Roanoke man uses past hardships to create brighter future

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 2:54 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - One man in Roanoke has used his childhood hardships to fuel his passion for motivational speaking and making a difference in the community.

“Everybody needs some type of hope, some type of support. I’ll call them a hug for the soul,” says Brandon McCall, motivational speaker and mentor in the Roanoke Valley.

“As a child growing up, I felt like I never had support, never had help,” he adds. “I remember at 8 years old, I wanted to be able to help other people not feel the way I was feeling.”

A desire truly put to the test when McCall was 14, and starring down a harrowing crossroad.

“In 8th grade, here in Roanoke, Virginia, my brother made a decision that took someone else’s life. In that moment I realized that I either had to go down that same path that my brother was going down, or choose another path, and neither path was clear. But I knew that I didn’t want to go through what my brother went through, so I started to hang out with mentors, teachers, principals, who I felt like were doing the right thing which led me on that path of making better decisions.”

From there, McCall’s life changed.

“Honestly, I’m grateful for that situation because it gave me the outlook and the perspective now to go back and give back to the community.”

Paying it forward through motivational speaking to students all over the Roanoke Valley crafting lessons made him the kind of mentor that once changed his own life.

“Honestly my hope is that they see the other side of negativity,” explains McCall. “Going to visit my brother in prison was not fun for me or for him. And I want to focus on helping students see the outcomes of good decisions vs. the outcomes of bad decisions.”

“Being able to see an effective change in students as well as people in day-to-day walk, I get honestly chills when I see people connect the dots in life. I was told by one of my mentors that the best thing to do when you don’t know what to do is to create. and I feel like that’s something that’s really needed in this community.”

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