September 30th, 2011

Armed with nothing but some solar dancing flowers, a MacBook, and some encouraging words from my new friend Wayne, I headed to Crossroads Adult Transitional Center. This was the kind of area most people avoided driving through. Filled with abandoned buildings, barbed-wire fences, and broken glass. The kind of area where real people with real struggles live.

I was determined and as confident as ever in my message though. I met with the centers’ new director Mr. Robinson. This guy was old school. Firm and fair. He gave a rousing speech to his new staff. It was a powerful message delivered with authority. His style was much like the great motivational speaker Les Brown, who speaks in quotes, inspiring the staff with one thought-provoking powerful quote after another. His message “Let’s take small steps together to help the members of this community move from the intersection of hopelessness and despair to the intersection of opportunity and hope.”

Mr. Robinson’s speech was the perfect segue to my talk. He didn’t just inspire the staff, he inspired me! With overwhelming confidence and enthusiasm, I just let it rip. I was firing on all cylinders. People laughed, people cried, but most of all people felt my authenticity. During the questions and answers portion of the program, I decided to bribe the staff to get them to participate. If they asked a question they’d get a dancing flower. Mrs. Jones raised her hand and asked: “Can I have the flower?” “Sure I said, what’s your question?” She replied “I already asked it. I asked for the flower.” The room erupted in laughter and from there on out the Q & A was a brainstorming session on how we could bring a positive vibe and hope to a neighborhood that desperately needed it.