SUCCESS Foundation: Mind Over Matter

In the eternal battle of brains versus brawn, one Arizona seventh-grader recently chalked one up for brains: He discovered a book that helps his chances on the football field.

Success for Teens has helped me in and out of school, especially Chapter 2, ‘Attitude Is Everything,’ ” says Finley Lecky. “In football, a good attitude gets you more playing time, and a bad attitude gets you more bench time.”

Lecky thanks his teacher, Melissa France of Summit School of Ahwatukee in Phoenix, for coaching him toward that extra playing time. France has been using SUCCESS for Teens: Real Teens Talk about Using the Slight Edge—the cornerstone of the SUCCESS for Teens personal development curriculum by the SUCCESS Foundation—in her seventh- and eighth-grade life skills classes since 2012.

“It was the right length, as we meet only once a week, and it fit well with the goal-setting philosophy that our class was already using,” France says.

Immediately her students responded positively to the book, in which teenagers talk about developing skills and productive habits through simple, manageable steps. (The SUCCESS Foundation donates hard copies of the book to qualifying public schools, churches and nonprofit youth-development programs; offers free downloads of the book and facilitator’s  guide.)

“Students are always very receptive to the stories shared by teens,” says France, who is also a student council adviser at Summit School, a private school for pre-K through eighth-grade students. “It makes it easier for them to relate to the topics.”

Using small- and large-group discussions in addition to independent reading and writing exercises, France says her students like the second and third (“Use the Moment”) chapters best. “As my middle school students navigate the oftentimes rocky road of adolescence, these chapters seem to really hit home with them.”

In fact, several of France’s students recently credited the book with helping them successfully finish the school  year.

“My [recent] class of eighth-graders commented that the chapters about taking small steps and failing in order to succeed helped them persevere through their graduation requirements of community service as well as semester-long multidisciplinary projects,” the teacher  says.

With 100 students and counting benefiting from SUCCESS for Teens at Summit School, France says that she plans to continue using the book for years to come: “It does a great job of helping the students see how their choices and attitudes influence their lives not only right now but in the future as well.”

Have a good idea? Follow the “Think-Plan-Do” Method to execute it successfully.


To request books, learn about the program, share your story about it or make a contribution, visit Leaders, participants and donors can request a profile in SUCCESS by emailing [email protected]


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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