Chattanoogans looking for motivation and financial well-being advice are in luck.
Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Kingdom Center, located at 730 M.L. King Blvd., three speakers will discuss solutions to financial pitfalls and ways to regain stability and community. Entry is $20 for adults and $10 for children.
“The event is to motivate others who are feeling down and out,” said event host and area bail-bondsman Tony Boston. “For people who have bad credit, who need advice and need to stay uplifted. It’s mainly to motivate young folks to be something better and to stay away from the violence.”
IF YOU GO
What: Motivational breakfast
When: 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: Kingdom Center, 730 M.L. King Blvd.
Cost: $20 for adults; $10 for children
Saturday’s event will feature Maurice Willis, a motivational speaker and author who overcame a childhood surrounded by drugs and poverty; Kevin McKenzie Sr., a Brainerd High School graduate and motivational speaker who is involved in a handful of boards and consulting projects in Nashville schools; and Brandie King, a financial well-being coach at Operation HOPE.
“I’m from a country town called Bakewood, Tennessee, and it’s a place where a lot of dreamers are,” said Willis, now 39. “A place where God has placed a lot of value in the family, but over the years, drugs took over the community, and I was part of it. I watched families get destroyed by drug addiction. I watched my mom get hooked on drugs. My father suffered from alcoholism, which ran in the family.”
Willis said he started asking himself what was happening, what was causing people to give up, after spending many years himself in the streets. He’s since gone on to write and publish a motivational book called “Amazingly Ridiculous” and worked his way up the ladder the last 11 years at Cherokee Distribution in Chattanooga to become a warehouse manager.
“A lot of [the negativity] comes from what you’ve seen growing up,” he said. “If you grow up around people seeing all negatives, that’s a mindset they take on their whole life.”
Boston said these desperate upbringings also saddle young people with debt. For example, he said, parents sometimes put unpaid bills in their children’s or relatives’ names, which flattens their credit without them realizing it. Boston said the child support system also harms credit for many young men who get imprisoned for failed payments.
“Mostly what we’re trying to do is get the mindset of our Chattanooga family changed into a better understanding of growth, so they can get out of their own way and be better and not allow certain things that happened in the past to hinder them from moving forward,” McKenzie said.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.