Youth Talk: Empowering Youth

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Some would argue that the point in life is to empower others. 

There are different spins possible on that. Helping others. Encouraging others. Whatever.

I remember when I was younger. I, like probably most of us, had my mentors, teachers, people who empowered me.

I had one gym coach while at the University of Vermont. During a run one day, he threw at me a line that I’d never heard: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. BOOM. When you hear that from someone you respect, it makes an impression.


When you’re young, or even not young, we empower  one another. Even at this point in life,  with all I’ve accomplished, after leaving thirteen years in the prison service burnt out I needed some push, some energy.

Realizing that, I found two guys. One is named Ronni Sayfan, a young MMA instructor. His smile and encouragement were instrumental to get me back into a positive frame of mind.

After that, I was really fortunate to meet his instructor Mr. Ido Pariente, in my opinion one of the most inspirational men in Israel. He runs Pariente Academy, Israel’s most successful MMA gym. This guy turns out zillions of winners, inspires thousands of kids and adults and is amazing. Just talking to this guy you get empowered. The Hebrew Hammer.

Here, in my old man form, anyhow, are some photos of me giving a talk a couple of days ago. It’s in a Chabad high school in which significant numbers of the youth might be called “youth at risk.”

Hey, I might be old, but I can still try.

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