I grew up four blocks away from Edison High School, the largest Latino serving High School in Philadelphia. Although my parents didn’t send me there because I wasn’t tough enough, I have visited many times. My overwhelming sense from my time there is the incredible amount of talent, energy and beauty of that student body over the years juxtaposed with the immense pain that those students are burdened by through family separation, violence and profound despair. Indeed, the ability of these young people is immense, and how much could they provide the world if we could help them heal and focus on their dreams and aspirations?
So it is with this backdrop that I entered Edison recently to interview the “CoolSpeak” crew. A dear friend Carlos Ojeda, Jr. founded CoolSpeak to provide young people the motivation and educational guidance they need and deserve. Carlos along with another dear friend his business partner Ernesto Mejia have built an incredible company as Social Entrepreneurs and their latest visit to Edison High School epitomized how CoolSpeak changes lives everyday.
After an incredible session with a few hundred students, I sat down with Carlos and his colleagues Actor and motivational speaker April Lee Hernandez as well as Zach Gowen, a world renowned professional wrestler, whose personal story has brought him into the CoolSpeak family. Highlights of the podcast interview are below and please listen to the full podcast: Latino Talk that will change your life.
LISTEN TO FULL PODCAST
Host Rafael “Ray” Collazo discusses changing the world with your message with Carlos Ojeda, Jr., actor April Lee Hernandez & wrestler Zach Gowen of CoolSpeak. Learn how to to turn hardship & mess into forgiveness and POWER.
Check out this episode!Highlights from the “Take a Mess and Make it a Message” episode of Rays Podcast: Latino Talk that will change your life.
April Lee Hernandez is a SAG nominated Actor most known for her scene stealing role in Freedom Riders. April could be in Hollywood full-time developing her next film project, but she chooses to carve out a significant amount of her time inspiring students with her “brutally honest” message. Some highlights and quotes from our conversation with April.
“How could I not do it?” When asked why she dedicates her life to motivating young people. “I wish someone brought life into me” when April was that age.
“Forgiveness is more for you.” April is a survivor of abuse and has ‘taken back her power’ through forgiveness and raising her voice. Listen to how April inspires women to break their silence to not only heal, but change the world.
“Take a Mess and Make it a Message.” April coined the theme of this podcast. Listen to how this powerful statement guides her life message.
Zach Gowen overcame being abandoned by his father and losing his leg a a child to become an internationally acclaimed athlete as the WWE’s first one legged wrestler. Zach has dedicated his life to servicing others.
“Divine Intervention” that led to a life providing “max service to others” is how Zach describes how his life path went from wrestling to inspiring children through his personal story.
Listen to the full podcast to hear how Zach connects with students to let them know they are not alone.
“In case you didn’t notice, Zach is white,” notes Carlos Ojeda, Jr., the CEO of CoolSpeak and the man who brought us all together today in the auditorium of Edison High School.
Carlos highlights the importance of students of color hearing from people that don’t look like them with similar experiences. Hear more from Carlos about how Zach and April capture the attention of students and what the CoolSpeak team learns from students everyday.
“Are you ready for the responsibility?”
Carlos gives us some “real talk” during our conversation about fatherhood and the importance of males taking responsibility for mentorship of all the young men in our communities. Carlos shares some incredible stories of how mentorship happens in many forms and how these moments have impacted his life.
Check out CoolSpeak for more information on their speakers and educational services. And check out Rays Podcast for upcoming episodes with other incredible Rays Of Light that will change your life!