By Sarrah Peters
Brian Earley, founder of Think 2 Change, spoke to Glencoe Middle School students on Tuesday, March 21.
Principal Tisha Howell introduced Earley, and the topic of kindness.
“If you’ve noticed, outside my office I have a picture that’s been inscribed,” said Howell. “It says ‘I’ve learned that it is the weak that are cruel, and that gentleness and kindness can only be expected from the strong.’”
Earley began his talk by telling the kids why he started Think 2 Change.
“It took 38 years to tell the story that I’m about to tell you,” said Earley. “And the reason I decided to tell the story was because I knew that there were students out there that needed to hear it.”
Earley went on to tell the students about his very abusive childhood.
Earley’s mother attempted but failed to abort her pregnancy twice. After he was born, she attempted to kill him and his brother twice, once with poison and once by drowning. She abandoned her children at a foster home, and never contacted them again. She died while Earley was overseas in the military. His father was a severe alcoholic, whose drinking killed him when Earley was only 14.
“I was abused every single day, from the time I could walk until I was in fifth grade,” said Earley.
Earley told the students how alone, worthless and unwanted he felt. At school, things were bad as well. Neglected by his parents, he often went to school in dirty clothes. His classmates picked on him, and he didn’t have friends.
“How did I survive what I survived?” asked Earley.
The answer was through a single act of kindness. In fifth grade, a cheerleader named Brandy approached him and asked why he was always alone. He responded that he had no friends, and she offered to be his friend.
Brandy, with her parents, made Earley a part of their lives. They gave him his very first birthday cake, and they became his family.
“One person changed my life, for the rest of my life,” said Earley. “One person saved my life and became the power of one. Because of just a few kind words, over 100,000 students have heard this story. It all started with one person saying ‘I’m not going to be what society defines me. I’m going to love. I’m going to help. I’m going to reach out, and I’m going to change a life.’”
For more information, visit www.think2change.org.