SUCCESS Foundation: A Book Hits Home

Iowa lawyer Corey Walker was so enthused about the SUCCESS for Teens book—which helps kids define and accomplish their goals—that he tried it out with his family. And afterward he was so impressed that he began pitching its curriculum at nearby schools.

During the 2013–14 winter holidays, the Walkers gathered at their kitchen table to discuss a couple of chapters each night, sharing their reactions to its content and answering the book’s questions. “If you’re going to ask your kids to do it, then I think you should do it as well,” explains Walker, who learned about the program through articles in SUCCESS magazine. “That’s why we did it as a family.”

Listening to their daughter and son discuss goals was a bonus for Walker and his wife, Beth. They learned that Corbin had big ideas, like becoming a professional baseball or football player—“typical 11-year-old boy dreams,” Walker says. But Sophia, 14, had replaced her former goal of swimming on the Olympic team with a desire to be a child psychologist. “It was neat to see the difference in three years of maturity between the kids,” Walker says. The experience of reading the book together was helpful, “letting us know what our kids are really thinking. You usually just don’t take time to do that.”

Next Walker offered 13- to 19-year-olds in his area free SUCCESS for Teens books and a chance to enter a drawing for three $1,000 college scholarships if they read the book and faxed two completed answer pages to his Des Moines-area law firm. He also gave a presentation about the book to 13- and 14-year-olds at a Des Moines-area middle school. Ultimately Walker hopes to buy books for nearby school districts and offer scholarships to participants.

Like some other sponsors of SUCCESS for Teens programs, Walker chose to buy the books he gave away, although the SUCCESS Foundation donates copies to qualifying youth groups, schools and churches. (Visit to request free curriculum; anyone can download e-books from the site for free.)

One student who heard Walker’s presentation wrote a thank-you note saying, “Your presentation made me understand how difficult life can be, and how I can make my life better through hard work and setting goals. I’m reading the book and finding out what I want in life.”

Walker explains that “there’s really no success-philosophy teaching in our school,” and SUCCESS for Teens fulfills that in its easy-to-understand examples of life challenges and solutions written by teenagers.

Walker’s evangelism at a second Des Moines suburb should soon pay off: School district administrators there have concluded the program would work well for small “intervention groups” targeting at-risk kids.

The main thing is to spread the word to more teens through schools, as Walker is doing. “I’m a firm believer in the SUCCESS philosophy. If it’s going to youth who will be more productive and not a drain on society but a positive, then I think it’s worth every penny that I spend on the books and scholarships.”


Betsy Simnacher is a freelance writer who has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. She lives in the suburbs of Dallas.

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