Eric D. Thomas – Youth Activist, Speaker, Author and Motivator
Renown speaker, educator, author, activist and minister, Eric Thomas is rising to national prominence by delivering a high energy message that tells youth through first hand experience how to live up to their full potential and greatness and by breaking the cycles of crime, hopelessness and despair that many face daily. Known for his engagingly personal approach, his messages are both dynamic & inspiring. When coupled with his own Cycle-Breaking experience his blunt essays on reality and remarkable ability to reach even the most jaded of minds, has helped thousands of youth nationwide become peak performers academically, spiritually and personally. Eric has electrified audiences ranging from Fortune 500 companies to urban educators, collegiate athletic programs and inner-city youth development agencies with the message of his own life’s struggles and the principles, insights and strategies he used to overcome them. Eric is no stranger to the ills that plague our communities as he was born in Chicago, IL and raised on the streets of Detroit, MI. His childhood and adolescent years were difficult, and his life struggles and personal identity issues were intensified because like so many, he did not establish a relationship with his biological father until his early thirties.
At the age of 16, defiant and hardheaded, Eric decided to leave home and drop out of school, choosing to live on the streets of Detroit. By divine intervention at age 17, Eric met a pastor who saw him a young man with tremendous unrealized potential. As a result, their mentoring relationship was born which led Eric to complete his GED and to prepare for college. Determined not to be another statistic, Eric enrolled at Oakwood University where he began reading every thing he could get his hands on. Understanding the struggle of the streets, he realized what his purpose in life was to become, so he reached back to his fellow drug dealers and helped many of them get their GED’s, go to college and incorporate the strategies and self-improvement exercises he learned in order to assist them in developing their own life plans. In so doing, he provided them with a much-needed positive option to the life of crime and illiteracy they then led.
While in college, Eric started Break The Cycle I Dare You, (BTC) a non profit youth development and special event organization that focuses on developing programs for youth who have made bad choices and most often have had family, social, and academic struggles along with the lack of a father figure in their lives. Today BTC has developed and produced many supportive community-based programs and conferences across the country. They provide youth and teachers alike with activities, self-improvement exercises and motivational strategies to help them reach their highest potential in life. Eric now serves as the Chairman of the Organization.
He obtained his Masters degree in 2005 and is currently pursuing his PhD in Education Administration at Michigan State University and serves as Senior Pastor of A Place of Change Ministries, Lansing Michigan. He also serves as a consultant at Michigan State where he has developed The Advantage Program, an undergraduate retention program targeting academically high-risk students of color. In addition to his work with the Advantage at Michigan State, he also serves as a consultant for several collegiate athletic programs across the country. In this role, he provides assistants to student-athletes having academic and social challenges as it relates to successfully transitioning from high-risk schools and communities to a collegiate environment.
Eric’s representation of the merits of higher education, coupled with his knowledge of the pains of the street, inspires young people to break bad habits and reach for new levels of personal and spiritual achievement.
Eric has lived a life of challenges and triumph but has found a way to break the cycle.