “LT” Trevino and “Bamm-Bamm” Cano whose members protect abused and neglected children. GOC’s members cover a broad range of professions united in a cause through their love of motorcycles. As bikers, they leverage their alliances to serve victims and their families. More Than Bikers “We’re an organization within the biker community,” says the Vice President of San Antonio Chapter. “It’s a matter of dedication to the lifestyle — we’re a group of volunteers that uses the image of the biker to help us in our mission, but we’re not living out the full lifestyle that the motorcycle clubs do.” GOC benefits communities by informing the public of how widespread the child abuse crisis

Fed with Faith: Where Hope and Compassion Reign

A life transformed, one man’s journey leads to honoring God by feeding and caring for the homeless. One Man’s Journey At 50, Jean Manganaro knows firsthand what it’s like to be homeless. Just before his 16th birthday, he came home to find his parents had left and abandoned him. He came from a dysfunctional family where there was abuse and alcohol. Wandering through the streets of South Florida, he sought scraps and shelter where he could, but there was no place for kids to stay or programs that he could turn to for help. Drugs and alcohol provided temporary oblivion, but his troubles soon found him in juvenile hall. Years passed as his life stagnated in the streets with dependency on substance abuse. At age 29, he turned his life over to God finding strength to become sober. He attended a 12-step meeting and met a man who offered him a place to live. Manganaro was given two weeks free rent but had to find a job during that time and start paying rent at the end of the two-week period.

Bethany Hamilton: Discover Hope in the Hard Things

We all have a story. And we are currently living it out. Gradually twisting and turning with sweet victories and sometimes bitter defeats. A mixture of honey and salt, like lemons and lemonade. Large or small, we encounter challenges as we live out our stories. Maybe you know “salt” as trials, tribulations, tests, traumas, hurdles, bumps in the road, setbacks, or heartbreaks. But regardless of the name, these more difficult aspects of life are part of the human experience. Where we differ is in whether we let the hard things we encounter define us. Does this salt enhance the flavor of our life or is it overpowering and making it something we can’t quite stomach? My story shifted significantly when I was 13. Faced with a trauma that altered my body, I had to answer: how will this affect my story? Fortunately, back then I had a steadfast mindset that presented only one option: move forward in faith and trust that out of bad can come good. Without knowing it I maintained a perspective that was focused on achieving the

Third Half Advisors: Bridging the Gap for Post-Career Professionals

A post-retirement consulting venture helps retiring boomers navigate through their “third half” in life. At last, retirement has finally arrived! So well deserved, it is the crowning achievement of a hard-working career, the off-ramp of a demanding, challenging profession. You’ve looked forward to this for so long, and now you can finally bask on that sunny Florida beach, sleep in, play golf, spend more time with the grandkids. No more fighting rush hour traffic, working late night hours, meeting deadlines, or crafting that perfect presentation, just lots and lots of R&R … maybe too much R&R. Living in the fast lane juggling responsibilities, goals, number crunching, project management, family, and then suddenly switching to a slower-paced lifestyle can be jarring to one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Some may view this as being led out to pasture and envision themselves sitting among old folks nodding off in front of a television. It’s a scary thought for those who feel they still have so much to contribute and crave a sense of fulfillment like their successful careers once gave them. Retiring with

Diane Latiker: Chicago South Side’s Founder Of “Kids Off The Block” (KOB)

Chicago South Side’s Ms. Diane opens her heart and home for at-risk youths to realize their potential. A Memorial Like No Other Another stone is placed on a memorial wall in Roseland, a neighborhood in Chicago. Bearing a name and date, the stone is carefully and lovingly displayed among the other 800 stones that have been collecting there since 2007. The wall is a sad testament of young lives cut short by the barrel of a gun. Worse yet, the wall has been rebuilt 15 times since 2007, and is over 400 stones behind! Diane Latiker, a community activist and founder of Kids Off the Block (KOB), set up the memorial wanting to shock “her community and the youth she served,”  KOB is a non-profit started in 2003 in Roseland, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, where walking home from school could mean dodging a gauntlet of bullets. Even Latiker is not immune to her neighborhood’s violence. Her own van was found shot up by gangs. On another occasion, she says she found herself between two guns with