35 episodes

America Out Loud Network © - Good News and Heroes do exist... Exciting and inspiring stories of people that were finding themselves on the brink of some life decision that transformed their life.

BRINK OF GREATNESS Malcolm Out Loud & Kevin Williams

    • Society & Culture

America Out Loud Network © - Good News and Heroes do exist... Exciting and inspiring stories of people that were finding themselves on the brink of some life decision that transformed their life.

    🎧 Inspiring Girls to Excel in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

    🎧 Inspiring Girls to Excel in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

    Every young girl and boy have been asked the question; 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' For boys, it was an athlete, astronaut, doctor, scientist, policeman, or a fire fighter. For girls, a teacher, veterinarian, singer, actress, dancer, or artist would have been a typical answer.



    The answer kids give to that question is changing, and if Stephanie Hein, Julia Haried or Elizabeth Engele have anything to say about it, those typical stereotype answers will become a thing of the past.



    There has been great progress over the years, but consider that women make up half of the total college-educated workforce in the United States, however they are only 29 percent of the overall science and engineering workforce.



    “One of the main reasons why girls aren’t interested in the STEM fields is that there is a lack of role models," explains Stephanie Hein. "Young girls don’t see many women in STEM fields and because of that, they don’t see themselves pursuing those fields. If more women pursue careers in STEM, then that can serve as a significant source of inspiration for young girls.”



    Founded in a social entrepreneurship class at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Co-Founders, Julia Haried and Elizabeth Engele, were inspired by the question "What bothers you?" 



    They want to inspire girls to be active in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, so that young ladies can begin that process of understanding that they can do anything that they can dream up or print out in this case. MakerGirl was created to inspire young girls to pursue STEM fields through 3D printing sessions.



    Julia and Elizabeth hired Stephanie Hein as CEO of MakerGirl in the fall of 2018; Stephanie has her own unique story in how she became involved. But it was when Stephanie raised money through a Kickstarter program, and took the program on the road from coast to coast to inspire young girls to get involved⏤that changed everything!

    The story continues on the Brink of Greatness Podcast…

    The Next Leap Forward

    Before her role as CEO, Stephanie Hein served as MakerGirl’s Engagement Director in 2016 and assisted raising over $30,000 through a Kickstarter campaign and organized #MakerGirlGoesMobile, a 10,000 mile cross-country road trip that brought 3D printing sessions to over 1,000 girls in rural and underserved communities across the country. They are preparing now for the next cross-country trip as they take to the road once again to raise awareness and help provide a path forward for the next generation of big-thinkers.



    For Further Insight:

    Website: https://makergirl.us/

    Donate: https://makergirl.us/take-action

    • 58 min
    🎧 Rob Jones: Survive, Recover, Live

    🎧 Rob Jones: Survive, Recover, Live

    Afghanistan is one of the world's most heavily landmine contaminated countries, and the impact to the civilian population as well as our military soldiers is the leading cause of injuries and death. A report was issued from the United Nations in October 2018 calling on militants in Afghanistan to stop using improvised explosive devices, “The killing and maiming of Afghan civilians by improvised explosive devises, particularly suicide devices, has reached extreme levels in Afghanistan.”



    Rob Jones



    We are seeing the decline of IED use in other areas of the world, but not Afghanistan, where it continues to rise. It is the weapon of choice the Taliban and the local Islamic State affiliate use to rein terror on both the local population and military forces.



    The impact on military, police and even peacekeepers is incredibly disruptive. Americans military forces have trained personnel that understand these  explosive devices, and how to detect the IEDs that are meticulously buried in the Afghanistan landscape. Rob Jones was trained and specialized in finding these explosive devices and would typically work to secure the area prior to troops moving in. 



    In Rob Jones words, "I deployed to Habbaniyah, Iraq in 2008, and again to Delaram/Sangin, Afghanistan in 2010. During my deployment to Afghanistan while operating as a part of a push into Taliban territory, I was tasked with clearing an area with a high likelihood of containing an IED. It was in this capacity that I was wounded in action by a land mine. The injury resulted in a left knee dis-articulation and a right above knee amputation of my legs."



    It was now the moment of truth for Rob. Since failure was not an option, he quickly assessed the situation and determined the best cause of action for him was to focus on his family and friends⏤instead of his own problems and challenges. This would be one of the biggest keys to getting Rob over these upcoming hurdles he was sure to face as he set out to reclaim his life. And reclaim his life he did...



    The story continues on the Brink of Greatness Podcast…

    The Next Leap Forward

    "I skipped all the doubting myself, being depressed, and feeling sorry for myself," says Rob, "I just went straight to trying to achieve all that I wanted to achieve which was having a meaningful life." Rob has achieved incredible feats, US Rowing Man of the Year, Rode bicycle 5200 miles across America raising money for wounded veteran charities. Ran 31 Marathons, in 31 Cities, in 31 Days. Raising tens of thousands of dollars for worthy causes, and as Rob says, "The Mission Continues"...



    For Further Insight:

    Website: http://www.robjonesjourney.com/

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robjonesjourney/

    Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobJonesJourney

    • 58 min
    🎧 Ria Pieters Turns Family Sadness Into Hope for Future Generations!

    🎧 Ria Pieters Turns Family Sadness Into Hope for Future Generations!

    It should have been a happy time, fresh off her retirement, Ria had set off across the country to visit her sister in Johannesburg, South Africa. As they pulled into a friends townhouse, some men had rushed the vehicle in an attempt to carjack⏤in the process they shot and killed Ria's sister. 



    Ria Pieters



    "For some unexplained reason they spared my life," explains Ria Pieters. "In one moment, I lost my sister, the next I lost my feeling of safety and then I had anxiety attacks. I was a mess.".



    Life changed dramatically for Ria Pieters, anxiety attacks, panic, insecurity⏤something had to change if she was to survive. It was the night that one of these attacks prevented her from unlocking the door to her own home, she froze, and had to get assistance to walk into her own home. That very next morning, she confessed to a friend that she was seriously considering leaving the country. Her friend had a different reaction...



    “I get so fed-up with every one that wants to leave the country instead of helping and making a difference. On our own doorstep is a township with a 60% unemployment. Do something about that and they will not resort to crime”



    That night Ria read 2 Cor 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” Listen in to this remarkable story and see what Ria Pieters has done with her life!



    The story continues on the Brink of Greatness Podcast…

    The Next Leap Forward

    Today Ria Pieters is the Founder and Principal (as needed) of the Ithemba Family support centre. Ithemba means HOPE. The primary aim is to create a stimulating and loving environment for the children, where they can receive a balanced meal each day as well as medical care if and when needed. 



    Ria Pieters is an extraordinary woman. She is a leader, a kind soul with the natural gift and desire to help others. Through her determination and outlook to the future⏤she is making a significant contribution to future generations. She is impacting lives in a big way!



    For Further Insight:

    Website: https://www.ithembafsc.org/

    Get Involved Here: https://www.ithembafsc.org/get-involved.html

    • 58 min
    🎧 Janelle Towne Redefines homeless with furnishings, love and respect!

    🎧 Janelle Towne Redefines homeless with furnishings, love and respect!

    Janelle had not a clue that when she contacted her friend at a local homeless shelter for her own daughter⏤who needed service hours for school⏤that it would turn into a life changing experience.



    It broke her heart when she discovered a family living in the shelter with two young girls just weeks before the holiday.



    She struggled with the idea that these two girls were living in a shelter with their parents at Christmas time. Janelle Towne understood the beauty of Christmas and as the mother of five children; she knew the impact the holiday season had on children.



    She decided to do something about it. A simple idea to raise awareness and provide a few gifts to the family. Janelle sent out about 50 emails inviting friends to her home two weeks before Christmas and asked everyone to bring gift cards, wrapping paper and tape for the family. The idea was to assist the children's parents and give them the opportunity to provide the kind of gifts that only a parent would know their son or daughter would want.



    The response was more than she could have ever expected. She called the fundraiser “Fill in the Gap” and it generated $4900 worth of gift cards. The cards were spread out to all the families utilizing the shelter in order to buy gifts for their families.



    But it didn't stop there, the gifts kept coming, the garage became a makeshift storage unit. A Facebook group was set up and momentum started to build. Janelle was ready to move on with her life when her friend Tina, the director back at the shelter had another request... Janelle met her for lunch and knew that this was going to become much more than she ever expected!



    When Janelle's husband Mike asked if he could have his garage back for the car⏤it was a moment that would change everything...



    The story continues on the Brink of Greatness Podcast…

    The Next Leap Forward

    The Home 2 Home Project extends a helping hand to individuals and families in need as they transition into a new home. Many of our clients arrive in a new home with little to no belongings, and although they are employed, almost all live below the poverty line. The Home 2 Home Project collects gently used furniture and household goods from donations received from surrounding communities and repurposes them to create a warm, beautiful and welcoming environment for our clients. The ultimate goal is to create a living space where our clients not only have their basic needs met but feel proud to come home.



    For Further Insight:

    Website: https://www.theh2hproject.org/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/home2homeproject/

    • 58 min
    🎧 Through the Eyes of Jessica Taylor-Bearman “A Girl Behind Dark Glasses”

    🎧 Through the Eyes of Jessica Taylor-Bearman “A Girl Behind Dark Glasses”

    A high achiever at school, Jessica’s life completely changed at the end of 2005, when she caught a virus that her body just couldn’t get over. She tried to push forward with a ‘stiff upper lip’ but fell into a rapid decline and by May the following year could not get into school anymore.



    From a darkened world, bound by four walls, Jessica tells the tale of her battle against the M.E Monster. The severest form of a neuro immune disease called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis went to war with her at just 15 years old.



    From beneath her dark glasses, Jessica glimpses a world far different from the one she remembers as a teenage school girl. This true story follows her path as she ends up living in hospital for years with tubes keeping her alive.



    This harrowing story follows the highs and lows of the disease and being hospitalized, captured through her voice activated technology diary called `Bug' that enables her to fulfill her dream of one day becoming an author. It provides a raw, real-time honesty to the story that would be impossible to capture in hindsight.

    The story continues on the Brink of Greatness Podcast…

    BUY THE BOOK: A Girl Behind Dark Glasses

    The Next Leap Forward

    In a word, PERSEVERANCE. Jessica fought through the battles, one by one. She set her mind on what could be and then she worked toward those goals. In spite of everything she had experienced in her own life, Jessica wanted to help other people who were struggling. In 2010, while still in the hospital, Jessica founded a charity to help seriously unwell children and young adults by treating them to stars, gifts, balloons and ‘happy boxes’. 



    For Further Insight:

    Website: http://www.jaytay.co.uk/ 

    Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarkGlassesBook

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWorldOfOneRoom/

    Founder: http://shareastar.org/

    • 58 min
    🎧 Emily Kustka proves 9 yr olds can THINK BIG!

    🎧 Emily Kustka proves 9 yr olds can THINK BIG!

    Emily Kustka found joy differently than most nine year olds. She enjoyed going with Grandma Kathy to help feed the homeless. She loved the feeling she got in making people happy! As Emily explains it, "My favorite thing to do was serve lunch to the homeless in Downtown Raleigh with the Bread of Life Ministry."



    She quickly became frustrated in the way children were viewed and their lack of leadership roles for children volunteers; so in 2010, Emily created and organized her very first annual community food drive by posting notes throughout the neighborhood and asking folks for donations to feed the hungry.



    After finding out that people would give to a good cause when asked, Emily would continue that streak of successful food drives to the point where it became systematically in how she would approach each drive. She created a 5 step plan for each food drive⏤to insure maximum results. That 5 step plan is something she uses today to teach others the success metrics of a successful food drive.



    “Over the last eight years we’ve collected over 8,200 pounds of food, proving that you’re never too young to make a difference,” Emily explained about the food drives, providing more than 8,300 meals over the last eight years.



    There was a moment in all of this back in 2013 when she went with Grandma Kathy to Kentucky, a 'transformational moment', as Emily describes it that would change everything.



    The story continues on the Brink of Greatness Podcast…

    The Next Leap Forward

    The lessons we learn as children will guide us and stay with us for a lifetime. Those early lessons become part of our adult DNA. Emily Kustka is at that point of using all those childhood lessons for the greater good.



    Now at 18 years old, Emily Kustka ponders her next steps. As she prepares to go off to college, she has begun training others to keep the food drives working to help feed the hungry. But there is more⏤Emily has created a not-for-profit to help teach the next generation these same values. It's called Front Porch Leaders. "Kids are full of passion, optimism and energy, yet, they are often restricted by age limits from making a meaningful difference as volunteers. The goal of Front Porch Leaders is to create projects that provide kids of all ages the opportunity to make a large, measurable impact within their communities."



    For Further Insight:

    Website: https://www.frontporchleaders.org/

    • 58 min

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