Inner Strength Received by: Valdimer Joseph Sponsored by: Newman's Own, Inc.
For more Information, please contact: Inner Strength Val Joseph P.O. Box 5109 Atlanta, GA 30302-5109 PH: 404-688-8898 www.innerstrength.org
We first met Valdimer Joseph back in December 1999 as part of our first "Courage To Give" show.
Val grew up in a New York City housing project and understands firsthand how a young person's spirit can be broken on the streets. Despite his surroundings, Val discovered something he was passionate about…school. With the help of his mentor, Father Ned Murphy, Val went to a private prep school and attended Morehouse College. While working three jobs to pay for school, Val began mentoring young men. When he had to choose between applying to Harvard Law School or mentoring more young people, Val chose the latter.
"That actually scares me to think about where some of these young people would be if they didn't have support from our program."
With a small grant, he began the organization, Inner Strength, changing the lives of hundreds of young people. Val says helping people is what makes him feel successful. The five-year-old program, Inner Strength, has been called "one of the most promising in the country". Inner Strength offers young people tutoring and GED prep, SAT prep, general high school studies, mentoring in life skills, wellness management and violence prevention.
The organization also takes inner-city youth in to the wilderness, an opportunity, Val says to show disadvantaged boys how to tap into their own "inner strength". "They are conditioned to be very hard...and when you take kids out into the woods...they laugh, they giggle, they play...and feel it's okay to let down their guard."
Striving for Excellence Inner Strength used Oprah's Angel Network Use Your Life Award to renovate a new space. Inner Strength also purchased a passenger van to transport students in their after-school program and on field trips. The award also funded their summer program on the campus of Moorehouse College; staff training and workshops on the African Martial Art of Capoeira Angola; and a parenting skills workshop on communication skills and positive discipline.