May 12, 2004 – A new Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands program bringing motivational speakers to talk with the territory's youth kicked off Tuesday afternoon as about a hundred students gathered to hear from Hasan Davis, who describes himself as an educator, youth advocate and performer.
"Broadly, I guess I talk about self-actualization, about getting from where you are to where you want to be," Davis told the young people in the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School gymnasium.
Without a prepared text, Davis said he approaches his audiences hoping to give them what they need in order to begin to think about realizing their dreams. At Kean, his speech was a mixture of exhortation and anecdote, beginning with his youth in Atlanta and the shooting death of his cousin and moving with whirlwind gusto through topics ranging from trust and hope to responsibility, service, alternative school and action movies.
"Communication is not perfect," he said. "We communicate more complexly than any other animal on Earth, but that leaves so much room for miscommunication and misinformation."
It is this understanding that underpins his way of talking to an audience a frenetic circling of an unspoken center, the dreams of his audience.
Dreams are important to Davis; his own took him out of inner city Atlanta to Berea College in Kentucky, then through law school at the University of Kentucky.
He now runs his own business, Empowerment Solutions, as a motivational speaker, while serving as vice chair of the Federal Task Force on Juvenile Justice and chair of the corresponding state-level organization in Kentucky.
"You have to find a way, in spite of where you are, to get to your dreams," Davis said toward the end of his hour-long speech. "The man on top of the mountain did not fall there."
His speech at Kean was his second of the day, following an 8:30 a.m. appearance at Charlotte Amalie High School. He also appeared on TV2's "Talk2" on Tuesday night.
Further talks are planned with Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School and All Saints Cathedral School students on Wednesday and with Addie Ottley on WTJX-TV's "Face to Face" Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Davis will be on St. Croix to speak at Central High School at 1:30 p.m., before returning to St. Thomas to address a sports banquet at Antilles School that night.
"We hope this is just a taste for the community, a teaser of what Mr. Davis can do," Dee Baecher-Brown, the Community Foundation president, said.
The new CFVI program aims to bring speakers to the islands who are able to motivate and empower the territory's youth. The program was launched with the help of Investment Security Services.
CFVI is the umbrella organization for more than 70 funds created by individuals and businesses to support educational, environmental, social and cultural initiatives in the territory.
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