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"What does it take to be successful?" Al Duncan. a world-class youth motivational speaker, asks a group of teens who are participating in the graduation ceremony for Tomorrow Matters™, a mentoring program established by The Foster Children's Foundation lnc. to assist local foster children prepare for their future.
"Responsibility, motivation, education, and perseverance" are some of the answers the teens call out, and while Duncan agrees these are important components for success. he is searching for another word—choices.
"You choose to use your knowledge and you choose between what is right and what is easy.” Duncan explains "Sometimes you may make the wrong choice, but at the end of the day you still have value and you choose to know your value."
Duncan’s talk comes at the end of the graduates' semester-long program focused on providing necessary skills and tools to help them reach their potential and become independent adults.
Throughout the semester the teens, aged 14-18, attended interactive workshops on employment preparation and interviews, community service, money management, health, housing, college, cooking, and education.
"By giving the youth hope and empowering them with the skills, tools, materials and adult connections they need to reach their potential, the Tomorrow Matters™ program is raising self-esteem and giving youth the opportunity to dream and look forward to a brighter future," says Suzanne Geske, Executive Director of the Foster Children's Foundation.
As Duncan speaks to the teens and relates his own experiences growing up in North Philadelphia, he explains that at age 24 he returned home to raise his 12-year-old brother. Despite these obstacles and challenges, Duncan went on to become a successful entrepreneur, community member, and motivational speaker having delivered over 1,100 keynotes and seminars to more than 700,000 people.
"The sky isn't the limit," Duncan says to the teens as he concludes his address. "You can go even further.”
The graduation ceremony took place on May 16, 2009, at Street Smarts in Historic Duluth. The Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties and the Foster Children's Foundation worked hand in hand to plan the event and reward the teens tor their accomplishments and commitment to the program.
Tomorrow Matters was developed by the Foster Children's Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children in foster care by identifying their economic, environmental, educational and emotional needs and implementing ways to raise public awareness in an effort to solve these issues.
For information on the Foster Children’s Foundation, call 770-623-6135, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fosterchildrenfoundation.org
For information about Al Duncan visit www.alduncan.net.youth.html
For information about Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties, visit www.jlgnf.org