Fairest Hill will be bringing a little something different to the annual Parent-Student Summit next weekend.
Planned at the Carver Recreation Center, the summit, in its fourth year, Hill has the keynote motivational speaker and with his musical talent and message he has something that will appeal to both youth and adult.
“I’ve taken music and motivation to make an impact on parents, staff and students,” he said, adding there are three words to describe what he is relaying. Engaging, entertaining and informative.
Of the musical talent there is no shortage. A former member of The Gap Band, who had a hit song in 1980s “You Drop a Bomb on Me,” he relays this talent all over the world.
“I’ve served over a million youth,” he said in his 25 years of being a motivational speaker. “I’ve been in London, Johannesburg (South Africa) and Brazil.”
Hill, who has a doctorate of Divinity from Friends International University, feels he gets a good reaction and that he is reaching people and doesn’t deny his approach is a little different from most.
“I get a different reaction,” he said. “What I try to do when I’m speaking … or performing … is I want people to know I care about them. You have to be passionate about reaching people,” he said.
Knowing you are believed in can go a long way, adding, “I’m really out there to help them.”
Hill has also experienced what many under privileged may have experienced. Born and raised in Detroit, Mich., he was labeled “functionally illiterate” but a teacher introduced him to music. He then decided he was going to be successful in life despite the negativity around him.
“There’s a lot of information with my music,” he said. “It’s got a strong message to parents being a positive image in their children’s lives and encouraging them to know.”
He pointed out his version of what is possible to achieve.
“There’s a phrase in my new book about real success. By a lot of people it is determined by what you get and what you have … there’s a house, a car.
“I say true success is two things. Real success is what you overcome. Any person of greatness can overcome something to get to where they are. I had to come over special education and being functionally illiterate,” he said.
“I was raised by a single mother and not able to read or write. You learn everyone has a limitation and all of us are born with some. But how can you turn a failure into success? You have not lost until you have given up.”
Hill said he is looking forward to talking to children from all over Polk County. Though started as getting mostly students from this area, the yearly summit is growing into an event drawing people from all over the county.
However, he said, in big towns and in small towns problems are pretty common in child rearing.
“In these challenging times like we have now, I see they need the vision,” he said. “Where there’s no vision there’s no hope. And, when there is no push …” he paused.
“I want to share with people that you must not lose your vision,” he said. “It’s like turning on a candle in the night … it turns like faith — it keeps you moving.”
Hill’s appearance is not the only event happening at the Youth-Parent Summit. Aside from the regular activities in this all-day affair at the Carver Recreation Center, which includes arts & crafts, prizes and giveaways, science experiments, — archery tournament, horseback rides and the like, there’s a few new things the organizers are putting together to keep improving on the message and how to work with it. In the morning there will be group sessions, said founder and organizer Ken Riley. There will be some one-on-one and there will be some prize giveaways. Also members of the Bartow Police Department and the Bartow Fire Department are scheduled to do skits. There will even be a dog show.
In the afternoon the group session information will be shared in a workshop after it is compiled. This new way of sharing the information helps in two ways, Riley noted. It lets other people know they are not alone in many conflicts and it could work toward reaching a solution of allowing advancement and education.
Something added that would appeal to parents is a skit and learning show on how to conduct yourself on job interviews.
Joyce Thurman, one who helps organize the yearly event, said this event has gotten so popular after the last two years and she hopes it stays that way and reaches further into the county.
In the effort to build community relations, give students and parents hope, build trust between children and law enforcement, she said the push has to continue and she can see some of it happening already.
“Several students have come up to me between summits and want to know when the next one is,” she said.