Supporting and getting involved with Youthville opened a window for me to see the need and the opportunity to help disadvantaged young people and make a difference not just in their lives but in the communities that those youths would grow to adulthood in, call home and build families in. That inspired me to create the O’Brate Foundation and focus on providing assistance to disadvantaged youths to go to college; who would otherwise find themselves struggling to find their way after they aged out of the foster care system. Helping disadvantaged young people become strong, capable, talented and thriving members of our communities is the most rewarding investment; it builds better tomorrows for all.
Being a Trustee for the O’Brate Foundation has been a very rewarding experience for me. When you read the stories of the applicants, you realize just how truly blessed our lives are. Some of these kids have gone through things in their lives that nobody should have to go through. But with the financial support of my father and mother through the Foundation, we can make their situation a little better. In today's world it is refreshing to see two really great role models that care about other people and are willing to help. And I am proud that they are my parents.
I am so honored to be a part of something so special. The O'Brate Foundation gives so much support, in both financial support and mentor support to all of the youth. They have regular check in's with the Foundation staff and turn in monthly budgets. Being introduced to a budget is a gift that most students never receive and something that is very important to my grandfather. My grandfather understands that everyone deserves a chance no matter what their circumstances are. If you have drive and a desire to do better for yourself and your family, he wants to help.
It is the honor of my life to accompany Cecil & Frances on the adventure that is the O’Brate Foundation. Few people will ever do so much good in this world. If no one stands so tall as when they stoop to help a child, Cecil and Frances are each about the size of Shaquille O’Neal.
My thoughts on Cecil and his vision for the O’Brate Foundation can best be summed up in a quote from Former US National Security Advisor General Colin Powell, “Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” Over several decades of association with Cecil I have had the opportunity to see all of these attributes in action. His passion is the success of young people and passing on those attributes. The Foundation is a fantastic living legacy to his ideals, assuring generations of young people share those ideals and are given the opportunity to succeed.
“Give a person a fish and they eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and they eat for a lifetime”. This often used saying is a prefect introduction as to why it is such an honor for me to serve as a Trustee for the O’Brate Foundation.
It is a privilege to be part of an organization that I believe epitomizes service to others and generosity. Never a hand out, but always a helping hand to those who have a desire to succeed is the legacy that the O’Brate Foundation will leave as it continues to give the opportunity for young people to achieve their dreams.