On February 3, 2016 Share Your Strong had the honor of sharing The Power of Never Giving Up in Life with The Wilcox County Elementary School Pass Program. This school is located in Rochelle Georgia which is in my hometown and I know most of these children in this school. This was such an honor for me to do.
I spoke with two different groups of children this day. The first group was a younger group of kids from second grade to forth graders. As I spoke with them all they were very in tune with what I had to say. They were all memorized with my medal I wore, and all the medals I brought to show them. I bring along my medals from all the races I have done as proof that there actually is power in never giving up in life. The example I enjoy giving these kids is, I got out of a wheel chair with every odd stacked against me and I show them a picture, then I show them the medals I bring as a display and I say to them look at these medals. Some are as far as Hawaii and when I sat in that chair do you think anyone ever thought I would have these? Then I say, well Stephanie always knew!! It always captures their attention so well. And I bring these medals to show them anything is possible if they set their minds to it.
My Share Your Strong Brain Trauma Organization’s mission is to help bring awareness of what can happen to your brain when it’s injured. It’s been a great day when I can help get some of these points across especially in the minds of our children. This is the moment I ask the kids what their goals in life are to be when they grow up & no matter what I always hear the majority of the little guys in the room say an NFL player. When this comes up I always mention the importance of protecting that beautiful brain. Then I mention why, with some of the things I still deal with today from an injury of 23 years ago. Most always children and most people don’t realize when they injure their brain it is an injury forever, it isn’t something you can fix. Its a lifelong injury. But I always tell these guys being an NFL player is an awesome dream to have and to stay their course with any dreams, but to definitely stay the course with protecting themselves getting there.
With the second group of older children, from fifth to sixth graders I spoke somewhat out of my comfort zone. And this was actually on a very important subject. The mental illnesses that sometimes surround a trauma to their brain. My Share Your Strong’s mission is again to bring awareness of brain trauma in every way and unfortunately mental illness is sometimes a part of this. Brain health and mental health is something very special to my heart that I feel I’ve always been an advocate for from my own experiences with it. Without our mental health we have nothing and we can do nothing. The stigma around mental illnesses is very sad and creates fear which in turn creates crime or substance abuse in our world. I want to help our children see it’s ok to go to someone when going through any of these issues. I speak to them from complete experience when I speak on any of these subjects.
As I ended the speech I allowed the children to walk around the table I had the medals displayed on. But they didn’t get out before they could throw their arms up and show me just how strong they were!