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.
From segregation to transformation, she gets the underdog into the game
Courtesy Dr. Algeania Freeman 2
“If you want to win the game, you have to be in the game,” says Algeania Warren Freeman, PhD., who knows a little more than perhaps she’d like about what it’s like to be left out of the game. Born in 1949, she spent her childhood in a segregated community in North Carolina, picking cotton, barning tobacco, and enduring the casual racism that was standard at the time. But she managed to rise above it, and has made it her life’s mission to help others to rise above their challenges. Earning a college degree, a Masters in Science and a Doctorate before spending decades as a professor and ultimately becoming the president of two universities and two colleges. And she’s used that transformative magic to raise over $40 million for various non-profit and educational endeavors and has provided access to educational opportunities for over 30,000 individuals. Her most significant labor of love, however is the founding of Step Up Sisters, an organization that helps females improve their lives through spiritual growth, education, and leadership development. Recalling her own almost unimaginable beginnings, Dr. Freeman believes that everyone should be able to change their destiny, and that it’s up to those more fortunate to help out. As to those facing challenging circumstances, Dr. Freeman advises they should “Never give up. Victory is always on the other side of the horizon.”
Wanting to make the burden for others lighter by showing them someone cares
Courtesy Marisa Zeppieri The Girl Brand
Marisa Zeppieri-Curuana grew up in a low-income household with a single mother and one sibling. “My mom struggled to feed us and keep a roof over our head. We moved 13 times in 16 years.” It wasn’t easy, but it helped Marisa to develop a sense of adaptability as an adult. Today, she’s a journalist and founder of a large autoimmune nonprofit, LupusChick, which reaches about 600,000 people per month who have incurable autoimmune diseases. “Over the years, we’ve awarded five partial college scholarships to Lupus patients, plus we help patients out with medicine costs and housing, particularly for those who are unable to work and pay for their health care because of their illness.” She also partners with various companies to obtain free products for Lupus patients. “As a lupus patient myself, and someone who grew up without health insurance or the funds to properly be cared for, this is an issue close to my heart,” Zeppieri-Curuana says. “I believe my struggles early on in life fueled my desire to give back…wanting to make the burden for others lighter and show them that someone cares.” You may not know that these are 15 symptoms of Lupus.