Episode 6: Shaun T. – Show Notes

Episode 6 is the source of one of our new favorite sayings about having a huge windshield (looking forward) and a tiny rearview mirror (looking back). Your focus should be on where you are going, but you should remember where you have been. Here is what we covered in Episode 6:

  • Amy talks about the notOK app, which was developed to easily alert a predefined list of other people for help and support in a dangerous mental or physical state. 00:27
  • Teresa talks about Shaun T. who is known for being a hip-hop fitness instructor, but has a lot more to his story than that. 02:50.
  • Teresa talks about wanting to join a motorcycle gang. Ok, so it is a motorcycle gang that helps protect abused children, which is pretty cool. 28:57
  • Total Episode Run-Time 36:16

Summary

We start of with a story that begins with a scary health condition and leads to an app that might save hundreds of lives. Hannah Lucas, a teenager who was diagnosed with a condition that caused her to faint unexpectantly. Hannah became so worried about fainting if she went anywhere, that she became depressed and started doing self-harm. During a conversation with her mother, Hannah said she wished there was an app that let other people know when she needed support. Then it struck her- she could create such an app. She enlisted her 13-year-old brother who had learned to code at summer camp to help developed the app. the “notOK” app allows the user to issue an alert to up to five other predesignated people with the touch of a button. The alert would let the designated people know that the user was in need of assistance, whether it be mental and emotional support or physical aid. The app includes a GPS component, so the user can be located. Hannah’s brother plotted out the app, and Hannah took the design proposal to her summer entrepreneurial class and pitched the idea. The instructor was so impressed that he introduced her to developers who agreed to take on the implementation of her design. The app, which has been released for both Android and iPhones cold act as a mental health or physical danger panic button that could save lives. Mental illness in particular has such a stigma attached to it, it can be hard to reach out to someone in times of extreme mental or emotional anguish. Similarly, where there is physical danger, there may not be the ability to type out a text or make a call. This one-touch button in an app sends out a simple but clear message: “Hey, I’m not OK. Please call me, text me, or come find me.” This message automatically goes out to up to five designated trusted contacts. This is a fantastic idea from a young woman who turned her own fear into a way to helping others. For more information, see the link on our Inspirational Links page.

Shaun T., (the T is for Thompson), is renowned for his hip-hop fitness videos. A celebrity trainer, Shaun T. has had dozens of workout videos, including his popular Insanity video series. But what is less known is how this man survived a tough upbringing, surviving sexual abuse from his step-father, and how that and other experiences shaped his new world view. Shaun T. is all about looking forward, rather than dwelling on the past. As he describes it, it’s like a car. You want to have a big windshield looking forward, to see where you are going. And you want a tiny rearview mirror, that while it is not your focus, you can see behind you and learn from your past. Shaun T. has always looked forward. He talks about the pain and problems caused by his sexually abusive step-father. He suffered food insecurity and would squirrel away food so he could have something to eat at night. When he was in his teens, he was an aspiring dancer. Although very talented, his opportunities were limited, and he put his dance moves to use in a Chuck E. Cheese costume. He didn’t let that slow him down, and he made the most out of that opportunity. He would teach fitness classes first thing in the morning and then hit dance auditions in between jobs. This guy refuses to give up. He found dance work in some productions, both on stage and in videos, including dancing for Mariah Carey. Due to his dance background, he became popular with his hip-hop workouts, but he wanted to do more. He tried to expand his style of classes to more intense workout videos, but his bosses said no, because he was the “hip-hop abs guy”. He did not let that stop him either. He designed his Insanity workouts and had a bunch of friends do the workout with him on video. He presented that video to his bosses and that led to a best-selling workout video series. For Shaun T., giving up is not an option. He relates back to something a high school coach told him- you always have a little more to give in your reserve tank. Its just a matter of setting your mind to it and digging a little deeper. Although Shaun T. is known for his fitness expertise, his book T Is for Transformation: Unleash the 7 Superpowers to Help You Dig Deeper, Feel Stronger, and Live Your Best Life is not a fitness book. While it touches on health and fitness, it is more about how to move forward in your own life. He shares his often painful stories in an honest and transparent way, because he wants to show how your past life does not determine your future. This is a guy who understands inspiration and following your dreams and he has a lot to teach us.

In the next segment, Teresa informs us she wants to join a biker gang. Yes, a biker gang, with Harleys and bandanas, and denim vests with patches and logos and all. It is completely irrelevant that she does not know how to drive a motorcycle. However, her motivation is completely Teresa. Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA), is a group of bikers that help children who have been abused. They get assigned to children children who have been abused, so the child knows they have someone looking out for them. The idea is to empower the children by letting them know that they have a big, tough, burly biker looking out for them. Part of their mission statement is:  We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle. They let the kids know they are part of a community, and that the community will protect them. This group works with existing law enforcement groups, social workers, and the courts to help the children feel safe. Often, the assigned members escort the children to court, and sit in the courtroom so the child feels like someone there has his or her back. The group was founded by John Paul Lilly, known as “Chief”, who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, to help empower children to find confidence to help the healing process. All of the biker members go through a vetting process and 40-50 hours of training. There are strict rules about contact with the children, and while the bikers are there to protect the child, they are not to resort to violence or threats (although they may certainly lend an intimidating presence). This group seems an unlikely match, but to children who have been abused, these burly bikers may provide a sense of security that allows these kids to get through each day.

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