ST. PETERSBURG — My son Seth was born with a disability and blessed with gifts. In June 2015 he will graduate from the Pinellas County School system with a special diploma. It is his goal to be self-sufficient and a productive contributor to society.
As a result of him being an active participant in leadership and development organizations, he has chosen to pursue the Health Coach Training Program with Intuitive Nutrition. As an aspiring entrepreneur, he wants to be the voice for youth with exceptionalities and other talents.
While being a social butterfly and promoting good eating through our family’s business, Seth’s Pineapple Mango Salsa, LLC, Seth also encourages others to believe in themselves and to prepare themselves for more possibilities by participating in youth development and leadership programs that meet their needs. He wants to be a role model for Exceptional Students that have the ability to go beyond bagging groceries after they graduate.
Transitioning to high school with his disability was extremely stressful. Family counseling with Barnes Holistic Counseling & Wellness Center helped him to diffuse his anger and better manage his fears. His psychologist was very supportive in his development.
You’re never too young to be trained for leadership. Building character and developing strengths are important parts of becoming an effective leader. Seth was given a strong start by becoming a member of Boy Scouts of America and serving in the youth ministry at St. John M. B. Church.
As an AKA Academy participant under the leadership of the Omega Psi Phi Pathfinders Association, the staff reached out and provided mentoring and put Seth on the right path for graduation and assisted with post-graduation plans. He built positive relationships and displayed optimism over the years with the staff; as a result, he held leading parts in the organization’s programs.
Seth was awarded the academy’s first Spirit Award in the AKA AKAdemy’s Pink Paparazzi Affair Showcase and Awards Program in 2013. The association provided valuable resources, and community service opportunities, which assisted us with intellectualizing and mapping out Seth’s future.
As Seth approaches his final semester in high school, he continues to fine-tune his ability to be independent on and off campus. He has gained exposure to entrepreneurship as a server providing excellent customer service with the Viking Daily Grind Coffee Shop, a small business operated by the exceptional student education (ESE) students. Through hands-on work experience with the Community Based Instruction program for ESE students, Seth participated in community volunteering with local retail stores.
In addition to real work experience, Seth participated in a five-day residential diversity training through Community Tampa Bay, a youth leadership and diversity education program that fosters respect and inclusion through peer modeling. The training took place on Eckerd College campus in St. Petersburg.
With this training Seth has gained cultural awareness, community activism, and personal identity and was empowered to lead change that could help end discrimination. He continues to attend weekly F.L.Y. Society meetings to discuss topics that effect different cultures.
In spite of Seth’s disability he has had much success in leadership programs. He is motivated to make a contribution to society and help others. His desire to interact with others and coach them about better eating habits and to promote diversity has given him the drive to seek entrepreneurship. His continuous training will help support his goal; he has great potential!