A man with a big heart, a warrior and a conqueror who has lived a life of major challenges and pitfalls but nothing is too hard for God, according to James Brown. He knows what it means to keep going...
On August 15, 1992, James Brown was shot in the neck and robbed, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down and in a wheelchair. Rather than lying in bed feeling sorry for himself, he decided to make a difference not only in his life but in the lives of others. On September 11, 2001, he founded the James Brown Youth Empowerment Organization (JBYEO), a 501c3 non-profit organization. This charitable organization has been a powerhouse of change and now has set its sights on the social issue affecting many people in the country: gun violence.
The James Brown Youth Empowerment Organization is a 501c(3) non-profit organization created in 2001 to educate youth on the dangers of drugs, crimes, gangs, and gun violence through mentoring, motivational material, global media, and the performing arts. JBYEO creates programs, such as MARY (Mentoring At-Risk Youth) and ARMY, that offer no only mentorship, but also life coaching, workforce readiness, on-the-job training, case management, and follow-up services that support youth in making positive contributions to their communities.
POWER OF FORGIVENESS
Being able to let go and forgive is a learning process. James provides steps that will not only empower you and help you make healthier, wiser choices in your life, but also help you uncover a life full of renewed promises and endless possibilities. Being trapped in a negative mindset can affect a person’s physical health, as well as the heart, mind, and soul. Forgiving releases feelings of hurt, pain, anger, and resentment and frees one from a “mental prison.” Once you make the conscious decision to forgive you will not only begin to take control of your life, you will have better experiences and attain peace and true joy. As James says, “Stay bitter or get better. Choose to forgive, reclaim your destiny, and follow where it takes you.”
THIS THING CALLED HOPE
James retells how his lifestyle choice cost him not only his ability to walk, but, more importantly, he lost hope. Losing hope is what causes us to spiral downward, triggering depression and selfdestructive behavior. What is hope? James answers this question and explores the significance of what it means to have “hope.” Hope is the belief that circumstances in the future will get better even when there seems to be no evidence that anything can and will change. Instead of sitting there being miserable in your current situation, wishing for things to improve, make the choice to believe. It’s not a wish that things will get better, but an actual belief that they will. Having hope can provide joy, peace, protection, strength, and a way forward and past your current situation.
We are only limited by the things that we allow to limit us. The keys to success and a good life are already in our pocket. You just need someone to show you the keys of faith, hope, courage you can open the doors to your destiny.
Everyone was born with a purpose in life. The challenge is finding what James calls “your it.” Sometimes we face difficult situations and obstacles in life that deter us. James teaches that no matter what happens in life, though, you can work with it and through it. As he says, “Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of what you do with it.” Every problem and situation you go through has a vital life lesson. Spend your time focusing on finding a solution, not on the problem. Your “it” can give you a sense of purpose in life, which can make you more resilient to setbacks, obstacles, and fears. You are here for a reason and you have something to contribute to the world. It’s your job to find your purpose and make the world a better place. You’ll learn how to:
• Identify your unique gift and/or calling
• Discover how we can best utilize it
• Find resources to help develop it
• Use it or lose!
My name is James Brown. My book is Shot to Life. I have dedicated myself full time to bringing my message to youth everywhere: schools, correctional centers, conferences and churches around the world. Whether as a keynote speaker or a workshop leader, I help break through the boundaries that are limiting your team and get them ready to shape the future. Let me help you move from the world of yesterday's regrets to the world of tomorrow's victories.
This student workbook is part of the "Don't Get the Big F" campaign to eradicate or minimize youth involvement in crime. This campaign is intended for middle and high school age youth. The workbook offers age-appropriate, thought-provoking activities aimed at uncovering factors that lead to deviance. It also has activities to promote new habits and ideas that foster healthy life choices. It would be most effective in a diversion program, but it could also complement courses in health, civics or even social studies
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“The kind of positive, uplifting presentation that [he] brought [our youth] provides them with some moments of insight and encouragement. It allows them to see that there are people in the community that care about their situation; people that care about them as individuals. [He has] provided some of our young men with a different mind set and a “new” way of looking at life and possibilities.”
– Ed Martin, Lead Teacher, Dekalb Regional Youth Detention Center
“Mr. James Brown, you visited my school on February 8, 2013. I don't know if everyone else paid attention to your story, but I did and it moved me. Your story showed me that there truly are consequences for the decisions that you make. I appreciate you taking the time to come out and speak to me (us) because many of us are just letting our lives pass us by without really taking advantage of it. I've never had a near death experience quite like you have, and I can't guarantee that I won't because things that used to be "safe" aren't really that safe anymore, not even school. .”
– Narcisse Wheeler, student
“James Brown’s life story is a lesson in triumph over adversity. His book, ‘Courage in the Midst of Crisis,’ continues to inspire us to reach for the stars regardless of our disabilities. James Brown is a true inspiration to me and to thousands of others.”
– Georgia Senator Max Cleland
“I would like to highly recommend James Brown as a speaker, advocate and friend of the community. Mr. Brown has been tireless in advocating for the well-being and mental stability of our youth. I highly recommend that you allow Mr. Brown to come to your venue and speak at your students, faculty and staff. His message changes lives.”
– Gregory W. Brown, Principal, Alpha Academy
“J.B.Y.E.O has been that essential program to help rebuild our youth. The knowledge our young males learn from Mr. James Brown will help those lead productive lives, and rid them of crime infested life. We have great hopes for this program, and with great vigor we throw all of our support and encouragement to Mr. Brown. Mr. James Brown has been a consistent and stable entity in the lives of our young males.”
– Edward Boyd, Director, Department of Juvenile Justice, Dekalb Regional Youth Detention Center
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