Building entrepreneurs from the inner cities
Courtesy Life Changers 180, LLC
Robert L. Dudley was the oldest of seven children, and he never knew his real father. He grew up in the projects of Los Angeles, but never in any one building for very long. “By the time I was a senior in high school, we had moved around enough for me to attend 17 different schools,” he says. He dropped out and left home as soon as he turned 18, then found his way into the Army Infantry where he spent three years of his life. While stationed in South Korea, Dudley earned his GED. When he left the service, he began college but felt lost, like something was missing from inside him. He thought he might find it by tracking down his father, which he did, and which turned out to be a horrible, life-changing disappointment that inspired him to make a better man of himself. That week he signed up for college classes again. Eventually, he obtained five degrees, including a Ph.D. in theology. Then, he parlayed his passion for learning and communicating into several successful businesses and several books. But for Dudley, the most important thing he has accomplished is forming Life Changers 180, a success coaching company that teaches how to achieve your dreams and takes its methods to the inner cities to help underprivileged children like he once was to stay in school and attain their goals. Dudley’s next goal is to get various community leaders in Washington, D.C. and the inner cities of Baltimore to get on board with his plan to help “build entrepreneurs” in traditionally poor areas. “We can all help someone, even in a small way,” Dudley says. Here are ten random acts of kindness you could do today.
Mentoring inner-city youth and women undergoing divorce
Courtesy Heather Monohan, heathermonohan.com
When Heather Monahan’s mother left her father, she had no job and no way to support herself and her four kids. With literally nowhere else to go, they ended up at the front door of her grandparent’s house in Worcester, a formerly industrial but now down-on-its-luck city in central Massachusetts. But the house was tiny, so tiny in fact that there was nowhere for Monahan, her siblings, and her mother to sleep. So they ended up moving into an abandoned trailer behind the house. “My mom worked three jobs to put food on the table. Sometimes we used food stamps to get by.” As an adult, Monahan managed to escape the dreariness of her youth and made a home in glittering South Beach, Florida, where she is a top-ranking executive of a media company. The affluence she has earned, together with the power of her position, has enabled her to secure a spot on the board of directors of City Year Miami, a charity dedicated to helping inner city youth advance through school and survive their challenging circumstances. In addition, Monahan has launched a personal brand aimed at mentoring women and teaching them the shortcuts and hacks to get ahead in business and in life. A single mom to her son, Monahan has also been featured in the media as an expert on bouncing back from the pain of a divorce and about overcoming a difficult childhood to succeed as a “boss in heels.”
Helping kids in challenging circumstances to “finish stronger than you started”
Courtesy The Driven Foundation
Roy Hall played football at Ohio State University and went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts. Before all that, however, he endured an unimaginable childhood with a drug-addicted, abusive father. “Watching my mother endure both physical and emotional pain was at times unbearable,” Hall says. “She went nights without eating to make sure we didn’t go hungry. We spent years struggling to live from one paycheck to the next. My father’s heroin addiction and abusive nature nearly cost us everything. But my mother’s strength and love is the reason I do so much for others in need today.” Having overcome more than his fair share of adversity, Hall is synonymous with his own motto: Finish stronger than you started. Eight years ago, Hall and a fellow Ohio State teammate founded The Driven Foundation, which works to help kids and families in need beat those seemingly insurmountable odds. The program started in Columbus, Ohio but has recently expanded statewide–with the goal of reaching families around the country.