Last year T.J. Griffin, a care supervisor for troubled youth in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, happened to glance at a bookshelf while visiting an area independent-living facility for juvenile males. One book stood out: 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.
“Ten years ago, when I began my own [personal development] journey, one of the very books that had inspired me was The Slight Edge,” he says of the central material for SUCCESS for Teens. “I had enjoyed this book so much that I implemented [its] teachings into my own life.”
After attending a mentoring session with The Slight Edge author, sales and leadership coach Jeff Olson, Griffin decided to incorporate SUCCESS for Teens into the VISION program (values inspiring students in overcoming negativity), which he founded in 2012. (The SUCCESS Foundation donates hard copies of the book to qualifying public schools, churches and nonprofit youth-development programs; SUCCESSFoundation.org offers free downloads of the book and facilitator’s guide to everyone.)
But Griffin also brings a unique element to his workshops: pop culture and music. As a recording artist manager and booking agent, he has worked with award-winning talent, such as hip-hop artist Fat Joe, rapper and actor Ice-T, and classic rock band Queen. Griffin’s stories and experiences allow him to connect with at-risk youth in a more relatable way.
For many of the VISION program members, SUCCESS for Teens is the first book they’ve read cover to cover. It has sparked some powerful conversations with the students, Griffin says: “We have discussed the importance of choices and the many ways in which even one small decision can make a significant difference.”
Related: Change Begins With Choice
To request books, learn about the program, share your story about it or make a contribution, visit SUCCESSFoundation.org. Leaders, participants and donors can request a profile in SUCCESS by emailing [email protected]
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.