Ken E Nwadike Jr
Ken Nwadike, motivational speaker and director of the Hollywood Half Marathon, attended the 2014 Boston Marathon to spread love and encourage runners with Free Hugs. Equipped with a Free Hugs sign, camera, and tripod; the event was captured on video – which instantly went viral upon uploading to Youtube!
“While viewing the devastation of the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon, I was determined to be a participant in the next race. I failed to qualify by just 23 seconds, so I decided to attend the event in a different way. I provided free hugs to runners as encouragement along the route. This simple act made national news headlines and lifted runners spirits. Hugs produced smiles and gave runners an extra boost as they ran.”
Today, Ken’s courageous work as a peace activist is helping to heal and narrow the social, political and racial divide that currently exists throughout our country. His energy, spirit, passion and love are changing individual behaviors and group interactions for the better.
A friendly embrace will put a smile on your face
It’s time to be a part of the solution
Jon's been struggling with mental health since he was young, eventually it made his mentality fall into a sense of darkness enveloping him. Jon assumed that he was failing everyone, including himself, and that he wasn’t the man he was supposed to be. Enough so that he chose to bring a shotgun to his school in hopes of his life being ended.
Instead tragedy took his freedom and he spent the next 17 years in prison. He took that time to educate himself on mental health and set his priorities on helping those in any way he could. He took the time to reach out to friends and family to open-up about his past and the path that was set out in front of him.
After being released in 2020 Jon set his journey on volunteering at various outlets of places helping the needy and speaking at events in hopes of stopping senseless tragedies. In 2022 Jon was brutally attacked. This attack changed his whole way of living. Yet again, Jon is facing adversity and his path still marches on with the priorities he set forth for himself.
Jon’s message is clear. He states “Mental health is not talked about until it’s too late. My purpose is to change how we talk about it and show that we can prevent the senseless violence, suicides and drug overdoses affecting our communities”.
Changing the Mentality Everyday
James Ortiz has battled mental health issues for most of his life due to drug abuse and eventually attempting suicide. Despite his struggles, his love for his four children is what helped him break the cycle.
July 2021 James' ex-wife shot him in the back and made an attempt on his life. Miraculously, he survived the attack, but it left him emotionally scarred. Despite everything he had been through, James knew he had to keep going for the sake of his children. He wanted to be a role model for them and show them that it's possible to overcome even the toughest of challenges.
With a newfound sense of determination, James started working on his mental health issues. He sought out professional help and began attending therapy sessions regularly. He also worked hard to overcome his addiction and turned his life around. He started spending more time with his kids and being present for them in every way he could.
Over time, James began to heal and his mental health started to improve. He was able to put his past behind him and focus on the future. He was determined to provide his children with a safe and loving home, and he did just that.
Despite all the challenges he had faced, James was able to overcome his mental health issues and become the loving father his children needed. He showed them that no matter how difficult life can be, with determination and hard work, anything is possible.