As I woke up at 6:30 am on a Saturday, after a week of being sick, I was not particularly thrilled about going on a two-hour drive to Atlanta for the Kids Business Expo featuring the Kid’s Are Heroes young leaders summit. I honestly had no idea what to expect when I got down there. I was convinced it was going to be like every other exhibit, I sit in a booth, talk to mildly interested people, and there was going to be a general low energy atmosphere. Oh, I was so wrong.
Within in two minutes of walking in the convention center I ran into a good Global Teen Leader (GTL) friend from New York City and I already began to feel optimistic. I traveled into the auditorium to watch the keynote speaker. Marcus Lemonis, a very successful businessman who has his own show on CNBC, The Profit. He was nothing but awe-inspiring. He is no stranger to adversity. Yet, he grew up to be a millionaire, who has fascinating advice to give.
After that it was time to go to our booths, but before I could I ran into three more of my GTL friends: MaryMargaret O’Neil, Olivia Wright, and Alessandro Lauria. We began to talk, it was awkward at first, I mean it’s been close to year since I’ve seen these people. But the more we talked, the more comfortable we started to talk and our conservation spread across various topics.
Finally, we went to our own booths to promote our own projects. Olivia has her H.U.G.S campaign, Alessandro has his Malaria Defense Project, and MaryMargaret was the one responsible for all of us being there. She runs the Kids are Heroes and she coordinated he whole event.
Later, another GTL showed up, Carter Reis who runs OMG (One More Generation) with his sister. Each kid there had a chance to go up on stage and explain what they do. So many amazing projects were showcased it is hard for me to remember them all. At one point I was interviewed by a family of five, who are going around the country making a documentary about kids who are changing the world (One Year Road Trip).
I even recruited three new shavees for the 5th Annual Jack’s Chattanoggins (June 7, 2015): Carter Reis, Olivia Reis, and their father, Jim Reis. After the exhibit was over the heroic children retreated to the Embassy Suites for a stellar after party that lasted quite a bit. We had two DJs, a dance party, and best of all, free food. I finally went to bed at around 1:00 am in the morning.
At the end of the day, this one was of the best days promoting the foundation I’ve ever had. It was also a wonderful GTL reunion. We were all brought closer together than we ever have been. I even was told about a very interesting college to attend. So, this day could very possibly be a life-changing day. I also met some new friends who I plan to stay in touch with. Looking back I couldn’t have been more wrong about this event. And, I am very grateful I was wrong.