For 25+ years of his life, Ron L James was in and out of prison because of choices. While in prison, he was encouraged to write his life story. As he wrote, he realized that he did not like the man he had become. It was then that he began intentionally making different choices. Ten years ago, Ron was released from prison and has been a productive member of society ever since. He has been drug and alcohol free for over sixteen years. He is passionate about helping others understand that they can avoid making the mistakes he made. As a result of this passion, he now shares his message across the country as a Keynote speaker for businesses, schools, and originations. His message on CHOICES continues to influence and inspire people to help & “Make their next choice their best choice.”
I’m passionate about the stories of all people; how they became who they are today and what unique role they play in the world. I’m here to encourage & empower them to discover their dopeness and gifts. Whether it’s through rapping, speaking, photos/graphic design or Restorative Practices, my aim is to highlight the truth, beauty, and goodness in all of us and how we’re all here to make the world better.
My first five years were lived in Puerto Rico under the chaos of a physically abusive father, a neighborhood littered with violence, drugs, and gunshots. The following 31 years have been spent figuring out how to rebuild that foundation that I was given. I’ve discovered the power of addressing emotional wounds, taking ownership of my own boundaries, and renewing my mind to see the good that’s coming out of all the bad.
Hip-hop shaped my worldview. Pornography taught me how to view women. Fear made me insecure and paranoid. Lies became truth.
I’m not very different from many of you. My life started one way and got worse. Many of us have even normalized the ugly parts because we haven’t known any other way. Our pain has set in so deep that it actually has become a part of who we are. We think, speak, and live through the lens of our wounds all while bleeding on the people around us who had nothing to do with why you’re hurting.
You’re not very different from me. You can change the narrative and thrive! We can normalize healing so much that it becomes a part of who we are and how we change the world. I’ve been abandoned, rejected, betrayed, and harmed yet I see my life as a beautiful landscape. I wouldn’t get to the mountaintops without passing through some valleys first. We don’t have to stay stuck in the lies, the bad, and the ugly . . . we are all welcome to live in the truth, the good, and the beauty of a life restored.
Johnny Vega was born into a home in the Bronx, New York, where gang violence was the norm. When he was five years old, his mother and stepfather moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to get him away from the drugs and gang violence so that was so prevalent in New York City. Growing up, Johnny played sports and earned good grades, although he was attracted to the “street life.”
By the time he was 20 years old, he was an influential gang leader and top-tier drug dealer. That all changed when the day Federal Agents arrested him. As a result of that arrest and subsequent conviction, he spent ten years in federal prison. In 2008, Johnny was released from prison and began his mission to make a positive difference in his community. The mentoring programs and project-based curriculums he created are used in several cities in Pennsylvania. Along with his many awards, Johnny received an honorary Doctorate for his efforts in positively impacting youth. Johnny’s greatest reward is being able to influence others so they won’t travel the same destructive path he traveled. He encourages people, young and old, to make better choices. We would like to partner with your school to present the powerful messages of CHOICES for your students and your community. For more information, please visit our website at www.RonLJames.com. Call or email us today. We look forward to helping your students “make their next choice their best choice.”
Shaun; Army Veteran, Veteran Advocate, Serial Entrepreneur, Success Coach,and Motivational Speaker: he is Mister Motivation.
Shaun has spent the last 15 years being a change agent, impacting andempowering the lives within the Veteran & Education community; he lives an altruistic life!Shaun’s energetic style of delivery and optimistic outlook will inspire your team-to not only reach the next level in life and in business but reach their highest
and best potential.
Murphy was recognized by Michelle Obama for his work in the learning a
Veteran initiative while at Teach for America. Shaun has been featured by USA Today, New York Post, CBS, CNN, and many other publications.
Mike Kiett is an entrepreneur and life coach. Neither one of these were in his original plans; they both chose him. He started his journey the traditional way. He attended college and was pursuing a corporate path of going to law school and becoming a lawyer. The year he took his LSAT, the exam to get into law school, was the same year he made a terrible decision and found himself on the other side of the law. This destroyed any thoughts of his plan of being a lawyer or any plan he had as far as the corporate world. Once Mr. Kiett accepted that that part of life was over, he quickly pivoted and began an entrepreneurship journey. Not totally knowing what he wanted to do he branched into multiple fields. Automotive sales, beauty, real estate, and logistics. He saw some success that allowed him to live an ok lifestyle but found that he would always reach a ceiling, crash, and then lose everything. He did this multiple times constantly finding himself starting back over. “I can teach you what to do right because I already did everything wrong.” a quote that mike stands on to this day.
Then Mike took the biggest risk of his life by getting rid of money and productivity. He took a step back from chasing money and success and just focused on his inner self. Find out who he was, what he really wanted and how to get there. This journey took two years. Two years of making no money or progress was the very thing that fueled him to get up every day. On this journey Mike realized that his biggest problem was he had a horrible “Mindset”. Almost everything that was messing up in his life was due to self-sabotaging. His mindset was literally destroying his future. Once he saw that and accepted it, he set out to change it. He tackled his childhood traumas, faced his fear of failure and success, destroyed the narrative that he could do everything on his own, transformed his why from trying to prove things to others to proving it to himself and most important increasing his focus in life. Becoming more direct of what he wants and how he wants to get there. “Just like so many of us, I was blessed with many talents. When you’re good at many things it’s hard to choose. You feel like you’re leaving something on the table when you’re finally getting up from the table and begin cooking up the rest of your life”.
Nowadays Mike Kiett has multiple successful businesses. He owns a few income properties including adult group homes. He has a fleet of semi-trucks and makes 6 figures from logistics. He has a video production company which helps businesses with their brand and storytelling through video and has even helped to produce feature films. He has recently been thriving in the beauty industry. He wrote several books including kids’ books and travels around doing motivational speaking. Mike also has a life coaching business called “No Lights Corporation,” written By Mike Kiett and Macie Kiett and illustrated By Urbantoons
What Mike Kiett can do for you is simple. He will change your mindset. He will open your eyes to see the opportunities that are already in front of you. Teach you to cut off the excess fat surrounding your goals and dreams, that’s including people and things. Get you to make a clear decision of what you want in your life and your path of getting there. Most importantly he will help you become the greatest version
HipHop culture is America’s most influential youth popular culture of today. This is the reason why youth care workers, educators and counselors, who work with youth, and more importantly troubled and disenfranchised youth, must be clear about acknowledging it and even embracing it. HipHop is a cultural phenomenon that started in our inner cities of America, spread to the suburbs, and now occupies America’s mainstream. America’s youth represent a distinct group with their own unique popular culture a culture within which HipHop currently resides. Despite our attitudes and perceptions (positive and negative) about HipHop, we know we must have a working knowledge of this culture that engulfs and contextualizes our young people’s lives if we are to effectively relate and communicate with them.
It is important to understand the information that they process and the rules/code they live by. The rules of social marketing suggest that effective communication begins with knowing your target audience. Many youth care workers and educators, regardless of their subject or clinical area, still fail to consider HipHop culture when determining their teaching and treatment methods and exploring the best ways to communicate with and to their students and clients. Consequently, there is an evident lack of cultural responsiveness, relevance, and significance in the classroom and treatment environment, and too many clients remain uninterested and lack the motivation required to process important treatment information.
Understanding HipHop and using it to open new dialog and conversation can result in a more attentive and motivated client. At risk youth are participating in gang related activities while embracing and living by the street code of no snitching, objectification of women and never backing down. They are experiencing peer pressure to use and sell drugs and to have multiple sexual relationships; they are having direct access to images of pornography, violence, and drug use live and via broadcast, the web, social media; and much more.
Given these realities, and in order to stimulate critical thinking, influence attitudes and behaviors, gain trust and maintain the attention, curiosity, and interest of today’s at risk youth, we to need embrace HipHop. Showing interest and understanding in HipHop instead of shunning it can begin to open the “doors of change” for some individuals that would otherwise remain resistant to change. HipHop’s Powerful Influence & Awareness training is a vehicle that, when coupled with stable therapeutic relationships, will serve as a catalyst to breaking down barriers that our youth, entrusted into our care, present when faced with the idea of change.
Todd Griffin has had extensive training and certifications in juvenile justice and youth care such as Motivational Interviewing, substance abuse and recovery, mandatory reporting, de-escalating and re-direction, Relationship building, A.R,T., P.I./Physical Intervention, and culture awareness to name a few. Mr. Griffin is also a youth care and support staff PCB trainer specializing in proper interaction and relationship building by using HipHop Culture to breakdown barriers with youth.
“Todd is one of the most impactful and engaging speakers I have had the pleasure of working with. His message to our youth is a powerful combination of real, relatable, and empowering. After his presentations, our students are always eager to thank him for his message and incorporate his teachings into their own lives.” – Nicolette R, NJ
Ethan A. Poetic, Native of Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Graduated from JP McCaskey High School of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Ethan has graduated from Harrisburg Area Community College with an Associates degree in general studies. He graduated from Millersville University with a Bachelor’s degree of science major Speech Communications, minor Broadcasting and Media.
Ethan currently works for the School District of Lancaster after school sports programs the Substitute Teacher Services as a teacher’s and personal para care professional. He’s active in the community events and is a positive influence to the youth.
Ethan’s story is about overcoming a near fatal car accident. Facing 99% of death vs 1% of life. Ethan with the power of prays, hard work, determination, and courage to reclaim his life. Ethan desires to be a producer, daytime television presenter, sports anchor, and conduct interviews with student athletes, and leaders.
John Nieves also known as DJ F8TH. Is 28 years old. Is currently a Deputy Sheriff for Berks County. He has been honing his crafts now for 16 years.
As a DJ, he has toured up and down the east coast. Playing In multiple concerts, fairs, stadiums, and for various artists. He specializes in mixing, and crowd play. As a dancer he has been teaching at a professional dance studio who now have won 6 national championships and 1 world championship. He has been teaching at elementary, middle, and high schools since a younger age and enjoys spreading the culture of HipHop along with a positive message to inspire hope and change in other’s lives. He has his own crew, and they compete all over the country.
We would like to partner with your school to present the powerful messages of CHOICES for your students and community. We look forward to helping your youth “make their next choice, their best choice.”
Jeffrey (Brother Hakeem) Jones, is the founder and Senior Consultant for GDA Consulting. Brother Hakeem is an award winning speaker and community organizer who has taught and spoken at various schools, colleges, universities, organizations and companies across the Nation. He is certified by the University of Pennsylvania as Social Impact Strategist and Financial Planner and has decades of experience providing keynotes speeches, leadership development workshops, personal empowerment presentations, life coaching, mentoring, drug abuse prevention counseling, intervention sessions, mindfulness classes, emotional intelligence workshops, teacher classroom management skills and profession development, along with community building and activist experience, Brother Hakeem brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to his work.
He is active in his local community and does various seminars and events to help empower youth, strengthen families, restore lives that have been devastated by addiction and build businesses to help them achieve their goals and bring change to communities. He successfully helped to reduce substance abuse and crime levels in Philadelphia as the Director of the South Philadelphia Prevention Coalition and he has also worked with JustLeadershipUSA to reduce the prison population and advocate to end mass incarceration. For his outstanding community work Brother Hakeem received the Gold Volunteer Service Award from President Barak Obama.
Having been homeless and an alcoholic Brother Hakeem strongly believes that everyone has the ability to change their lives for the better once they realize the greatness within themselves. That is why he is always ready to share a positive message of hope to inspire people to stay excited about their futures. Brother Hakeem is always advocating for self-awareness, self-care and self-improvement. He calls these the “Holy Trinity of Happiness.” As the Senior Consultant for GDA Consulting, which is an agency that is aimed directly at helping people to improve their personal performance in order to reach their maximum purpose in every area of their life whether personally or professionally, Brother Hakeem is always ready motivate the masses.
Brother Hakeem is also an author of a book of daily inspirations called “Words of Encouragement” and he is the host and producer of the award winning talk show Community Voice PHL Talk Show on 106.5FM and Apple Podcasts.
Born and raised in a conservative Amish home with no running water, electricity, or a bathroom. At 16, she became pregnant and ran away from home because she wanted to keep her baby and was rejected by her community and family. All of the hurts she had endured as a child she chose to redirect into a passion to help others and speak life and healing into them. “The story of our lives has shaped us into who we are today. Silence is deadly and poisonous, and I want to be there for others and let them know that they have a voice.”
Esther Schumucker talks about the positives and negatives of using social media. She not only warns students of the dangers of using social media, but she also talks about the great and positive qualities of social media, going into depth on how we can avoid the negatives and use social media to benefit us.
We would like to partner with your school to present the powerful messages of CHOICES for your students and community. For more information on our story, background, and presentations available.
Call, check out our website, or email us today. We look forward to helping your students “make their next choice their best choice.”
Are your students confident? Do they have a positive self-image? Do you want them to look life from a new perspective? Meet “Jim the Messenger,” a 15-year wrestling veteran/ex-professional from the WWE, WCW, NWA, AWA, GWF, WWWF, & ECW. Nutrition, posture, form, and confidence are techniques that Jim helps students understand, not only in the classroom, but for all life situations. He helps individuals to think better, feel better, and live better, which creates a lifestyle that ultimately helps individuals to make better choices.
Stephanie is originally from Puerto Rico and moved to Lancaster, PA in January of 2014. She has been in the field of restorative practices since 2017. For four years, she worked in a charter school as a restorative practices coordinator. With the support of the school principal she was able to create a plan to improve behaviors, reduce suspensions, and build stronger relationships between staff and students. By working with low income inner-city students, she was able to identify the gaps of the educational system. Her implementation of restorative practices led her to discover that even the students classified as “problematic” could become great leaders. She gave the students the space to cope with negative behaviors and taught them how to better communicate, which yielded noticeable shifts in their conducts. Her relationship with students builds on her desire to be a youth mentor as she advocates for what they need to positively redirect them .
As a Latina, that also was raised in the projects, she understands the importance of trust and opportunities. She believes that students will only give you the best version of themselves when they completely trust you. She believes that:
“When students trust you, you will have the opportunity to build relationships, truly know the students and have experiences that you never imagined you could have with them”.
Steph’s Vision is created with the mission to serve our communities by developing strong relationships within school, organizations, and workplaces. Her vision is to use individual values, emotion coping tools and restorative knowledge to create safe and healthy environments.
Leonard S. Hart Sr., is a consultant, certified educator of 28 years, and motivational speaker who values dedication, service, excellence, and positively uplifts all those that he encounters. He mentors with passion, guiding his clients to effectively strengthen and elevate their leadership vision to new heights through self-reflection and intrinsic growth. Leonard brings a unique and compassionate perspective gained from diverse encounters as a dedicated educator as well as his lifelong experiences of being born to a teenage single mother while growing up in the tumultuous streets of Baltimore, Maryland.
As a consultant, through the lens of using real-world examples and proven evidence base practices, Leonard makes the connections between management and staff that sheds light on how the invaluable multilevel of expectations and talents, allows each person invested within your organization to positively impact the success of the adopted mission and vision. He brings the same dedication to his work with school leaders and educational organizations as they strive to empower their districts, administrators, teachers, teams, parents, and community stakeholders to achieve greater success conducive to positively impacting student achievement.
As an educator, his philosophy is that the true essence, at the core of creating a supportive family village, is required to ensure that all of the essential needs of children are met. It is the development and connection from the home, school, and community relationships that are embraced through authentic relationships and open conversations. This process is a unified effort that if implemented correctly will build positive relations and maximize the potential of each and every student while building strong parent and community engagement.
As a motivational speaker, Leonard’s dedication, hard work, and intrinsic determination to avoid a life of poverty and mediocrity inspired him to reach out beyond the walls of the school building to share his experiences and techniques of perseverance and uplift. With the perspective that tough times do not last, but tough people do, Leonard builds on the concept of self-reflection, acceptance, accountability, and the understanding that life is a journey, not simply a destination.
Leonard challenges all organizational leaders and partners to be different by encouraging them to always work to their full potential by thinking outside of the box. He holds strongly to the belief in developing educational proficiencies to embrace that “every child can learn, just not in the same way or on the same day however all students can learn.” This process will provide students with educational opportunities, hands-on trades and knowledge base skills, and positive attitudes for a successful tomorrow and beyond. Maintaining organizational and educational environments that are built on the application of high standards of excellence, hard work, dedication, and determination will assist in the achievement of goals, and professional and personal growth needed by all in becoming a productive member of a global society.
Leonard is a member of several professional and civic organizations. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, and Free and Accepted Mason, M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge. Leonard engages groups or individuals from the moment he is presented and steps in front of them as he aims to leave them with empowering tools and focused mindsets in the understanding that every organization is a classroom that promotes the great aim of education not just knowledge but action.