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, one of the guards in that facility spoke to his friend 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!
A caring mother recently wrote about Joshua; "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."
Read a recommendation letter from a Principal here!