SUCCESS Foundation: A Life Compass

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. These books inspired a young Ossil Macavinta so much that he believes they helped him achieve his former world ranking in the Association of Tennis Professionals, his doctorate in education, his thriving family and more.

Then four years ago, when the accounting and webpage design teacher was searching for free personal-development content to supplement his high school courses in Palm Desert, Calif., he wanted something akin to the works that motivated him. “I was looking for something of substance,” he says. “I found this in SUCCESS for Teens.”

After requesting and receiving about 100 free copies of Success for Teens: Real Teens Talk About Using the Slight Edge , the book at the core of the SUCCESS for Teens program, Macavinta began implementing its lessons in his classes, which are primarily made up of juniors and seniors who have struggled with mathematics. (The SUCCESS Foundation donates hard copies of the book to qualifying public schools, churches and nonprofit youth-development groups; offers free downloads of the book and facilitator’s guide to everyone.) The kids “are pretty broken down as far as their confidence level,” Macavinta says. “I needed something to build up their confidence by feeding their minds.”

To help them process the information in SUCCESS for Teens, which teaches skills such as goal-setting and developing a positive attitude, Macavinta has students read the book, contribute to a class discussion board, and make poster-board and video presentations. The book really resonates with students who are ready for change and are “ready to grow up,” he says, becoming “a compass to help them with their future.”

Macavinta says the last chapter of the book, “Make Your Dreams Come True,” is often challenging. When prompted to outline their dreams for the future, most of the students are stumped. “Discussing their dreams is not something they are used to [doing]. To ask them to put a specific date on a goal—that is tough! But I push and try to get them to place a date” as a motivation, something that makes the goal seem real as well as achievable.

Asia Neudauer, a junior, took the lessons to heart. “I tried the advice myself,” she says, adding that it turned out to be true.

Over the years, more than 200 of Macavinta’s students have been exposed to SUCCESS for Teens through his class. “I am confident that if students apply these concepts, they will be successful in their academic, professional and personal lives after high school,” he says.


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Chelsea Greenwood has been contributing to print and online publications as an editor and writer for more than 10 years. A University of Florida graduate, she is the editor of a lifestyle magazine in South Florida.

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