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Motivational Speaker Comes to Springfield's Youth Empowerment Center

Updated: Thursday, May 8 2014, 11:28 AM CDT
Last year, Springfield native, Jay Smith decided to give back to the community through motivational speaking.

"If I can give one person faith in themselves to know that they can overcome what they've been through in life..I feel that I've done what I'm suposed to be doing," Smith said.

Smith knows first hand about a rough life.

"Off and on I was incarcerated for about 10 years," Smith said.
He faced multiple theft and burglary charges.

"I probably fell in with the wrong crowd and let the wrong people intimidate me, and lead me astray from what I really wanted to do"

That's one of the main messages Smith brougght to some at-risk youth participants Monday.  He shared his story at Springfield Urban League's Youth Empowerment Center. 
It's something instructors hope will have a profound effect on some young people in the crowd who have also spent time behind bars.

"A lot of our participants have gone through some trying times, have made some mistakes in life," Levar Franklin, Director of the Youth Group Empowerment Program said.
"We try to teach them here in the program that they are not defined by
those mistakes and that they can bounce will be great for somebody with a story very similar to theirs to show them that it is posible," Smith said.

Ivory Molton spent nearly 25 years in jail and was excited to hear Smith speak.

"It would be saving somebody's life," Smith said.  If they {would} just listen, and that's what J is bringing to the table," Molton said.

"You are more than your mistake and like the motto on my shirt turning negatives into positives that it doesn't matter what negative things have
happened to can turn those around into positives and help yourself go further in life," Smith said.

To learn more about Jay Smith, you can contact him at Speaker Comes to Springfield's Youth Empowerment Center

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