Salome Thomas-EL, award-winning educator and the highly-praised author of I Choose to Stay, has helped hundreds of troubled children get into magnet high schools, major colleges, and universities. Yet he still finds himself devastated by the long-ago death of a promising student named Willow Briggs. Salome worked with and consistently encouraged this troubled boy, who ultimately became one of the school's top chess players and students. But when Willow moved on to high school, he found no real positive influences. He struggled academically and was murdered on a street corner at the age of sixteen. More than any other factor, Willow's death launched Salome Thomas-EL on his mission to be a positive influence, and to encourage all of us to set the best example possible for the young people in our lives.
The Immortality of Influence is a refreshing, common-sense roadmap to helping kids achieve their dreams in which Thomas-EL movingly describes the methods he has used to help his students succeed. It all started in Vaux Middle School, where he began a chess club to teach boys and girls how to think critically and resolve conflicts with their minds instead of their fists. Not only did his students win eight national championships and become local heroes, they also scored high on the SATs and got into top colleges. When Thomas-EL found himself faced with kids who didn't exercise or eat well, he started a summer program in which the students walked to museums and other cultural events around the city. Recognizing the importance of exposing kids to the world outside their own neighborhoods, he took fifteen African-American students to rural Vermont, where they interacted with white children their age and discovered how much they had in common. All of these students were later accepted to the best magnet high schools. These are just a few examples of what can happen when kids are mentored in a positive way--not only at home, but in the community at large.
For parents, guardians, educators--anyone who wants the best for kids, this book is an essential, inspirational reference. It's all about making a difference--not just for today, but forever. Sometimes, it only takes one special person to set a child on the right path, but more often, it does indeed take a village. The Immortality of Influence will inspire you to band together with other caring adults and start making a difference--now.
About the Author
Salome Thomas-EL is a national education expert, media consultant, and former award-winning teacher and principal in Philadelphia. He has motivated thousands of parents and students to embrace the philosophy that education and hard work come before success. Thomas-EL received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach, and his students have gone on to become National Chess Champions. He is a national board member of America’s Foundation for Chess and keynotes scores of school district convocations, national and state conferences, and motivational presentations for students around the country. He has been called “An American Icon” by Reader’s Digest Magazine and received the distinguished Martin Luther King Award. Principal EL is a regular guest contributor on the first season of The Dr. Oz Show and frequently appears on C-SPAN, CNN, and NPR Radio. His first book, I Choose to Stay, was optioned by Disney Films. Learn more about Salome and his students at www.ichoosetostay.com.
Cecil Murphey is the author or coauthor of more than 135 books, including such notable titles as the New York Times bestselling 90 Minutes in Heaven, coauthored with Don Piper, and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, coauthored with Dr. Ben Carson. In addition to his writing, Murphey is a popular public speaker on the subject of faith and spiritual growth and healing, having been a pastor and missionary before he became a successful writer.