Episode 67

March 07, 2024


Episode 67 - Schwartzenegger Precil - From Struggle to Success: Schwartzen's Journey of Redemption and Giving Back

Hosted by

Drew Deraney
Episode 67 - Schwartzenegger Precil - From Struggle to Success: Schwartzen's Journey of Redemption and Giving Back
From Caving In To Crushing It
Episode 67 - Schwartzenegger Precil - From Struggle to Success: Schwartzen's Journey of Redemption and Giving Back

Mar 07 2024 | 00:36:52


Show Notes

This episode: From Struggle to Success: Schwartzen's Journey of Redemption and Giving Back. 


Here’s what you’ll learn about:

Overcoming adversity and giving back. (0:00)

  • Schwartzen Precil shares his personal story of overcoming adversity and giving back to help youth turn their lives around.

Childhood trauma and identity issues. (2:21)

  • Schwartzen reflects on his childhood in foster care, including early identity issues and affiliation with gangs.
  • At 14 years old, he experienced a traumatic and dramatic time in his life, including getting into fights and feeling disconnected from his guardians.

Family dynamics and personal struggles. (4:59)

  • Schwartzen recounts his experiences with a controlling and dominant foster care father, including being forced to run away from home at 14 years old.

Teenage boy's legal issues and mental health evaluation. (6:30)

  • As a 14-year-old boy, Schwartzen faced court charges for trespassing, had struggles with ADHD diagnosis and feeling worthless.

Juvenile justice system and personal growth. (8:20)

  • Schwartzen reflects on his experience in the foster care system and how it has shaped his life, including his resentment towards his guardian, and foster care father.
  • The speaker describes how his guardian surprised him by showing compassion in a courtroom moment, which led to a turning point in Schwartzen’s life and a desire to change his path.

Personal growth and grace of God. (11:06)

  • Schwartzen reflects on his childhood, mentioning a brother who went down a similar path and ended up in prison, and a foster father who fell ill and had to go to the hospital for treatment.
  • Schwartzen describes his daily routine as a teenager, including attending school and basketball practice, and being chaperoned by a foster sibling due to his curfew.

High school experiences, identity formation, and sports. (13:28)

  • As a 16-year-old, Schwartzen begins to form identity as creator through dancing and basketball, despite challenges from peers and girls.

Mental health, addiction, and faith. (15:10)

  • Schwartzen struggles with mental health and performance in college due to partying and substance use.
  • He describes experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings of isolation, with no one to turn to for support.
  • Schwartzen recounts a specific incident where he left his body while drunk and high, feeling disconnected from his mind and body.

Spiritual growth and career goals after college. (19:34)

  • Schwartzen reflects on his spiritual journey after a night of heavy drinking, feeling a sense of purpose and a calling to help youth.

Personal growth, family, and identity. (21:24)

  • Schwartzen struggles with relationships and identity after serving in AmeriCorp Corps and experiencing homelessness.
  • Schwartzen discovers biological family through foster mother, learns of 12 siblings in Caribbean culture.


To learn more about Schwartzen’s mission, go to his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/schwartzen-pr%C3%A9cil-34a39b13b/ Or his website at http://www.heroleadershipgroup.com/


Schwartzen’s Bio: Schwartzen Precil

As a 2019 American Best Book award finalist for Young Adult Non-fiction, “Be Your Own Hero: Turning Obstacles into

Opportunities,” has taken the literary world by storm. Since 2015, Schwartzen Precil has been recognized for several leadership awards and has showcased his leadership development skills at conferences, schools, and community programs across the country. Schwartzen Precil, erupted

as a mentor and community leader as an AmeriCorp VISTA after his undergraduate studies. His advocacy for erasing poverty with leading practices produced healthier outcomes

for low opportunity youth and their families. The decision to liberate himself from a broken background led to a global basketball career that began with the National Leadership award from the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) during his senior year of high school. 

Providing practical solutions to obstacles face within foster care inspired him to write his first young-adult nonfiction book, “Be Your Own Hero: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities” during which, he searched and found his long-lost family. 


About your host: I'm Drew Deraney, the proud father of three children. For most of my life I've been concerned with what people thought of me and how I was supposed to act. I learned not to be my authentic self and instead became a people pleaser, a man wearing a mask.

In a 9-month span a few years ago, I endured four faith-shaking life events that caused me to question my existence.

I became determined to find a better way to live. Through intense self-reflection and awareness, I realized that in order to be happy, I must adhere to my standards of honesty, integrity and truth and needed to break free from the belief system that was anchored in me for close to 50 years.

I found my purpose and my mission in life. I've now become the man I know I am meant to be. My mission is empowering men ready to make a change to do the same.

My men's group and one-on-one coaching provide a safe space for men to share, without judgement, and transform. My male clients learn to release their inner greatness and stop self-sabotage, the #1 roadblock keeping them from reaching their goals.



Website: https://profitcompassion.com/

Email: [email protected]

Free Webinar: Overcoming Self-Sabotage Registration


Men’s Group Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/771474359577?aff=oddtdtcreator

Book a Coaching Discovery Call: https://link.mavericksystems.online/widget/bookings/netweaving/connect30

Pick up a copy of Drew’s book: https://amzn.to/40dsbyR

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Speaker A: Welcome to from caving in to crushing it, the podcast for those who find themselves immersed in adversity and choose to write their story instead of having others write it for them. I'm Drew Deraney, and I'm your host. Today's guest is Schwartzen Priscille. As a 2019 American Best book finalist for young adult nonfiction, be your own hero turning obstacles into opportunities has taken the literacy world by storm. Since 2015, Schwartzen Pursiel has been recognized for several leadership awards and has showcased his leadership development skills at conferences, schools and community programs across the country. Schwartzen Pursil erupted as a mentor and community leader as an AmeriCorps Vista after his undergraduate studies. His advocacy for erasing poverty with leading practices produced healthier outcomes for low opportunity youth and their families. The decision to liberate himself from a broken background led to a global basketball playing career that began with the National Leadership award from the National Collegiate Scouting Association, NCSA. During his senior year of high school. Providing practical solutions to obstacles faced within foster care inspired him to write his first young adult nonfiction book, be your own hero, turning obstacles into opportunities, during which he searched for and found his long lost family. Enjoy the show. Hey Schwartz, and thanks so much for coming on, my friend. [00:01:45] Speaker B: Thanks for having me, Drew. [00:01:47] Speaker A: It's good to see you. We haven't spoken probably since October when we were on that summit together, Dr. Jackson's summit. So definitely have to thank Dr. Monica Jackson for the introduction. She had a great group of guys on and she was definitely one of them. I'm impressed by you, man, for a variety of reasons. One, the stuff that you've gone through. Two, your youth, how young you are, and able to turn your life around and lead so many people now to turn theirs around. So I'm impressed, man. I always have people on the show who have gone through soul or faith shaking moments, and you end up having a choice in life. You either give up and retreat or you fight forward and become a better human being for the adversity. And you are definitely one who has fought forward and become a better human being for what you've gone through. And you've also chosen to give back and help the youth turn their lives around and really do it proactively by teaching them some real rules of life as opposed to what you and I were taught growing up. It's like we were taught growing up, hey, life is linear. If you do a plus, b plus c, D is going to happen. You do all the right things and no one's really lying to us. On purpose. It's just what they were taught. But we know life is not linear. Stuff gets in the way in between those letters of a plus b and forces us to make a decision. And if it's the first time we've ever encountered something, if we're not asking for help and we try to do it ourselves, things happen that may be different if we asked a mentor for help. So life ends up being a circuitous route. So if you we've all encountered. [00:03:38] Speaker B: You. [00:03:39] Speaker A: Could reach back as far as you need to, or you had two by four upside the head that hit you and said, schwartzen, there is a better way to live. And then you did something about. [00:04:01] Speaker B: Well, first of all, thanks for having me, Drew. I appreciate that. Just as an adult now, I always consider myself still a child because I'm a child of God. I'm a man of faith, and my faith has carried me through so much in life. And just to give the backstory, I know, you know, but for those who don't, I grew up in foster care. And so with foster care since the age of one years old, with my two year old brother, we faced a lot of adversity not knowing who our parents were. And so we had early identity issues, learning how to identify more with our peers than we were with our family members or our guardians. Let me say that because we were bounced around in different foster homes for a few years between the ages of one and 14, when I finally aged out or got adopted, and so that two x four didn't come until after I kept bumping my head. And there were chances for me to change before the age of 14, where that was probably the most traumatic and dramatic time of my life at 14 years old, because 14 years old, I was already affiliated in gangs at that age. I'm from New York City. I was raised in the Bronx. I was born in Brooklyn, but mostly raised in Staten island as well. So it's a lot of gang activity when you don't know who your identity is. You just identify with those who around you and when you see a. I spent a lot of my summers on a block called Murder Avenue, where the murder rate was really high in a neighborhood called West Brighton. I grew up in a place called Mariners harbor, where they had a lot of gang affiliation, and I didn't have any protectors. I had guardians who were very strict, and the people who were raising me was very strict. Bought a book. As far as eight years old, I was introduced to men. Don't cry if I got slapped. I don't say anything. If I fight, if I get hurt, I defend myself. It was kind of unspoken rules within this household, within foster care, and then within the streets. So I was built up on this street life, on this foster care rules, not knowing who I was, not knowing what I was supposed to be doing. And so I just drifted and did whatever my friends did. I teacher in the 7th grade got into my first fistfight in 6th grade, and I threatened to blow up school officials, got suspended from school. And so at 14 years old, I had an accumulation of these problem child behaviors. Right. I wasn't faith based. I wasn't the guardian at that foster home. He wasn't believing in God and believing in Jesus. And so it was very confused because his wife and things like that, but he was a very dominant figure. And she didn't talk to us about God and things like, she did her own thing. She was there physically, but she wasn't present. He was present. He made his force known. He was the man, it was his rule. He kept saying, it's the dictatorship, what my way goes, even if he's wrong, he used to overemphasize the fact that he was in charge. And so he was a very controlling, dominating man. He's about 64 and played the picture. Bald head, he had no teeth, he had a hunchback and about 220 pounds. And I'm facing man between the ages of eight and about 14, when things did hit the fan, when I asked him a question about, in order for me, for me, in order to get away from that gang life and away from the streets, I just played basketball, had fun, enjoyed myself as a kid playing basketball in the neighborhood. And so when he no longer allowed me to play basketball for the school team as a freshman, 14 years old, I ran away from home. So now I'm completely in the street life. I ran away from home. Eventually I get called by the police, trying to enroll myself in school, trying to make another life for myself. 14 years old, and I'm brought to the family court, the precinct. [00:08:15] Speaker A: Wow. [00:08:15] Speaker B: And I'm charged with trespassing, a petty crime. I wasn't doing grand theft auto or anything like that, but for a 14 year old who doesn't have his guardians, who doesn't have any real ambition in life, who just a stereotypical kid who's just out there running the streets with his friends and all that, the judge will kind of look at this and kind of see this case and kind of just throw it out, because really no one's going to come to his rescue. You don't know his parents. He's been foster care since the age of one. I have a background of those who are unfortunately populated in our prison systems, who feel neglected, who feel abandoned, who feel like they don't have a choice but to be in a gang or be down with the neighborhood or prove themselves, prove their worth. And I felt like I had to prove my worth at times because I didn't feel worth. I didn't have any value. I feel like I didn't have any value growing up. Yeah. So I wasn't a furnace. So at 14 years old, let me paint the picture. I'm in this courtroom, and I'm handcuffed, and I take a psychological. [00:09:30] Speaker A: They handcuffed you at 14? [00:09:33] Speaker B: Yes, at 14. Brought me in a patty wagon, brought me to family court. And so they did the psychological evaluation, probably diagnosed me ADHD. I got these four doctors in front of me asking me a bunch of questions. I've seen this in the movies before. I grew up in the media understanding that this is the psychological evaluation before they administer you with medicine to see how much drug and dosage that you. I'm prideful, though. I'm like, it is what it is. My feelings already numb, things already happening. So at 14 years old, when I'm faced with this judge, and judge is saying, okay, he's got this rap sheet of being in the neighborhood and being in foster care. And so we can give him two years in juvenile detention center. We'll try him as an adult until the age of 16. After that, we'll transfer him to another facility where he'd be serve out the rest of his years if he doesn't improve. So I'm thinking, at 16 years, I'm thinking for the next two years, I'm about to be in this juvenile detention. But then he also gives this man, who my guardian is another option. He said, well, we have this other option. We don't recommend it, but we can give him a one year's probation. He can go back to your foster home, but he's your problem. If he acts up again, don't bring him here, because we're not going to give him another chance. And so the judge gives this man, my guardian, this option. This is where the two x four kind of comes in at. And I'm thinking I'm about to be another statistic, another stereotypical black kid who's about to just be lost in the system. And this man, his name is Mr. Jarman, God rest his soul. At that time, he decides to take me home, back to his house. [00:11:22] Speaker A: Wow. [00:11:23] Speaker B: So it was at that time where, okay, now the judge lets me free. I walk outside the family court, and I see the treasons. Like, everything kind of opens up by itself. And I say it's a two x four, because it's like, this is the last thing I expected to happen. [00:11:37] Speaker A: You thought you're going to be locked up? [00:11:40] Speaker B: This aspect of what we call grace, of receiving something that you don't deserve, receiving this freedom, was my turning point to changing my life, to maybe going and doing the right thing, going, setting myself up to be a basketball player, be good in academia, and try my best. And all at the same time, I had this resentment towards this man because he was, again, dictator. I would say he was evil. I don't hate him now, but I hated him growing up. [00:12:11] Speaker A: I understand that. [00:12:11] Speaker B: Absolutely right. I hated him growing up. [00:12:14] Speaker A: Was he a white man? [00:12:16] Speaker B: No, he was a black man. He was black. [00:12:19] Speaker A: All right. So I'm trying to think how he had that epiphany to have some compassion. That must have been a surprise to you. That compassion came out in that courtroom. He could have you over. [00:12:34] Speaker B: So it's one of the two things I thought about this over and over over the years and again, by the grace of God, right. Not the character of this man. That's not what I saw. I didn't see him as someone who's going to care for in that way. He made it very obvious his rule, and he projected that on me. He said I was going to be in jail when I get older. He said those things. And so this was the expectation of expectation. He told my older brother, you got to make sure you bail Schwartz out of jail. You got to make sure, when you get older, you bail your brother out of jail. You got to look after him when he goes to prison, things like that. So when this happened, I looked at it. One, the grace of God, and then, two, maybe there was some inclination of hope that this man had a heart of some sort. He had some kind of heart because maybe I didn't know too much about him. But later on that I found out maybe he had a brother. He had a brother who also was going down the path that I was when he was younger. Maybe that happened to him. I don't know the fullness of the story, because, again, he didn't open up like that. Sure. Stories I've been told is that I got a brother who also was like me, who was going down the wrong path, and his life didn't end well. And so maybe he was trying to prevent that from happening to me because I still had that chance. 14 is still a baby. You're still very young. Those are the two things I credit to when it comes to the grace of God. [00:14:00] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so you walk out, you see the trees, you have this epiphany. What happened in between being age 14 and 16? How did you grow? [00:14:13] Speaker B: Yeah, the transition happened. I met with my probation officer. I was on probation. Not parole is after you go to jail. Probation is before. Probation before. Probation is before. So met with my po every week, three times a week, I had a curfew. I couldn't be out roaming the streets past 730. And so it was keep my head down, go to school, and go to practice. And I had to be chaperoned by one of my foster siblings to practice. [00:14:41] Speaker A: Wait, you were allowed to play basketball? Now he let you. [00:14:43] Speaker B: The reason why is because he fell ill, Mr. Jarman. He fell ill and went to the hospital. He had chemo, dialysis and all that. He had kidney failure. It wasn't a dire. He's not dying, but he had to be something to be couldn't. He was so stubborn. He would eat sweets, eat sugars, and knowing that he had diabetes, so he just basically ate himself into death. Right. And so again, that was like, okay, I can kind of do what I want now. From the age of after 14, 1516, we have no guardians at home because his wife is taking care of him in the hospital every night. She lost her job, checking, trying to take care of him, making sure he's okay. So between those ages, I began to form my own identity. I got creative. I started dancing. I started being a hip hop dancer. It was really popular in 2010. It was really popular 2010, 2011. And I started to do basketball. And so I still had the energy of doing wild child things, but I channeled that energy into something creative, like sports, like dates, and, of course, being a teenager. Deal with girls. Girls kind of keep you on the right path, the right ones and things like that. I had girls who wanted to go to college, and they started talking about college and things like that. Okay, let me consider this thing. And so I had other influence, and I had some good friends in high school as well who weren't part of the streets, because my po said, stay away from those street guys and stay away from people. Again, Staten island is kind of small, so everyone knew I was transitioning to a basketball player at that time. And so the gang affiliates kind of just left me alone. [00:16:27] Speaker A: Left you alone? [00:16:27] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:16:28] Speaker A: Awesome. All right, so 16 puts you in what? It's like, no, 9th grade, 10th. [00:16:36] Speaker B: Yeah, no, 16 is definitely Sophie junior or something. Yeah. I graduated at 17. [00:16:42] Speaker A: All right, so tell me after graduation, what happened. [00:16:47] Speaker B: Fortunately, I did earn myself a scholarship. God's grace. To take me out the neighborhood. Yeah. And this was the thing. It was very popular in New York City. To get yourself a sports scholarship and to travel to go outside the neighborhood. I just didn't know where I was going. I went to the school in the upper peninsula in Michigan, landed university, and so that's where I got a scholarship. Know, you only know for me. I only knew college from what I saw on tv. So for sports athletes, when they go to college and go on tv, they go and party. They go in, just go wild. It's like, party. It's like, oh, you just living this life? And so it was no constructive path for what college was going to bring to me. So I ended up going after graduation immediately. Three months after I graduated, I go away to college. So I'm 17 years old, away at college, and I'm just partying. At 18. I turned 18 in college. I'm partying, party and partying, and it becomes a low moment where I didn't realize how much alcohol and marijuana can really affect your mental health and things like that and make you feel depressed because you're using that to suppress using that to cover. And then when you went, was a. [00:17:58] Speaker A: Scholarship for academics or was it for sports? [00:18:01] Speaker B: No, it was for sports. [00:18:02] Speaker A: So how are you doing sports? If you're drinking and smoking? [00:18:07] Speaker B: Yeah. You do it? Yeah. I started off not doing it as much as an athlete. Sometimes your self esteem is based on your performance. When you perform well, your self esteem is high. I didn't always perform well as a college freshman because I started partying and drinking. So as I'm partying and drinking, my performance is going down and down and down. And so that's when I'm using the drugs and alcohol to cope with my performance. I started off really good. I was a starter freshman. First game was really well. And then the fame came. It was like people congratulating you. Girls want to say, hey, things like, you get caught up, and so you're a kid, and you just enjoy it. Someone offers you a blunt, like, you'll hit this. And one thing led to another, and just eight months later, you're in depression and got suicidal thoughts and don't even realize how you got there. [00:19:04] Speaker A: So then how'd you get yourself out of that eight month partying thing that brought, you. [00:19:12] Speaker B: Know, you came from New York City, now living in rural Michigan. You miss home, you miss home. You miss your friends, you miss your family, you miss people who encourage you. I miss my basketball teammates, my coaches, and things like that. I felt sad. It was very depressing up peninsula, if you know anything about that. 300 inches of snow per year, it gets sad. And I spent a lot of nights crying and things like that. And so I didn't know where I was going to go. I didn't know semester. It's just a part of seasonal life. I didn't have any mentors pouring into me in that way. [00:19:51] Speaker A: Right. [00:19:51] Speaker B: I didn't have a lot of knowledge about life. I just thought I was just here to play basketball on a scholarship and party and just live my life, get decent grades, and kind of move forward. And so I had a suicide. Many suicidal thoughts, but one of them was specifically one night when smoking and drinking, being crossfaded at the same time, it didn't stop the negative feelings, the negative thoughts, the negative voices that I was heard about. You're not loved. No one loves you. No one's going to care if you kill yourself. Things like that. And so that night, I went back to the dorm room. I was cross faded, and I nearly took my life. I put a knife to my throat, and I said, God. My last resort. My last resort was God, because I didn't have a relationship. I wasn't going to church, grew up in the church, but wasn't understanding, and I didn't have a pastor to call and things like that. I didn't know a lot about it, but I hoped he was out there. And my hope brought me to the knowledge of. To know that God existed. Because in that time, when I was about to unlive myself, immediately the effects of being drunk and high were leaving my body. I mean, physically leaving my body. There's a physiological thing that happens when you drink. When you smoke, your mind goes somewhere, your thoughts go somewhere. Those things can sober you. Like, God was sobering me up at that time. I don't know if you've ever spoke to someone and you begin to be sober up in the bar or something like that. When someone says something to you, you start to sober up. You can think clearly. At that moment, I was thinking clearly, like, wow, this is a God that I said God. I called him the name of God. I said the name of Jesus. And at that moment, I was sobering up. My heart was, and I'm having a panic attack. I'm thinking, I don't know what's going on. It's me in this dorm room by myself, and I'm like. So I try to just go to sleep, trying to just brush it off or something. But then when I woke up the next morning, I felt very light. It was a sense of lightness. Usually when you're hungover, it's very heavy. You got to work. It's not out. You should probably still a little drunk and all of that. I didn't feel like that the next morning. It was the first time I actually felt light. And I'm like, I got to go to church. I got to go back to after. This was at the end of the semester. Okay, second semester. So now I go back to Staten Island. I begin get involved in church, and I start studying the word. And that's when I increase my faith in Jesus. [00:22:20] Speaker A: Oh, I love that. My gosh. And then now I can see the path towards helping the youth. So after you graduated college, what happened then? [00:22:32] Speaker B: Man, anybody who graduates college is something called the post college blues. Post college blues. It's like, what now? I'm like, I didn't see myself a college graduate, so I don't have a vision for myself, even throughout college. That's right. Depending on the game of basketball. So I played basketball. I just want to, again, go overseas. I want to. Just still didn't have a solid vision. I graduated 22 years old from college, but one of my mentors in college was like, you ever thought about serving the kids, the youth, things like that? Wonderful. Yeah, maybe I should do that. So I applied for this thing called Americorps America Corps. If you haven't heard of it, it's peace Corps, but the domesticated version of it. You serve two years overseas in Peace Corps. You serve one year in Americorps setting up, doing that. And that's when I began to develop a love for curriculum development, which is what my expertise is now. That's when I disturst for knowledge when it comes to social emotional learning. At 22 years old, and I begin to study the child psychology, I begin to study behaviors and patterns, behavior change theory, begin to study neuropathology and things like that, and open up my world to, wow, maybe I can develop new neurons within my path to hopefully help someone else develop new neuropathways in there. So that's what I end up doing. But it sounds good. It sounds real well. But again, I'm still broken in a lot of ways, so I end up going through a bad relationship. The relationship that I was in in high school. We were cool in high school, was good in high school, but our high school was ten years ago. After that, I'm thinking, I'm trying to still fill in the voids of still, the sustenance, things that only a woman could feel, of feeling love, of being emotion, full of emotions, things like that. And eight months after I get back with this individual, I end up being homeless. So not even a year and a half after college, I'm homeless for six months because I went overseas. I played basketball, but eventually I got cut from the team when I played overseas after a little while. And then the young lady leaves me. She leaves, so she goes back home. I'm now homeless. I'm stuck with this decision now. So what do I do now? I literally have no one to call, no one to ask. I'm full of pride. [00:24:58] Speaker A: You were still overseas, too. [00:25:00] Speaker B: I'm still overseas. So my older brother, who was in foster care with me one year apart, he calls me. I'm telling him, with everything that's going on, he's like, yo, just come back to America, sleep on my couch. Get yourself together. We'll figure it out from there. We did. I slept on his couch for six months, got myself together, didn't do any relationships, stayed away from drugs, stayed away from it. I was like, I'm 24 years old. Let me pick this up now. Now everything's on me now. I got to do something. [00:25:27] Speaker A: I'm no longer traumatizing myself now instead of other people. That's awesome. [00:25:31] Speaker B: This is where be your own hero constructed. This is where. Okay, I got to do something. I can't keep blaming my past for what I'm about to do. I'm grown now. No one's going to give a damn about a kid, 24 year old man sleeping on his brother's couch. No one cares at that point. That's when I start writing a book. Six months. Start writing a book six months, and I start finding my biological family. Start looking out for them. Trying out for them. Wow. I don't find them until I go to my first foster mom at eight years old. When I was taken away from her and I asked her what my mother's biological name was, she gave it to me. I went to Dr. Google, and the rest was history. Yes. My family. [00:26:09] Speaker A: Oh, my gosh. So tell me about the encounter when you met your biological family. How was that? [00:26:15] Speaker B: Yeah, it was different. It was different because you got a mother and a father, right? And on my father's side, I'm one of twelve kids, so I'm number seven, one of twelve count kids. It might sound exaggerated or hyperbolic in american culture, but in caribbean culture, that's a very norm. Men have a lot of children with many different women and no one about it. And so he had many different children from many different women. But from my mom's side, I was one of five boys. She had all boys, and I was the youngest of her fifth of her five boys. And so it was a catalyst to get to know both sides, to know again. [00:27:02] Speaker A: You had like, 16 brothers and sisters, siblings. Now, your brother in foster care, whose was he? Was he your father's or mother? [00:27:12] Speaker B: We had the same mom and same dad. [00:27:15] Speaker A: Same mom, same dad. [00:27:16] Speaker B: Okay. [00:27:18] Speaker A: Wow, that's awesome that he's the same mom and same dad. And now was he interested in finding his biological parents just as excited as you were? [00:27:29] Speaker B: Yes, but he wasn't as hungry. [00:27:31] Speaker A: Hungry. So you went out and did the work to find. [00:27:36] Speaker B: New York. And we were abandoned in New York. We left in this apartment building in New York City. And so he stayed in New York, but never really did the work to kind of find. I'm a kid who acts out of desperation at times. For me, this is a desperate act of clinging on to my life. I had this name that I was given adoption, and I didn't want it anymore because my foster mom Foster family didn't want to bring me back home. And I was going through all that trauma and things like that. And so for him, he was content. He did well. He wasn't a problem child. He did well. He was very submissive growing up. He stayed in the books. He was associated with gangs, but he didn't get heavily involved. Everyone was associated with gangs because it's the street life. But he didn't get heavily involved. And when he wanted out, he just got out. They let him live. He didn't have that drive to want to just be disobedient in a way or be rebellious in that way. So I did because I just felt like I just needed the attention. Maybe he took a very passive approach, and so he was content. When he was growing older, it was like, it is what it is. I wasn't content with not knowing my identity. He was. So when I found out on my mom's side, that's when the ball start rolling. Like, oh, snap, Schwartz is doing stuff. I got to start finding out, too. So he reached out to some people after my mom started dropping some names on who we're related to, and we have all these cousins and all these siblings, really, it was a lot of siblings. And so met them over the years, and it was good. On my father's side, it was good. My father, he died six years before I found a family. But what I understand, he was a lawyer, he was a haitian advocate for education. He did a lot of things. He had a whole resume online. I saw that on my mom's side, I was a little different. She had battled with mental illness. She lost her parents in war in Haiti, it was a lot different. There was no foster care in Haiti when she grew up as an orphan child as well, and then came to America with sports aspirations as well. And so she kind of just did her thing. And she didn't see anything wrong with leaving her children out to be left alone by themselves when they were kids because she was always been alone. That was the norm. Exactly. And so she didn't understand the rules of America at that time. You can't just leave your kids in the 90s in New York City and not expect anybody to call the police to come get them. [00:30:20] Speaker A: Wow. Oh, my gosh. [00:30:21] Speaker B: Jeez. [00:30:22] Speaker A: This is like, I was going to say, should write a book. I did. So what are you up to now? What's going on now in your life, man? [00:30:32] Speaker B: Yeah. Now, of course, seeing the story again. That was only four years ago, just a couple of months before the pandemic found them. And so it's still refreshed. Of course, the pandemic happened. Of course, life as we know it changed. And so I became a spoken word artist for advocacy, for change, for dei diversity, equity, inclusion. I partnered with schools across the country, talking about my story, talking about giving hope to the hopeless and never giving up. Spoke on my first men's conference with you. That was the first time. Usually I speak with the youth still under 30, and so I still have that relatability in that way and can kind of speak the vernacular that they speak because everything's changing so much and that there's not always a person who's willing to give back and tell them the truth of what actually happens within the streets, within life, within culture, within being a young man who's emotionless and things like that. So currently I'm a director, assistant director of the Boys and girls Club, as well as public speaker and working on now my fourth book. So I continually stay with the youth. Just got engaged. Glory be to God. [00:31:51] Speaker A: You did. Congratulations. How'd you meet her? [00:31:55] Speaker B: At church. At church? [00:31:58] Speaker A: I love hearing stories like this, man. Congratulations. I'm so happy for you. That is wonderful. So we got the fourth book coming out. Now. You spoke somewhere recently, right? [00:32:10] Speaker B: Yeah, I spoke at, it was called the pre college and youth outreach, pre college and youth outreach conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. This is my third time speaking there, my first time being invited as a guest speaker. Usually I would do presentations, but this time I had a whole segment to myself, which is really cool. I love Detroit because I went to school in Michigan. So it was a great opportunity for me to travel after the pandemic, speak in person, get to know individuals, and tell my story again, tell it from a fresh lens. Also meet individuals who are also youth advocates and also in the field of education. [00:32:49] Speaker A: Schwartz and, man, I'm proud of you. I'm impressed by you. You are an inspiration, my friend. I could talk to you all know, we know that the audience has now grasped the essence of Schwartz and Purcell. And I pronounced that right, I hope. [00:33:06] Speaker B: Yeah, you did. [00:33:07] Speaker A: All right. So, hey, guys out there. Audience, please. You can reach out to Schwartz and go to Instagram. And it's at Schwartzen Priscille. So it's S-C-H-W-A-R-T-Z-E-N-P-R-E-C-I-L. Reach out to him. And his audiobook has now come out. Be your own hero. Turning obstacles into opportunities. It's now on audiobook on audible. And he'll give you, we said, a free sample of the new audiobook if you get in touch with him. Just a conversation with him is going to enlighten you and inspire you. Absolutely. So shorts and I have two questions to ask you before we say goodbye. Well, it's never goodbye because you and I are going to keep talking to each other. But anyway, I have a question for you. So you get to put your imagination cap on and you're sitting down with young seven to ten year old Schwartzen and you want to give him advice about life. What are you going to tell him? [00:34:12] Speaker B: It's what I tell him today. Exactly what I tell him today. Even in the darkest moments, there is always a glimpse of hope. Just do not give up. Don't ever give up. It's going to be times where you want to give up on yourself because of what's about to happen. I will prepare them for what's about to happen. I wouldn't go into detail because I don't think my mind could handle it. What actually happened again, I was also sexually assaulted at eight in those ways. So how do you tell a kid that? How do you prepare a kid for the worst two years of their life. [00:34:47] Speaker A: Right. [00:34:47] Speaker B: Just don't give up. I know you want to. Don't give up. The essence of not giving up, of carrying that hope in darkness, is enough to keep a person going, even in the darkest moments. [00:35:00] Speaker A: I love that. [00:35:00] Speaker B: Wow. [00:35:01] Speaker A: All right, so put a different hat on. Now you're sitting down with young Schwartz and the young businessman, young entrepreneur, and you want to give him advice about business. What are you going to tell him? [00:35:13] Speaker B: Get around the right mentors. Need the right mentors around you. People want to help. Don't be so prideful that you don't ask for help. Ask for the help from those mentors. Might cost something, might cost some sacrifice, might cost some financial, but it's worth the investment. Make the investment and get around the right mentors. I love that. [00:35:34] Speaker A: Invest in yourself. Best investment you can ever make. Shorten. Thank you. I'm grateful you're in my life, my friend, and that we're brothers. I thank Dr. Jackson for putting together the M four summit so we could meet. You're a wonderful human being. Keep doing what you're doing. You are giving so much back to the community. And thank God God spoke to you and thank God you listened. [00:36:00] Speaker B: Thank you. I agree. Thank you. I appreciate you, Drew. Thank you for having me on podcast. Hopefully we do many more collaborations in the future. Thank you, Dr. Jackson, for the M four summit as well. It's a powerful connection for us to meet and to meet other young men. [00:36:16] Speaker A: I love you, brother. [00:36:17] Speaker B: All right. Love you too, Drew. Thank you. [00:36:19] Speaker A: Take care, everybody. Be well. Thanks so much for listening. If you enjoyed the episode, please subscribe and give us a review to help others find it. If you find yourself immersed in adversity and would like to find support from other men in times of struggle, please become a member of my men's supporting men collaboration tribe by emailing me at [email protected] expressing your interest. And I'll get in touch with you. Speak to you soon. Bye.

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