Korey Tells All: Who Says Teen Guys Aren’t Looking for Value and Acceptance?

Last week I introduced you to my mentee Korey Harris, a 26-year-old young man who discovered peace after giving up sex several years ago.

One thing about Korey that stands out, in real life as well as on video, is how authentic he is. He’s a young man with amazing drive and the determination to start his own basketball skill development business.  He trains both collegiate and professional players, even as a student-athlete himself. And Korey doesn’t shy away from the fact that he’s never played basketball on a professional level. He owns it. Much like he owns his decision to abstain from sex.

There’s an ease and comfort level about Korey that comes from knowing and accepting who he is and what he’s about. But he’ll be the first to tell you, he wasn’t always so sure of himself.

Acting Out for Acceptance

In this next clip from my Conversation with Korey series, we discuss how the promise of being the first person in Korey’s family to graduate from college, almost slipped through his fingers.

A misdirected need for acceptance by “friends” who didn’t have his best interests at heart, led to him engaging in behavior that contradicted the positive upbringing his mother worked hard to instill in him.

Thankfully, that’s not where Korey’s story ends!

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2014: My Year in Review!

It’s hard to believe that the first two weeks of 2015 have already passed. I’m hoping that’s not an indication of what’s in store for the balance of the year—time moving so fast that I barely remember it.

Each year, as I assemble the data to share my review of the previous year, I’m always blown away when I look at the numbers.

infographic_for_jackie_2014_edited

But, for me it’s not about the numbers. What I remember most are the individual students, their faces and their stories. Oftentimes, heart-wrenching stories. And other times, stories that warm my heart.

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Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Happy Thanksgiving word cloud As we head into this Thanksgiving week, I would like to share with you a few of the things that I am thankful for.

For starters, I am thankful for that which is so easy to take for granted—my health, family and friends.

I am also grateful I get to spend my days doing something that I am so passionate about that it doesn’t feel like work. As a matter of fact, I love what I do so much that I no longer dread Monday mornings.

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Living Beyond the Grave!

iStock_000018127451_Small Like many people, I was shocked to hear the tragic news of Dr. Myles Munroe’s death. His plane crashed Sunday evening in the Bahamas, killing him, his wife and the seven other people on board. He was only 60 years old.

Dr.-Myles-MunroeIf you are not familiar with Dr. Munroe, he was a pastor, motivational speaker and prolific author with numerous best sellers under his belt. Dr. Munroe authored 69 books covering topics from transformational leadership, personal development, spiritual growth, purpose, marriage and relationships. 

The first book I ever read by Dr. Munroe, more than 20 years ago, was entitled, Understanding Your Potential. I would name it among the top 10-15 books that have helped mold me into the person that I am today. I even incorporate several of the principles from this book in my current presentations for youth.

Monday, I watched a video of a message that Dr. Munroe delivered earlier this year and I found his message to be just as powerful in 2014 as it was when I read my first book written by him, 20 years ago. Dr. Munroe asked a question during this message that convicted me = “If you died today, what would happen to all of the knowledge you have?”

I was convicted because I knew that I did not have a good answer to the above question. I was embarrassed to admit that if I died today, I would take much of my knowledge to the grave with me. I have not done the work to capture/document that knowledge so the impact of it can be felt even after I’m gone.

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My Week in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Driving at sunset - rear view mirrorLast week was quite a week! I drove almost 700 miles and spoke to more than 2,500 students in seven schools in five towns.

The GOOD!

As much as I despise driving, it was actually refreshing to travel through small towns where life seems so much simpler than life in a big city. I was constantly tempted to pull over to take pictures of perfectly lined trees in pecan orchards, people sitting on benches in quaint little town squares or the elderly gentleman sitting on his tractor at the edge of his yard waving at every passing car.

There’s also something fulfilling about speaking to students in small towns who attend schools that may not have the resources of schools in larger cities. You can almost see the hunger on the students’ faces. In most of the schools I visited last week, the students were so attentive that you would have thought I had honey dripping from my lips. It was as if they were hearing things they had never heard before, and they were eating it up.

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Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters!

iStock_000011466729XSmallI’m sure you’ve heard the common stereotypes about teens—they are disrespectful, lazy, out-of-control, think they know everything, etc. You may have even said some of those things about them. I know I did before I began working with them twelve years ago.

Most adults think we’re just a bunch of idiot kids.

A few years after I started spending time with students in the classroom, something changed. Though I still saw some of the same behaviors I had seen before, their pain became much more glaring than their behavior. So, I stopped judging them and started praying for them. If you knew some of the situations many of them are dealing with at home, you would pray for them daily as well.

But this generation of youth needs more than just our prayers, they need our time!

I’m always curious to know why adults these days are not involved with teens lives anymore. ~High School Student

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The Ripple Effect: 2013 Edition

stones in a water

 

I alone cannot change the world; but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ~Mother Theresa

 

If you are anything like I am, you are having a hard time believing that it is already 2014. It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the beginning of 2013. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

I still marvel at the fact that I get to spend my days doing something I enjoy so much that it doesn’t feel like work.

Below are just a few of the things that happened in 2013 that have made my work so rewarding:

1.     Multiple students told me they had planned to have sex either that evening or that weekend but changed their minds after hearing my message.

2.     An 8th grade girl told me that she gained the courage while listening to my presentation, to report sexual abuse that she had endured for the past eight years.

3.     A young man gave me his condoms after class and said, “I won’t be needing these anymore because I’m done with sex.”

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Your Life is a Blank Canvas! How will you paint it?

Artist

For the past two weeks, I have been discussing the power of writing a personal vision statement. Two weeks ago I shared how my vision pulled me toward my destiny, and last week I shared the process I use in order to help students understand the importance of writing a personal vision statement.

This week, I am sharing questions that will assist you in discovering your passion as well as questions for writing a personal vision statement.

Passion precedes your vision!

Before you describe the perfect life you want to live in the future, you must first know what you are passionate about. When I left Procter & Gamble 12 years ago, one of the most common comments I heard from my co-workers at the time was how much they admired the fact that I knew what my passion was.  Many of them said they were not happy at P&G, but they did not know what they would do if they left P&G because they had no idea what their passion was.

One of the most common questions I continue to hear from people is, “How do I figure out what my passion is?”

If you are one of those people, the answers to the following questions will help you determine your passion:

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When Life is Puzzling!

2 puzzle piecesLast week my post detailed my experience with writing a vision that pulled me toward my destiny. Based on the number of follow up questions I received, my story apparently resonated with a lot of people.

Several people wanted to know whether I knew I would be speaking to teens about making healthy choices related to sex when I wrote my vision statement, and the answer is “no.” I did not know my current “profession” was even an option. I only knew I was passionate about working with youth.

As a matter of fact, when I wrote my initial vision statement in 1997, I had become very interested in investing and envisioned myself speaking to youth about financial literacy. When I left P&G four years later, my plan was to start an after-school program for girls, helping them grow into successful adults. I then envisioned talking to them not only about financial literacy, but also about goal setting, career planning, healthy lifestyles, etc.

A divine connection at a conference I attended within a month of leaving P&G was my first foray into the field of sex education and youth motivational speaking.

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The Vision that Pulled Me Toward My Destiny!

visionAs I drove to church Sunday, I thought about what a blessing it has been to be able to travel around the state of Georgia for the past three years talking to students, parents and educators thanks to a grant with the Governor’s Office for Children & Families. I have spoken to over 25,000 students in the past three years, though not all of those students have been a result of funding from the GOCF.

As I thanked God for the many opportunities I have had over the past 12 years to have a positive impact on the lives of youth, I could not help but think back to the catalyst that started me on this journey.

Sparking a Vision

It was January 1, 1997 and I had gone to the bookstore in Lima, OH where I was living at the time, to purchase a book about investing. Somehow I ended up with a book in my hand called, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life by Laurie Beth Jones.

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