AT RISK YOUTH
A few years ago, Joshua flew himself to Indiana to speak at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center, where his good friend, Ken Turner, was then a volunteer chaplain. Joshua's messages were met with enthusiastic response by the young men in that facility. After Joshua had returned home to Atlanta, one of the guards in that facility spoke to Ken and told him that there was a certain young man who had been very depressed since arriving there, and would just sit by himself off in a corner somewhere. He said that he had never seen the young man smile or seem happy, and just a couple of nights before Joshua had arrived there to speak, the guard had been making his rounds, checking each cell, and as he opened the small window in the door of this young man's cell, he saw the young man with a sheet trying to tie it so that he might be able to hang himself. The guard went on to say to Ken, "What you and Joshua are doing is great! When Joshua was speaking to the young men, I looked around the room, and for the first time since that young man had arrived, I saw a huge smile on his face as he listened to Joshua's story!" Joshua's personal testimony has always had a profound effect on young people, as they see a man small in human size, but a man who has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and has never allowed the trials of life to stop him. One young man in the detention center even said "Joshua may be small on the outside, but he's a giant on the inside!"
Young people today are faced with challenges that many of them have never learned how to handle. They grew up in fatherless homes, or homes wrecked by problems and divorce, and they face a hostile world with everything around them seeking to pull them this way or that. They often turn to drugs, sex, anger, rebellion, and even suicide as a way to escape the prison they find themselves in. They need help. They need to know there is always hope. And they need to know that no mountain or valley is too difficult to get out of. Many schools, organizations, and counselors, try to help, but often they just repeat meaningless words that they have been taught to say or they just follow a certain set of courses. However, teenagers know when someone is just saying things to them, and when someone knows what they're talking about. When young people hear Joshua's messages, they see a man who has faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles, was given zero chance of survival, and yet has come out of his ordeals with an amazing attitude and has made something of his life, and their they find hope for their own lives as well.
Joshua's personal life story, and his messages on Kindness, Making A Difference, and Overcoming Obstacles are impacting and changing young lives!
SOME FAVORITE TOPICS
COMMENTS FROM STUDENTS and STAFF
“Our kids are being challenged by more things than we ever experienced in our youth. We don't live in communities where we know all our neighbors and trust their influence on our kids. The digital world has presented our kids with everything at their fingertips. Some of this is positive and some of this has created more challenges like a need to always be connected, a need to be accepted and "liked", and exposure to more we might not always feel our kids are prepared to process. There is pressure and high levels of stress to be a better student, a better athlete, and gain acceptance with peers which can all result in disappointment. We have seen kids in our communities that appear to have all things going for them hurting themselves or taking their lives because the pressures are more than they can handle. It really does "Take a Village" to raise kids in this fast-paced society. Exposing them to as many positive influences as possible is important because they don't always want to hear more from mom and dad. I have known Joshua for nearly 20 years. His positive nature, the connection he makes to youth by sharing his life story and challenges he has faced has literally saved lives. His model of hope, kindness, and facing life's challenges with resilience is a message all our kids can benefit from hearing. I guarantee your children will have a new life perspective once then have heard Joshua's message.“
“I wanted to extend my sincerest gratitude for the work you do with our students. I work at Villa Rica High School, and several of my students work with the 12 for Life program at Southwire. You recently spoke to students at 12 for Life, and I am so glad you were able to come out. Since I am with the high school, I was unable to attend your seminar and in fact did not know you visited until one of my students came by today to talk to me. He said you have really changed his outlook on both school and life. I have noticed a positive change in his performance, and he credited much of that to your influence. He has been struggling this year and even considering dropping out, so it's great to see such a change in him. I cannot thank you enough!“
Teacher – Villa Rica High School
“You spoke at my school May 13 2016 and I was on the verge of killing myself and now I am going to change my life around. I plan to make everyone smile!“
Student – Liberty Middle School
“I had the opportunity to hear Joshua speak at Mill Creek Middle School. His story is amazing, and his speech is inspirational. I would highly recommend him to anyone seeking a motivational speaker for 3rd - 12th grade students as well as adults. I think it would actually be difficult not to be personally touched by his presentation.“
Carrie Nickell, M.Ed., N.C.S.C. – School Counselor – Mill Creek Middle School
“Listening to Joshua was very incredible. He was very inspirational on how not to give up on life. It kind of hit me because my youngest aunt gave up on her life a year after my grandma died. She killed herself because her grieving was too much. I love how Joshua talked about not giving up, and wish she could have heard him!“
A 12 For Life student