September 3, 2011

Heroes, Sheroes, and Gospel for Teens

This post is about what I call Heroes and Sheroes. People I hold in high esteem because of the work they do and the stand they have taken for kids. I hope their stories are inspirational and motivational for you.

The first is Mike Patrick, a man I'm so proud to call my friend and easily one of my biggest heroes. Exactly 40 years ago on September 3rd, as Mike says, he was sentenced to the electric chair. Not the kind you find in prison, but a motorized wheelchair. At a high school football game on that evening of September 3, 1971, Mike was tackled and in the process his neck was broken. In that instant, he became a sixteen year old quadriplegic, an athlete unable to walk, and a student unable to even turn the pages of a book.

Mike's very long recovery included surgeries, repeated hospitalizations, and a run in with depression. When he was able, Mike went back to school, got a teaching degree, and set out to change the lives of as many kids on the planet as possible. He rolled into a 26 year career as a professional speaker, teaching young people all across the US to really consider their true potential. His amazing Think About It program helps kids (and adults) overcome obstacles, invites them to creatively solve problems, and to always push through any barriers to being their best. As Mike likes to point out, "The problem is not the issue, the issue is how you deal with the problem." I encourage you to visit Mike's website, and learn more about this remarkable man. I guarantee it will be a day brightener.

It was Mike Patrick who pointed me to the work of  Vy Higgenson, a true Sheroe. Vy is lifting up the young people of Harlem, New York through her Gospel for Teens program. She is a solid example of how someone can take a personal passion and shape it into a force for changing the lives of countless young people.

Just below you'll find video clips of two segments from the TV Show, 60 Minutes, profiling Vy and her Gospel for Teens program. Watching, you'll quickly understand why Vy is one of my sheroes. Like Mike Patrick, her story is another eye-dampening, day brightener.

It's easy to be in awe of these people, but be careful not to put them on a pedestal. They both started with limited resources and a powerful passion for what they loved doing. As you watch, consider the fact that you, too, have this same capacity in you. What would Mike or Vy have to say to you about going for it?
Segment One:
If the video for segment ONE doesn't show up, use this link.

Segment Two:
If the video for segment TWO doesn't show up, use this link.

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1 comment:

  1. For a great story on Mike published in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune on the anniversary of his accident, go to:


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