The Barksdale Foundation
PO Box 26980
Charlotte, NC 28221-6980
Thomas at Alvah Scott Elementary School.
Speaking to kick off the Stop If You Love Me Campaign in Hawaii in February of 2015.
Thomas standing in front of Keaau High School on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Leadership training and speaking in Hawaii
(click images to enlarge)
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By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College News Service
Tyrone Aaron knows what it’s like to get a second chance. Livingstone College gave him one.
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Dr. Thomas L. Barksdale II has been a motivational speaker and youth advocate for over
thirteen years. His passion for young people centers upon his experiences
growing up "labeled" while watching many of his friends veer off
the wrong path. Thomas knew he was different; after enduring periods of extreme
peer pressure and the desire to belong, he made several life-changing decisions
that influenced his destiny. He strongly believes that people need to be told
they can make their lives better, and be shown how to do so. Thomas' platform
is built upon the fact that all people have inherent goodness, and he has
mastered the ability to connect with young people that need a positive influence.
As a motivational speaker, he specializes in at-risk students or students
who have shown a propensity for self-limiting or destructive behaviors.
Thomas knew early on that he was created to offer gifts to the world. With a loving family and inspirational role models, he has been able to carve out a unique niche in professional speaking. He is highly regarded as a leader in youth development and believes that people are his greatest asset. Working as a youth advocate has been beyond rewarding for Thomas, as spending time with young people is his greatest joy.
Having lost many students to death and the penal system, Thomas's dream is to encourage and empower young people to become people of character. At-risk students have the same innate gifts as any other; life challenges, unstable homes, and bad choices are catalysts, causing some to be left behind. Thomas believes that his inspirational message provides a bridge to better the lives of the populations he serves.
During his years of training and professional speaking, Thomas has worked with thousands of schools and agencies, promoting the message that dreams are possible with hard work and the blessing of others. Thomas believes that the human touch influences human potential, and his writings and messages are shaped by this premise.
Thomas believes that all young people desire and have the right to live productive lives. It is important for adults to build healthy relationships with students to promote self-regard and self-esteem. Growing up, Thomas was not the smartest in his class; in his formative years he was placed in a special reading class for slow learners. However, one attribute that he was blessed with is resiliency. Thomas stresses to his audiences the power of comeback. Students of all backgrounds must learn to navigate through obstacles and daily challenges.
Thomas has been hailed as one of the leading experts of character development and is known as one of the most transparent speakers of his generation. After going through several life trials, he realized that his life's mission is sharing with young people the value of resiliency. Thomas has been delivering motivational, educational, social and spiritual messages to a variety of audiences throughout the country. In both high school and college Thomas lost several friends and students he personally mentored to gang violence, incarceration and death. After this, he made a personal commitment to proactively create programs and services that would foster alternatives to curtail destructive behaviors in youth.
Through The Barksdale Foundation, his motivational speaking consulting firm, Thomas seeks to make a real change in the lives he serves. His organization was founded in 1996, and was established to identify 'foundational/root' challenges, and address transformational solutions to ensure that all people have purposeful lives. With the rise of gang violence and the moral fibers of our society shifting, it is necessary for people to address these issues at the heart level.
In 1998, Barksdale published his first book, Its All About You: A Young Adult's Guide to Positive Living, and has made numerous appearances across the country, sharing with a variety of audiences the principles he outlines in twenty short chapters. Thomas has appeared on national radio broadcasts, featured in national periodicals expounding on his writings, and is frequently sought after on the middle and high school, college, and corporate speaking circuits.
A Better You Is In You
I Am What I Am
The Power Of Thank You
How Do You Like Me Now
I Can Dream
You Are The Difference
Partial client list:
Thomas has made appearances as a keynote and featured speaker for The Annual Convention of Dudley Products, National Direct Sales Association Conference, 20th Annual NAACP National Convention, National NAACP, Phillip Morris USA, NC Drug Prevention Conference, First Tee National Golf Academy/PGA, Win-Win Resolution, National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), Charleston Housing Authority, Delta College Mentoring Program, Kansas State University, Center 440 Drop Out Prevention, Lincoln University, Julius Peppers Foundation, North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, National Urban League/Durham, NC Teaching Fellows Conference, Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, and Centralina Workforce Development Board.
The Barksdale Foundation has implemented programs, workshops and seminars in Community in Schools of NC, Dow Chemical Company, Columbia Housing Authority, Cape May School District, 21st Century Community Learning Center in Alamance-Burlington Schools, Hoke County Schools, Vance County Schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Wake County Schools, Guilford County Schools, Saginaw City Schools, and the Grand Rapids community outreach center.