Help Black Lives Matter More

Black Lives Matter began as a campaign against white violence, killing and brutality of blacks by police, and issues of racial profiling and racial inequality in the criminal justice system. More changes are needed to end the decades of unrest and devaluation of the lives of blacks in America.

A Nationwide Effort of African Americans Helping One Another

An important step to reach the goal of equality is to call upon African Americans, especially those who are recognized as community leaders, to join together and embrace creating a nationwide effort to help black teens and adults increase their chances of achieving greater academic, career, and personal success. African Americans who serve their communities as mayors, ministers, teachers, or are in any position of prominence or fame can use their platforms to facilitate positive changes by guiding and mentoring other blacks to take control of their own destiny to gain their human rights and dignity.

Be Life Ready Can Inspire African Americans to Reach Their Full Potential

Through the use of social media, this effort can be communicated to African Americans in communities throughout America. Be Life Ready can become a catalyst to inspire all blacks, especially black youth, to reach their full potential. Existing resources created for the Be Life Ready initiative established as a nationwide human development initiative are available for free at

Be Life Ready Can Impact Social Problems of African Americans in America

Be Life Ready can be used to address some of the most prominent social problems affecting African Americans in America today. There are thousands of black teens and adults who are in a period of transition and desire to reevaluate their lives. Be Life Ready can help them gain their confidence and make new decisions necessary to become self-sufficient. Individuals who are soon to be released from prison, high school and college dropouts, current at-risk students, the unemployed or underemployed, and people living in poverty can all benefit by gaining information found in the Keys to Be Life Ready.


The Be Life Ready initiative is available as a positive resource and helpful tool to supplement, not replace, any existing programs that provide support and encouragement for individuals striving to improve their lives. The Be Life Ready resources are available for use by any individual, family, or community organization.

Improving Schools Requires Fixing Communities First

During a visit to a school in South Chicago a principal made a lasting impression on me. She told me about how one of her 8th grade male students was shot and killed on the street because he was carrying two guns and pulled them out while running away from the police. She attended the student’s funeral where one of her 7th grade students came up to her and lifted up his tee shirt that had a gun hidden under it and he said, “don’t worry, we’re always prepared”. She then asked me to look out of her office window at a small park across from the school and said that on the previous weekend 11 shootings had occurred there.

I’ve never forgotten that day nor the impact that principal made on me. She was totally dedicated and was clearly working so hard to help the children in her school reach their full potential. In the hour I was with her she had to excuse herself to break up an argument when a woman who was the mother of 9 children fathered by 9 different men was screaming at her secretary. Upon returning to our discussion her phone rang and she was informed that only 12 of an expected number of 65 children showed up for the first day of a summer reading program. The principal’s reaction to that news was one of total disappointment and frustration.

The principal had grown up in that community, left and went to college, continued on to earn a PhD, and years later decided she wanted to return to try and make a difference in the lives of the youth in her community. She indicated how frustrating it was and that as hard as she tried she said, “I can’t fix the school and help the students until the community and the people living in it improve first.” That was such an impactful statement.

The fact is that until the people who live in that community and others like it decide to improve their own living environment, principals will literally be fighting a battle they can never win alone. Principals are constantly challenged by issues in their schools and surrounding communities involving gang behavior, drug dealers, poverty, crime, teenage pregnancies, unemployed parents, dysfunctional and one-parent families, family members who dropped out of school, and their students just being able to survive on the streets once they leave the school building. All these issues make it extremely difficult for youth to be able to concentrate on school during and after they go home. Not only did I discover that situation in Chicago but similar scenarios were described to me during visits to schools in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Kansas City, East St. Louis, Indianapolis, Baltimore, New York City, Washington DC, Atlanta, and Trenton, New Jersey. Until all of the above mentioned problems are eradicated principals and their teachers will continue to struggle to improve the public schools they work in, as well as the safety, welfare, and academic ability of the children who attend those schools. Schools in at-risk communities can only improve once people living in those communities join together to address all of the social issues that affect the school and its students.

It was that Chicago principal and others like her that I met in cities throughout America that served as the motivation behind the creation of the Be Life Ready initiative. Hopefully, people will use the Keys to Be Life Ready material to facilitate Be Life Ready programs throughout communities in an effort to help young people and their family members reach their full potential.

Career and Personal Development Evolves Over Time

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the simple definition of development as

  • the act or process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger or more advanced.
  • the act or process of creating something over a period of time.

You too, will grow and become more advanced over a period of time and as you do you will be asked to make decisions that pertain to your personal development and career development. Every teen and adult is expected to be able to make important academic and career decisions throughout their lives, the kind of decisions that will have a significant impact on the overall quality and level of satisfaction of their life.

For a variety of reasons, most people are never really taught or even interested in learning how to make effective life-impacting academic and career decisions. For decades in our society it’s been assumed that people will just be able to make those kind of decisions when the time comes. So often those decisions end of being made hastily without much advanced preparation. It’s important for people to understand that making important academic and career decisions isn’t like solving problems that they watch during a TV program that can be solved in 60 minutes with four commercial breaks.

A person’s career development and personal development both involve processes that evolve over time and become more advanced as an individual matures and their interests and abilities become better defined. That usually occurs following a gradual advancement of growth through a series of progressive activities that take place in a person’s life. 

Personal development is a significant component of the overall career development process that evolves throughout a person’s teen and adult years. It is important to commit time and energy to completing a number of recommended developmental activities each year. A list of these tasks can be found in the Be Life Ready guidebook available online. By completing the suggested activities, you will acquire valuable information about yourself and the world of work which you’ll need before finalizing your academic and career choices. Since tasks are developmental you may want to repeat some of them in multiple years as they become appropriate to you.

If you are a teen start early in middle school and continue developing your personal skills throughout high school. Adults will find that the majority of recommended activities will be helpful and pertinent to them as well.

Making good academic and career choices definitely is something that should evolve over time in order to produce the best possible outcomes.

To Succeed Be Honest with Yourself When Choosing Academic and Career Options

When making your educational and career choices always be honest with yourself. What I mean is that just because you may have a strong interest in a particular major or occupation doesn’t always mean that you also have a parallel ability. Sometimes you may need to make compromises between wishes and realities and I don’t mean that in a negative or discouraging way.

If you expect to be successful academically you first need to strongly consider your academic abilities and your skill levels. By reviewing years of report cards and standardized test results you should be able to determine where your academic strengths and weaknesses are pretty easily. You need to make sure they match the required goals and expectations of the field of study you may be choosing to pursue.

Throughout my career working in a college environment I observed hundreds of students who entered college excited about and expecting to earn a particular degree. Unfortunately, many of them failed out because they chose majors that far exceeded their academic abilities. For example, don’t choose engineering if you haven’t succeeded in higher level math classes in high school because in the first semester of college you’ll need to pass Calculus and Physics courses. However, a better option for a student who hasn’t excelled in math but has above average math skills would be to enroll as an Engineering Technology major where Applied Calculus and Applied Physics classes, that have less theory and more hands-on applications, might be more manageable to pass.

It’s not to say that a person can’t enroll in remedial courses and with the proper effort and the help of faculty members and tutors be able to overcome their academic deficiencies but it takes time and a commitment to want to do so. The reality is that many students don’t figure that out in time nor are they mature enough to take advantage of all the support services that may be available to them which is a huge mistake and leads to failure.

Far too many students think that asking for help is a sign of weakness but instead they need to understand that getting help is actually a sign of maturity and commitment that indicates to others a desire for wanting to succeed. A word of advice is that a faculty member will always help any student who is seriously making a sincere effort to want to learn. That, my Be Life Ready friends, will often make a difference when it is time for a faculty member to submit a final grade. The student who is trying will always be thought of more favorably which could be the difference between receiving a passing grade or a failing one.

It is important to choose a major where you can experience success and hopefully prepare you for entrance into a job in your chosen field upon graduation. Also, once you gain experience and more knowledge you can always decide to pursue a higher level degree at a later time. You might think about finding an employer who will offer encouragement for you to advance your education as well as provide tuition reimbursement if you do.

Bottom line is you need to choose your majors wisely and realistically if you expect to succeed academically! Good luck.

Be a Lifelong Learner

Being and staying an educated person is critical in today’s world. It is important to be educated and to develop a personal academic comfort zone to be able to keep up with technological advancements occurring in not only in our work lives but in our personal lives as well. To do so, you need to commit to being a lifelong learner.

The initial degree you earn will help get you your first job, but it’s being a lifelong learner that will enable you to keep your job, get promoted, earn a higher salary, or perhaps qualify for and seek a better job in the future.

In today’s workplace, to stay marketable to employers and to remain valuable you need to stay on top of industry trends and technological advances in your field. It’s important to always keep your job-related skills current. Many people often lose jobs because they don’t. Don’t let that happen to you! Always take advantage of any training opportunities your employer offers and be aware of those colleges and vocational schools in your community that offer courses for you to upgrade or gain new skills.

Consider Your Educational Options Carefully

Being educated is power and it is vital to any person who expects to have the opportunity to create a more successful, satisfying life. When making choices regarding your education it is important to take the necessary time to carefully consider all of your options. Determine what level of education and the type of degree you will want to seek, the career field you want to prepare for, and where you can afford and access the education you plan to attain. Whether you earn a diploma, license, or certificate will have a tremendous impact on the occupation you can pursue and the wages you can earn. Ultimately, your education will impact the overall quality of your life.

In America a child’s educational experience begins in pre-school or kindergarten and progresses from 1st grade to 12th grade. Unfortunately, approximately 30% of youth make the decision to drop out of high school which in my opinion is the absolute worse decision any young person could ever make. No one, should have dropping out their best alternative when it comes to making an educational choice. However, if someone does they should at least attain a GED certificate which is a high school equivalency credential that requires passing tests that measure proficiency in science, math, social studies, reading and writing.

After graduating high school opportunities for further education are limitless and often times overwhelming for a young person to have to make. Although schools provide counselors and a variety of interest tests and career planning classes students don’t often focus on the process the way they should and they end up putting the decision off as long as they can. When that happens choices made often end with up with unfavorable outcomes. In my opinion, because schools have to focus so much on preparing students for taking standardized tests, career planning often doesn’t get the attention it should which is a costly mistake that educational leaders and parents need to address.

Below are a few options that teens and adults returning to school can consider for furthering their education. Although this list doesn’t include every possibility it does include the most common options to consider exploring that will prepare you for a career.

  • Trade or vocational schools: their goal is to produce job-ready graduates who will earn a certificate or license in order to qualify to work in a specialized field. When exploring careers be aware that there are approximately 1600 careers that require certification.
  • Apprenticeships and on-the-job training: depending on the trade you choose you may also be able to seek an apprenticeship or an on-the-job experience leading to a job-ready certificate and license.
  • Two-year community or technical college: most two-year colleges are open admission and require either a high school diploma or GED to gain acceptance. Community colleges offer affordable tuition and are great places for people to gain a fresh start academically. You’ll be able to choose between degrees that prepare you to get a job directly upon graduation or a transfer degree that prepares you to transfer to a four-year college.
  • Four-year college or university: four-year degrees are available in hundreds of majors and career fields that offer a more well-rounded education with 10-12 classes in a specific major with the rest in liberal arts, English, history, psychology, and language courses.
  • Master’s and PhD’s: These are advanced degrees earned upon completing a four-year degree that prepare people for professional level occupations.

Everyone Receives a Birth and Death Certificate, All Other Certificates Have to Be Earned

At birth, every individual receives a birth certificate validating the beginning of their life and at the end of it that person, actually a surviving family member, will receive a death certificate that officially validates that the person is deceased. Those two certificates are the only ones a person receives automatically.

All other certificates that an individual receives throughout their lifetime must be earned and require some effort to attain. The purpose of a certificate is that it provides proof that the recipient has acquired special knowledge and expertise in a concentrated area of study. To do so, rigorous academic standards must be met and usually a qualifying exam is required as part of the certification process. Only after passing that exam will a certificate be awarded indicating that the recipient has successfully mastered the skills required to enter a job and perform it successfully.

No matter what occupational field you choose, chances are in addition to first earning a high school or college diploma there’s also a certification requirement for it depending on the level you are at educationally and professionally. Today according to the Certification and Accreditation Directory certification programs have grown enormously with nearly 1600 certifications required to either enter an occupation or keep it. Workers are expected to stay current throughout their career by acquiring knowledge through continuing education courses needed to become re-certified.

Today’s global and technologically advanced society requires ways of recognizing competence in professionals and providers of services. Occupations ranging from doctors, lawyers, engineers, and architects to pet trainers and cake decorators all require different types of certifications to either enter the profession or perhaps to supplement existing credentials in order to stay employed in an existing occupation. Careers in fields such as automotive, manufacturing, fitness, medical and health support, human resources, teaching, child care, welding, real estate, information technology, financial planning, and safety are examples of occupations where workers are expected to become and remain certified.

When researching careers or talking to others who may be employed in an occupation that you are considering be sure to learn what certifications are required of that occupation. Find out if earning a certification will help you gain employment, help you advance, make more money, or be more marketable. Listen carefully and consider that information as you make your educational and career decisions.

As always, care enough about yourself to commit the time and energy to research and learn about certifications for any potential career opportunities you are considering. Getting answers to your questions will help you understand the importance of being educated and how much education is required to enter and advance in your chosen occupation.

Be Life Ready and Earn More by Being Educated

Education is power! The more educated you become the more value you’ll have in the job market. You’ll have more opportunities, be viewed as more qualified, and be more likely to advance in your chosen occupation.

When making important decisions about your education consider the following points:

  • First, and most important, finish high school. Do not drop out, don’t even think about it, and don’t be influenced to do so by friends or others who don’t have your best interest in mind. Dropping out of high school will prove to be the absolute worse decision you ever make.
  • Without a high school diploma opportunities for future success won’t exist. Don’t take your high school years lightly because how proficient you become in core reading, writing, and math subjects is critical for developing a strong foundation for all of your future learning opportunities.
  • Being educated will have a tremendous impact on your earning potential. Higher paying jobs usually require some form of diploma, certificate, or license that provides proof that you possess the special knowledge required to perform the job duties and solve the problems that correspond to a particular position. Be aware that the more difficult the problem is to solve and the more important it is to the employer the better the salary will be.
  • Minimum wage is paid because a job only requires minimal knowledge and minimal education. If you think you are entitled to earn a higher salary just because you work hard, think again, because in reality if you expect to make more money you have to be deemed qualified to earn it. An employer creates a job because there is something that they need to have done and if that something requires a higher skill level, then they will be willing to pay an amount equivalent to the importance of the job. For example, digging a 10 foot by 20-foot hole with a shovel might prove to be harder work for someone but an employer will pay a higher salary to a person who is certified to operate a backhoe who can dig that hole in a half hour instead of taking two days.

Take your education seriously! No matter if you are a teen or an adult, decisions you make about your education will absolutely be the most important decisions you’ll ever make in your entire life. Care enough about yourself to commit the time and energy to research and learn about potential career opportunities, why you need to be educated, and how much education is required to enter your chosen occupation and then advance to the level you prefer on that occupation’s career ladder.

Be Life Ready, Is All About You!

Let’s begin by explaining what Be Life Ready is and why you should read this blog and future ones. If you care about yourself then the Be Life Ready blog is for you! It’s your decision, it’s your life and only you can control what level of success you’ll attain and what the overall quality of your current and future life will be. Be Life Ready is also for you to share with others you may care about, especially if you are in a position to influence and help them achieve greater academic, career, and personal success.

Be Life Ready will impact how you feel, what you think, what you do, who you could become, and how you make important life-impacting decisions. It was created to serve as a catalyst to inspire teens and adults to achieve their full potential using commonsense approaches and practical information included in 9 specific Keys to Be Life Ready. Addressing each key will help increase the chances of creating a life that is a more meaningful and satisfying one. Everyone, including you, deserves the opportunity to become successful!

Imagine that you are standing at the beginning of a long road. That road represents your destiny, the pathway leading you through life. Are you ready and confident to travel down that road? Be Life Ready is intended to provide you with knowledge to help you navigate through life in a more confident and productive way.

Be Life Ready is built upon a very basic principle; the quality of any person’s life is a direct result of the choices he or she makes throughout it. Therefore, the more proficient you are at making decisions that will produce favorable outcomes the more likely a happier, more successful, life will result.

Think about your life? What kind of life do you have? Is it the kind of life you expected or want to have? If not, then you need to follow the Be Life Ready blog on a regular basis to gain practical information focused on topics related to the following 9 Keys to Be Life Ready:

  1. Be educated and a lifelong learner.
  2. Create and maintain a Success Team.
  3. Develop a Success Plan.
  4. Use an effective decision-making process.
  5. Make good big-ticket decisions.
  6. Focus on personal development.
  7. Be knowledgeable of skills.
  8. Market yourself and interview positively.
  9. Understand how to find a job.

Come back and visit and you’ll be glad you did! Comments are welcome.