Speakers

Roberto Rivera

Roberto Rivera is an award winning artist, educator, and change agent who specializes in applying best practices in engaging youth using practical and relevant methods. He is also the President and Lead Change Agent of The Good Life Organization. Roberto Rivera received his undergraduate degree at UW-Madison where he created his own major entitled “Social Change, Youth Culture and the Arts”. He received his masters degree at UIC in Youth Development with a focus on Social Justice, Urban Education, and Hip-hop. He currently is the President and Lead Change Agent of the Good Life Org., an organization that publishes multi-media educational tools  and trains educators, youth workers, and parents in connecting positive youth development to community development. His experience in working in the field of community-based popular education over the last decade have won him awards from former president Bill Clinton, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and others. Despite these accolades, Roberto sees his work as giving back, since being labeled “at-risk” and “disadvantaged” as a teen himself, his relationships with key educators and youth workers helped him to turn his life around. Roberto’s presentations are unique in that they not only include scientific based research, but that they also include his own story of transforming from a dope dealer to a hope dealer, to incorporating stories from his work with communities around the nation. His unique ability to code-switch from sharing research and data to stories and poems leaves audiences standing with enlightened minds and moved hearts.

Speeches for Youth

Flipping The Script

This presentation discuses how youth can redefine their labels and use them as their strengths. Roberto talks about how he went from being a disengaged student in special education classes in high school to eventually graduating with honors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a major he created entitled: ”Social Change Youth Culture and the Arts.” This talk grounded in a youth development approach is guaranteed to help traditional and non-traditional learners define and redefine their strengths to demonstrate increased academic and social achievement.

Lighting the Torch of Change

This talk is aimed at activating students towards achievement that bridges the gap between academics and society to include personal and community change.  Roberto asks the question minted by Steven J. Gould: “What good is intelligence if not the ability to solve long standing social problems creatively?” He creatively weaves his life story, and the history of Hiphop into his speech in a way that practically equips youth with examples of how and why they need to become activated learners. This talk brings youth development, social and emotional learning, and culturally relevant theories to life in a way that authentically equips youth to achieve academic success while carrying a torch of hope and service to their school and community.

Speeches for Educators

Hip-Hop(e) Education

Hiphop culture is a phenomenon that affects youth from every background.  In this talk Roberto distinguishes between Hiphop Industry and Hiphop culture.  He also explores how Hiphop culture organically integrates best practices in engaging youth found in principles of youth development and culturally relevant pedagogy.  This talk further examines how youth culture can inform educators in their pedagogical style and curriculum design in order to engage students in a way that is authentic, fun, and effective. Roberto shares his own research regarding the challenges and best practices of using this cutting edge 21st century approach and how it can and has helped youth raise G.P.A.’s, have fewer behavior issues, and increase attendance.  Educators will walk away with both a theoretical framework and practical ideas that will allow them to implement cutting edge 21st century pedagogy in their classroom the next day!

Diversity Education

This talk is designed to help youth workers understand the power of diversity by equipping them to recognize, utilize, and mobilize valuable human and social capitol found in the youth they work with.  They will learn how to identify human and social capital in people from different backgrounds including: age, ability, class, race and ethnicity, and gender. Roberto shares various case studies on how organizations, programs, and communities have been able to harness this power to create positive change. Roberto gives practical examples on how theory and practice can come together so that audience members can leave with a framework on how to begin this process in their own communities, classes, and programs.

Below is a TED Talk Roberto Rivera gave last year. 


 


 

David Rojas


David Rojas is an entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and educator who loves to create community. David is currently the Director of Products and Business Development at The Good Life Alliance. He is also an inspirational keynote speaker on topics such as Youth Voice, Youth Leadership, and Community Organizing, as well as a regular contributor to International Community and Economical Development through specialized projects, including an international book and album focused on intergenerational — Youth and Adult partnerships.

David is a Posse Foundation Scholar who earned his bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Studies from Connecticut College, and served as Senior student advisory Chair of the Hispanic Studies Department, Co-Chair of UMOJA — The Black Student Union, and was an active member of M.E.Ch.A — Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, and M.O.C.A —Men of Color Alliance. His dedication and service to community-based organizing and education-leadership won him the City of Chicago Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year award (2009), Davis Foundation 100 Projects for Peace Fellowship (2013), the Connecticut College Book Prize (2014), and has joined speaker panelist such as US Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, Alberto Carvalho, CEO of the Miami—Dade Public Schools, and CNN Anchor and Correspondent Soledad O’Brien.

Despite these accolades, David sees his work as giving back, and fundamentally challenging the narrative of historically marginalized youth. The majority of his work and research has been done in Chicago, but has presented and facilitated workshops on Hip Hop Education and Youth Empowerment, in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minneapolis, Kentucky, Hawaii, Connecticut, Boston, Seville-Spain and Michoacan, Mexico. David’s presentations and workshops are unique in that they not only include research, but that they also include his own story of transforming his misdirected social entrepreneurship skills and innovative methods of ‘Thinking Global, Acting Local’ from his work with communities around the U.S and abroad.

David has appeared on NPR,WGN, UNIVISION, and has been published by the Feminist Wire. 


 


 

Greg Marshall

Greg Marshall is an award winning musician, writer and speaker. His work with children began as an in-home therapist for children who have autism and other developmental challenges. In his work as a therapist Gregbegan writing music for the kiddos he was serving. The songs addressed challenges such as their morning routine or self-regulation, among other things. This led to the creation of a non-profit organization called Figureheads, Inc. and five award winning CDs that have been performed for half a million people over the last five years. He has also co-authored an award winning book called You Come Too: A step toward inclusion for teachers and parents. Today Greg consults schools, non-profit organizations and businesses as a “cultural architect,” using music and media production and workshops to shape healthy and inclusive cultures.

Greg’s story is inspiring, because it’s not just about his success in helping people who struggle with unique challenges. His story is intertwined with personal struggles that have shaped a unique perspective on life. From being paralyzed to learning to walk again to performing for thousands, Greg’s story will inform, inspire and energize anyone who hears it.

 


 

Marcella Runell-Hall

Dr. Runell Hall is a social justice scholar and author. She has co-edited three award-winning books: The Hip-Hop Education Guidebook; Conscious Women Rock the Page: Using Hip-Hop Fiction to Incite Social Change; and Love, Race & Liberation: ‘Til the White Day is Done. Hall has also written for Scholastic Books, The New York Times Learning Network, VIBE, and various academic journals including Equity and Excellence in Education.

In May ’11, Hall earned her doctorate in Social Justice Education from UMASS, Amherst. Her dissertation is entitled Education in a Hip-Hop Nation: Our Identity, Politics & Pedagogy. Primary academic interests include media literacy, critical pedagogy, cultural studies, women’s studies, racial identity development and spirituality in education.

Currently, Hall is the Interim Director of the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs/Center for Spiritual Life at New York University (NYU). There she also serves as adjunct faculty in the Steinhardt School of Education and the Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

For her accomplishments in the field, she has received numerous teaching awards, including the Association of American Colleges & Universities K. Patricia Cross Future Scholar’s Award. She is also a former fellow for the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. Also a social justice activist, Hall has been recognized through the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office.

Based on over 10 years of scholarship and activism, Hall has been mentioned, profiled, or featured in various media outlets, including Rethinking Schools, Teaching for Change, El Diario, Black Issues Book Review, XXL Magazine, WBAI and WNYC radio, DefendersOnline, Congress.org, daveyd.com, and AllHipHop. Hall also appears in the JFK Presidential Library Gallery (JFK50.org).

Marcella was born in Washington DC and raised in NJ & NY. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband, David Hall (aka DJ Trends) and their daughter Aaliyah.

Specialties

Social Justice/Diversity Education/Training, Spirituality/Religion, Race/Ethnicity, Hip-Hop Education, Critical Pedagogy.

 


 

Jeremy Bryan

Jeremy is an award-winning emcee, author, educator and nonprofit pioneer. As co-founder and creative director of Figureheads, Inc., he has written several albums of original, developmentally-appropriate hip-hop music for students, pre-k through college, and performed concerts, consultations and workshops for youth and their educators at several hundred schools, conferences and community centers around the Midwest and nationally. His awards include a Parents’ Choice Gold Award for the Figureheads’ album “The Movement,” an International Songwriting Competition People’s Voice Award, as well as an Independent Publisher Book Award for the book-album “You Come Too: A Step Toward Inclusion for Teachers and Parents.” He received a Masters in Liberal Studies in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His thesis is being published as part of a book entitled “Hip- Hop(e): The Cultural Practice and Critical Pedagogy of International Hip-Hop” (Peter Lang Press). He lives with his wife and two kids in Milwaukee, WI.

Hip Hop Literacy: Emceeing as Educational Empowerment for Youth This keynote addresses MCing as a core metaphor to tie together the common goals of educators, youthworkers and students. With the end goal of Manifest Creativity through Meaningful Collaboration in Multicultural Community, we are all MCs, trying to Master a Craft, Move a Crowd and Make Change. Speaking from his chapter in the book “Hip- Hop(e): The Cultural Practice and Critical Pedagogy of International Hip-Hop” (Peter Lang Press), Jeremy addresses key concerns of urban educators, youthworkers and students, with anecdotes from his many years of youthwork, performance arts presentations and consultation in schools throughout the Midwest amd nationally. From writing activities to original, developmentally-apppropriate hip-hop music from pre-k through high school, Jeremy has musical tools to pass on as well as conceptual and practical tools and activities for Emceeing in the classroom.

 

 

To book any of the speakers you see here for a keynote,  panel discussion,  workshop,  professional development,  or as a guest lecturer,  please contact us at: info@thegoodlifeorganization.com or call us at 312-434-5046. Thank You!




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GLO Radio provides you access with a worldwide network of artists and organizations that are working to using Hip Hop, Spoken Word, and the elements of Hip Hop Culture towards social justice, youth empowerment, and the building of consciousness. Tune into the movement of Real Hip Hop Culture, not heard on mainstream airwaves, and be prepared to be moved with the beats, lyrics, and message of embracing the beautiful struggle. The journey to living the Good Life starts here!



Good Life was 1 of 12 organizations selected world wide to participate in this years Unreasonable Institute. The institute brings together some of the most innovative organizations dedicated to solving the worlds greatest problems. We gave a TED style talk focused on education that brought the house down.
 
 

Nahume Diaz is a young man that transformed his life after going through the Fulfill The Dream program. He is now a community leader who works to create change by helping other youth find their voice and use them to offer solutions to community issues. We made a music video with a filmmaker from Disney to capture the change this young man is having in the world. Enjoy this song entitled "The Light"!


Fulfill The Dream CD


Created with some of the best Hiphop artists and producers in the country, this CD tells powerful stories with razor sharp lyrics that connect to the ten principles of the Fulfill The Dream curriculum. Authentic, Relevant, and Engaging, this CD is sure to get youth thinking critically and acting creatively Purchase your copy of the CD online today!