Life is like a starter’s block. Things will never get going until you first get into position, ready your mind and raise your vision. Like the shot that signifies the race has started, we all exert energy to move closer to the goal or the finish line. In a few short weeks, the landscape of Hampton Road’s high schoolers will be changed forever as students get ready for the King and Queen Conference 2015.
Charles Clark, a decorated sprinter who has competed around the world, will host a conference unlike any you have seen. Dubbed the King & Queen Conference, Clark is convinced that life for our youth has the potential to be greater. Set to hit the area Nov. 7, 2015, at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach, VA., this conference is ramping up to draw hundreds of youth from various schools to be empowered for the day. Instead of hoping things change, or taking to social media to complain about what’s going wrong, this former olympian is leveraging his own efforts to be a change agent to thousands.
Clark, who grew up in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, has possessed the gene of an activist since his youth. A graduate of historic Florida State University, he is no stranger to adversity. To his credit, he had to struggle to get into his college of choice and prove many opinions wrong by winning on a national level. When asked about this period in his life, Clark said;
I’ll never forget the time I almost didn’t go to my dream school, Florida State University. Many people doubted I’d be successful. On top of that, I was stuck at home for a semester, studying for the SAT and ACT, while all my friends had already determined their future. There are thousands of stories like mine, but so many don’t make it out! My foundation is here to inspire, to let the youth and young adults know odds mean nothing! We are World-Changers, the one in a million. 24,000 World-Changers has been inspired and still going strong.
In order to help funnel his philanthropic efforts, Clark started a non-profit organization called the What Matters Foundation. The non-profit organization that is out to inspire the unknown “World-Changers” across the world, with a primary focus in the Hampton Roads. What Matters helps the youth and young adults define their purpose, optimize their talents, and effectively impact the world without wasting time, through programs and events. Clarke added:
We connect people on an emotional, interpersonal, educational, athletic, arts, and business level, all geared towards the empowerment for success through the use of accomplished athletes, community activists, and entrepreneurs. We address the issues that the youth and young adults want to hear and talk about.
Ultimately the Charles Clark What Matters Foundation ignites the freedom from emotional anxiety, courage to speak, self-expression, overcome challenges that life throws at you, completeness, stress-free environments, a deep spiritual connection to one’s purpose in life. The Foundation does this all for the purpose of providing the unknown World-Changers with feelings of pride, joy, love, shareable, and charitable moments that give a person peace of mind.
So what value is Clark working hard to add to youth across the region? They can be summed up in three easy to remember points, much like the mindset of a sprinter each time they enter the starter’s block:
- On your mark! Everything starts with the mindset that there is a place you belong. Until we accept the ideal that we belong in the winner’s circle and this race is only a formality, we will never see it. It takes guts to walk up and stand in the very area people said you could never possess. But that is exactly the thing you must do. You can never win a race you refuse to show up for!
- Get set! This is where many disconnect from their successful journey. Why? Because it is a journey. So often we think that showing up is the only thing we need to do. Absolutely not! Once you get there, it’s time to get into the best position to win. You will make adjustments, and mistakes; many will be uncomfortable. Nevertheless, get into your running position and prepare your heart to give it all you have!
- Go! Now that you’ve done all the prep work, pause and wait for the start. When you hear the shot, unleash your greatness on everything you come into contact with. The world has no idea they’ve been waiting for you until you show up. It’s time to move from potential to performance. You’ve done the training, now show them what you are working with!
So the question remains, “Are you ready to see our youth impacting and changed to live extraordinary lives?” This fall, the Charles Clark What Matters Foundation looks to end a two-month high school tour with a gender-based King and Queen Conference that will challenge youth in the areas of self-worth and image, social media, future plans and personal development. It is said that it’s easier to build a child than to repair an adult. Through these events, the foundation will be giving students substance, tools, and values they can apply immediately to areas within their school, career, family, sporting teams, and long into adulthood.
By Early Jackson
(Edited by Cherese Jackson)
Inside Images Courtesy of Charles Clark (King and Queen Conference Press Kit)
Featured Image Courtesy of Pietro & Silvia – Flickr CC License