Every person has a story. We give these stories a stage on which to be shared with the world. So the best way to know the stories of our experiences through Speak It Forward Inc. is to hear it directly from the mouths of those we have worked with: business owners, teachers, students, prisoners, juveniles, you name it. 

Here are a few stories that reveal to us the power of communication and how it can either be used to tear down the world…or lift it up.

Tim Minor – Mason Jars

Tim Minor is our longest lasting Speak It Forward Mentor. One of the ways he has influenced many youth comes from his honest reflections about his past through his writing. Take a few moments to witness Tim’s Mason Jars, a poem 20 years in the making.

Luis Nava – Lakeside Academy Youth

My name is Luis and I am 16 years old. I was not the best of 3 kids, I was one to want to do everything my way and if I didn’t get it I would act out violently and hurt anyone in my way. I’ve been through shootouts, stabbing, and even seeing my own friend die in front of me. I’ve lived through heavy drug use, like narcotics and street drugs. (It has taken time,) but I have learned from my mistakes. I’ve been arrested 9 times, and to 6 different placements, and the last one helped change me. Lakeside Academy gave me different opportunities like being to be a part of Speak It Forward. At first I didn’t like poetry, but what they do isn’t just poetry. It’s a method to let go of what we hold onto in our lives and for me it worked. I learned that all I needed was to express what I’ve gone through and a chance for others to listen to my story. I’m from California and have gone through so much, but now I live in Indiana playing Varsity football in high school, about to reach my goal of playing college football. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for Speak It Forward, they changed my life and helped me find a second chance to be different and successful.

Autumn Collins

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always written. I’ve been told that I was born that way. When I was younger, I always considered being a writer as a career but then I grew up quickly or “too fast” and stopped… I kept writing but it was only for fun. I stopped considering as a career. Then I met Kirk and Gabriel, cofounders of Speak It Forward and saw first hand it was possible. Granted, hard but everything in life that’s worth having is hard. Then in May of 2012 I performed and so many people talked to me afterwards and I saw just how much of a difference I made. My writing made a difference, something I had always wanted as a child happened showing me first hand that my dreams could come true. Ever since then I’ve been writing. I’ve even started a book and written down some other story ideas. Right now, I’m using my writing skills for Woman’s Co-op and in charge of creating a newsletter very month. Because of Speak It Forward, I’ve learned that I can use my writing skills to make a difference and no matter how hard it may be, writing for a living is definitely worth fighting for and where there’s a will there’s a way. Performing that day so long ago was essentially a dream come true for the little girl inside me that hadn’t necessarily died, but was buried. The part of me that I had hidden away so long ago, in an attempt to grow up. A part of me that I thought needed to die in order to survive. I was wrong. I’d like to think that the moment I met Kirk and Gabriel, leaders of Speak It Forward, was the first step of many to making me the woman I am today.

As for where I was at that point in life, I had more or less given up. I had dropped out of high school for a while, but I went looking for an online school somehow ending up at Urban League. I was accepted and shortly after I signed up for an “extracurricular” credit, Speak It Forward. I don’t even remember how I came across Urban League. I guess it was just awesome timing. Something I needed at that point in time. It was definitely a life changer.

Courtney Agosta – Student

Today I was able to hear both of you speak for the second time at states. The first time I was at another student council event. Both times you swept me off my feet. Your message took a toll on me and I use it very often in my life. What you guys do and what you’ve been through is very inspiring along with the fact you’ve taken your life experience and your talents of poetry to help others. I went through a really rough patch in my life over the end of my sophomore year to this years homecoming and even a little after. It sometimes still takes a toll on me and it has changed me. But the mark you left on me personally helps with that. It wasn’t something like the loss of a family member of anything like that, it was bits of important people in my life walking out on me and every little thing that could crash down on me at the same time took it’s chance to bring me down more. It all seemed to build up so much that I had days I didn’t want to leave my bed and at one point I didn’t for almost a week unless I had to eat or shower. I realized that life does go on. Your message and your speech reminds me everything that feeling comes back that I have a purpose. That purpose is for myself to follow my dreams. Not for the amount of money in my pocket or the amount of “friends” I have. Seeing you two do what you do and how you are shows me I can d the same by following my dreams. You have a different unique style compared to other speakers I’ve heard, and that is awesome. Your dream has showed others to follow their own dream, to fight battles of life, not take things for granted, and to live for who you are not what everyone else wants you to be…Thank you for everything.

See the Vision

It is through the sharing of our experiences that we can build authentic relationships.

Hear the Stories

Connect with our students through their stories, testimonials and experiences.

Join the Movement

We are a community of people like you who value the unheard voices of our world.