Motivational speaker Jones brings message to Amherst youth

Darrell Cole
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It’s not where you come from, it’s where you’re going

AMHERST – From a troubled youth, that included time in prison, Spider Jones held firm to his dreams of being successful in life.

Motivational speaker Spider Jones (left) talks to a reception at Amherst town hall and organized by the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association.

AMHERST – From a troubled youth, that included time in prison, Spider Jones held firm to his dreams of being successful in life.

Jones is in Amherstto deliver his inspirational message to young people at a pair of schools and talk to members of the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association.

“We need to work with our young people and given them the power to be successful in life,” Jones said. “They are the future of Amherst and wherever we go, whether they are black, white, aboriginal. To me, young people have so much potential, they just need mentors to help them.”

Jones, the energetic advocate of the Believe to Achieve organization, was born in Windsor, Ont., but spent most of his teen years in Detroit and fell in with the wrong crowd.

After his release from prison, he channeled his energies into something constructive and turned to boxing. Once his career was over, he turned to broadcasting. He co-hosted a syndicated TV show Famous Knockouts with George Chuvalo before landing his own radio show with Toronto’s Fan 590.

The former three-time Golden Gloves champion, who was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996, said growing up in today’s world is a difficult challenge because youth are “absolutely bombarded with commercialization.”

He said young people are being systematically brainwashed so that if they don’t appear as commercialization suggests they aren’t cool.

“You know what cool is? It’s education, skilled trades, staying out of trouble and staying away from people who get drunk and mess with drugs,” said Jones. “When I was 15-years-old and someone told me I’d write a best-seller that would become a movie I would tell them they are out of their mind.”

He said success is not always about being the smartest. Instead, he said, it’s about working at your own pace and being the hardest worker.

“Dreams aren’t just for young people. I have a saying. As long as I’m living, I’m going to keep giving; as long as I’m breathing, I’m going to keep believing,” he said. “I come from the projects, I failed Grade 3 and Grade 4, I have a learning disability in that I can’t process information at the same speed as the average kid. Because of that I was convinced that I was stupid. People put me down and I laughed it. Today, because I finally found out what I could do I went back to school. It’s not where you came from, it’s where you are going.”

He said young people often dream of playing in the NBA, being a rocker or a rapper, but never have a Plan B.

“If you have a dream, stay on it with tenacity. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” he said. “I want to see more doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, law enforcement officers and world leaders. I’m tired of kids saying they want to go to the NBA or be hockey players, but they don’t make it and don’t have a Plan B.”

Twitter: @ADNdarrell


Organizations: Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, Achieve organization, NBA

Geographic location: Amherst, Windsor, Detroit Toronto

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