SaulPaul – an author, keynote speaker and musician – delivered a message and a bit of music online to youth from BCFS Health and Human Services Community Services Division (CSD) on Tuesday, April 28.
Like many of the youth at the virtual event, SaulPaul began his life with plenty of obstacles that could have kept him from building the life he enjoys today. After losing his mother at 3 years old, his father soon abandoned him. SaulPaul would grow up in the care of his grandmother, who turned 78 the same year he turned 13. “She had a big heart, and instead of seeing that and being grateful, I took advantage of it,” he told the youth.
At a young age he found himself in a courtroom, facing 10 years in prison. He spent time in the penitentiary, but upon release he started attending the University of Texas and soon received a degree. Now as a public speaker who connects with young people wherever they are in the world and in life, SaulPaul says he hopes the point of his story is not that anyone can do what he did, but instead that his life was made much more difficult because of choices he made. He hopes fewer young people will make the mistakes he did, and can find a simpler path to success.
Youth that may have more burdens to bear than others have an advantage, according to SaulPaul. They have a strength that few others possess. “When you lift weights, it makes you stronger,” he said. “When you have weight on your back, and when you don’t let that weight crush you, you’re stronger.”
The speaker ended his message by sharing with the youth that they would each get a copy of his book, “Dream in 3D,” and he had a surprise announcement for the high-school seniors on the call: all are invited to a graduation ceremony in May, which will also be virtual.
Learn more about CSD’s advocacy for youth in Texas.