Michael Arterberry Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Michael Arterberry
Michael Arterberry is our guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business podcast.
He is the founder of Youth Voices Center, established in 2008, which is dedicated to promoting positive youth development among adolescents through its “Power of Peace” program offered in schools, community centers, and youth groups across Westchester, Schenectady, and Columbia counties, and soon to be Connecticut and New York City.
How The Dots Joined Up For Michael Arterberry
As he says “In founding Youth Voices Center (YVC) in 2008, I drew heavily on my understanding and empathy for the pressures and difficulties of the teenage years.
In addition to my own experiences growing up in poverty, I have worked with thousands of teens in a range of settings over the past 22 years as a social worker and counsellor.
As a teenager, I was fortunate to receive guidance from positive adult role models who helped me overcome adversities and set high expectations for my future.
Grateful for the role these mentors played in my own development, I decided to dedicate my professional life to helping teenagers navigate the difficult adolescent years.
So what are the things that make such a difference to the youth of America in his opinion?
And what are his dreams for the future of the Youth Voices Center spreading across America, or global domination.
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Michael Arterberry
During the show we discussed such deep subjects with Michael Arterberry such as:
Michael shares the story of his difficult father, and the upbringing that he had which formed the person he is today
We discuss the moments in our life that shape us, the failures that become the stepping stones to success.
Michael talks about how difficult it is to find funding for a non profit, although that wont stop him persisting.
How To Connect With Michael Arterberry
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Full Transcription Of Michael Arterberry Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, hello there. Good morning to you good morning to you across the world. Thank you, as always, as always for being here. Hope you and your family are safe in this difficult time. Now, over the last six years, seven years of Join Up Dots a cause we have spoken to many entrepreneurs, online business owners, CEOs and corporate folk about their passions, their drive to create success. But what about if the success isn’t really for you? What about if it’s on a wider purpose? Well, today’s guest is somebody who’s certainly on that track and he’s the founder The youth voices centre established in 2008, which is dedicated to promoting positive youth development among adolescents through its power of peace programme offered in schools, community centres and youth groups across Westchester, Columbia counties, and soon to be Connecticut and New York City. As a teenager, our guest was fortunate to receive guidance from positive adult role models, who helped him overcome adversities and set high expectations for his future and grateful for the role these mentors played in his own development. Michael decided to dedicate his professional life to helping people navigate the difficulties of life and launch their future into motion. As he says in founding youth voices centre, I drew heavily on my understanding and empathy for the pressures and difficulties of the teenage years. In addition to my own experiences growing up in poverty, I’ve worked with thousands of teens in a range of settings over the past 22 years as a social worker and counsellor and as a teenager. I was fortunate To receive guidance from positive adult role models, who helped me overcome adversities and as we said before set high expectations for the future. So what are the things that makes such a difference to the youth of America or across the world in his opinion, and what are his dreams for the future of the youth voices centre spreading across America or global domination? Well, let’s find out as we bring them to the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Michael Arterberry. Good morning Michael. How are you?
Michael Arterberry [2:33]
Good morning. Good morning David. How are you? That was a great introduction. I enjoyed it very much.
David Ralph [2:39]
Enjoyed it I’m glad you enjoyed it Michael because it that’s you in it that’s that’s all you’re about and so much more as we’re going to find out on the show. But what instantly connected with me as I spoke to you just before we started recording, is you have a passion for life. Don’t you have a passion for experiences it came across strongly to me Right, right.
Michael Arterberry [3:00]
Yeah, you know, and I think it’s rooted in. And you know, if you don’t mind, I kind of want to tell you a story to kind of kick off a little bit about my background, if that’s all right with you, David, is that okay?
David Ralph [3:11]
It’s a podcast, might you do what you need to do? And I sit back and have a drink.
Michael Arterberry [3:15]
All right, David, I want to tell you a story. And it’s about a farmer and a donkey. And his donkey is one of his favourite farm animals. Because once he finishes playing, working with him in the fields, he brings the donkey back to his home and he allows his kids to play with donkey. So imagine he brings a donkey home, the kids come running out the house, they wash them, they ride them, you know, they pet him, and then he sends him back out in the fall. So one night he brings him home and they come out and they play with them. Then he releases them to the farm. But the following morning, when he comes out and he calls him the donkey doesn’t show up. When the doctor doesn’t show up, of course he’s concerned. So he starts walking around a farm to kind of see if he can find them. You finally hear him yelling or making donkey noises at the bottom of empty water well, tree goes over to the water. Well, he looks down, wants to get them out so it gets six of his friends. He brings them over to the well, and they decide that they’re going to pull them out with smoke. So all six of them grab a rope and they last saw the donkey and they tore it down. They miss them, they throw it down, they miss them. They finally brought by his hind legs steps into the world. They shimmy it up his body and they start to pull. They pull the donkey moves, they pull the donkey moves, they pull the donkey moves and halfway up the Well David, they realised that the donkeys too heavy. So when they realised the donkeys too heavy, they long back to the bottom of the well. And when they lower back to the bottom of the well, the farmer now has to make a grim decision. She can’t feed them food at the bottom of the well, because that doesn’t make any sense. He really can’t starve him because in his mind, he’s more like a pets. We can’t stop One of his hot headed friends told him to shoot him but he thought that was too violent. So what one of his friends that were more reasonable decided that he didn’t want his kids to fall into the well. So they’re going to cover the donkey with dirt, sacrifice donkey, but they were going to allow his kids to be safe. So all six of them got shovels and they started to shovel the dirt. And every time that dirt hit the donkey document screen, got dirt, scream, dirt, scream, dirt scream, and then all of a sudden the scream stop. On the screen stop. It gave the donkey a moment of silence but they went back to work. more dirt, more dirt, more dirt. David The next thing you know you see the donkeys right here, more dirt, more dirt. The next thing you know you see half the donkeys body or dirt border. The next thing you know that donkey walks right out of the well that he fell into. Now every time that deer came across the wall, it will fall on his back. He would shake it off and he would step on and he used everything scoop of dirt that was meant to kill him to save his life. Now, I want to tell you that story because you started with, you know, my sort of my vibrant way of looking at life. You know, I was the donkey. And what I was able to do is I was able to take a alcoholic home, but a raging I call the father poverty, dysfunction, and I was able to take all these things, shake it off and step on it. So my passion, the foundation of my passion and helping people is the fact that I always look for and want people to have the best life that they can have, because I was able to accomplish it myself.
David Ralph [6:39]
Now, is that something that you tell over time, is that one of your fallback stories or is that something but sort of first time shared?
Michael Arterberry [6:49]
You know, I I use it not for the simple reason that I think it illustrates the difficulties I went through. I didn’t know Have a donkey story as I was growing up, but as I made up the story, I realised that it’s a compilation of the difficulties that I went through. And if I didn’t survive the difficulties that dirt would it took me out just saying.
David Ralph [7:17]
Now, obviously, I don’t want to take you back to sort of dark times, but it would be wrong if we don’t express the whole gambit of your life. So how rough was it as a teenager? How difficult was it?
Michael Arterberry [7:30]
It was it was bad. It was bad. You know, I know you you don’t just shows like I didn’t want to get too heavy on you, David, but no, it was it was rough. You know, my dad was a raging alcoholic. So when when you have alcoholism, you have alcoholism, but he raised from the time I was born, until the time that he died when I was 16. So as a teenager, you got to imagine never being able I could get lost in the day. Having a good time. But eventually, during that day, something would tap me on the shoulder and remind me that I had to go home that night. And so growing up as a teenager, I was never balanced. I always kind of felt like, you know, I was in a place, I could have peace, but it was never consistent because I had to deal with the realities of what was gonna happen.
David Ralph [8:23]
And obviously, when he passed away, it was your father. But was it? Was it a relief? Or was it still sort of upsetting? I’ve been very lucky to have a wonderful parent, so I can’t understand how I would feel so I’m asking that question. Is it is it a relief when they leave you or is it still that’s my dad, and I want him around?
Michael Arterberry [8:47]
Wow, that’s a great, great question, David. And I’m gonna I’m gonna tell you, he’s so he got into an accident. And so imagine showing up at the emergency room. He’s in he’s in critical condition. And the question you just asked me is exactly what I said to myself in the waiting room. And you better believe that I came to the conclusion that I would much rather him, um, die than to come back. You know what I’m saying he had caused that much grief, not only to me, but to my mom. See, he wasn’t abusive to his kids. So we didn’t really get it bad. But my mom, it was really bad with
David Ralph [9:29]
so so when something is fat rough, because we see it all the time. But an abused person becomes the abuser, if they say that’s the normal way of doing it. And so they do the same thing themselves. What makes somebody be fundamentally good and want to give so much back to the community when you’ve had something rough like that, Michael?
Michael Arterberry [9:54]
Because my passion is, is is stuck to the fact that When I was that kid, I always wanted someone like myself to tap me on the shoulder and grab me and say, Listen, I’m here to comfort you. And so when I create my energy to help others, it’s always that that childlike character in me that says, You know what, and then I can notice it because I can’t do something like that. I have the ability to watch when people move, and just their energy, and I’m able to connect and start to ask the right questions. But I don’t want you to think that I only relate to people that have been abused, I have the ability to still be able to relate to those that have had lives that weren’t as critical as my own. So let’s
David Ralph [10:47]
talk about youth voices centre. Is it a nonprofit? Is this your full time business? Explain it?
Michael Arterberry [10:56]
Yes. So what happened was is I created a programme Quote, power of peace first. And what the programme that I created. It’s a programme that I take into high schools. And what I do is, say for instance, your principal, I come to you and I asked for 25 to 30 students that represent a building. So I want the white student, the black student, the honour roll student, the student that’s struggling, and I put all these students in a room for two full days and I do all my activities in a circle and my power of peace programme, what I’m trying to do is to get these young people to walk back through their stories, and see what they’ve been through and make a connection to the difficulties and the traumas that they overcome, to what decisions that they’re making in their present life. But in the process of doing that they get to build community, with 25 other students that they wouldn’t normally talk to. And so I developed this programme and gained a lot of success. And then once again success I had to create the nonprofit so that I opened up the avenue for having or receiving funds to be able to bring it out to the world. So the programme came first. The success of the programme gave me the opportunity to create the nonprofit so the programme is only the one programme I run from it, the nonprofit is its collection.
David Ralph [12:26]
So cannot be bold enough to suggest about what you get them to do is Join Up Dots to look back and see the moments the situations that have formed them and see them as stepping stones to a better life instead of obstacles to look back and drag around with them.
Michael Arterberry [12:44]
Yeah, I know you you’re very accurate. You’re very accurate. You know, um, what I believe is that when we when we go through life, you know, damage occurs, I call them landmines, so they’ll step on a landmine, but it won’t blow them up, but damn occurs, and they don’t realise it. And so when you don’t realise that damage occurs, and this is just not teenagers, it’s adults as well. You’ll start to pattern your life around the damage that happened. And then once you once we walk back through the steps, and we see and locate where the damage happens, it allows you to be able to navigate and strategically plan rather than just being reactive to something that you run into.
David Ralph [13:31]
Because what we find on Join Up Dots and it’s become the whole mantra is the dark times the times in your life where you’ve said, Oh my God, why is this happening to me? anybody but me, when you get far enough away from it, you actually go, that was a gift, that that that really pushed me on but allowed me to see a new path. And it’s fundamental to the whole show, and I think it’s fundamental to life, but we have to accept those bad moments as part of the journey and learn from them. Would you agree?
Michael Arterberry [14:04]
Yeah, not only learn from them, you got to think about it. If I didn’t have those things in my life, David, I wouldn’t have a career. You know what I mean? So it’s like, you know, I’m a motivational speaker, I’m able to bring this this message to young people. Because what I’ve been able to endure is something that I’ve been able to use as a gift. So I’m just like your the dots. I’m a firm believer that everything that happens has its purpose, and that if you look at it from the proper perspective, you can find that it’s a jewel.
David Ralph [14:40]
Let’s listen to the words of Jim Carrey. And then we’ll be back with Michael,
Unknown Speaker [14:44]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. So
David Ralph [15:11]
looking back at your own life what good lessons did you learn from your father What things did he teach you or demonstrate to you but you now bring into your own life?
Unknown Speaker [15:22]
wow you know I’m
Michael Arterberry [15:25]
who that the only thing he taught me is you know a the anger piece but not in a bad boy so what I’m what I mean by that is some people will allow others to walk over them and treat them bad what he did leave me is this this edge, that I’m humble, I take a humble stance, but if you eventually step on my toes hard enough, I have something in me. You know, I call it almost like the bite syndrome. You know if you if you eventually pissed me off By where I do have a limit. Yeah. And so that is something that he passed to me and I’m so I’m very passive. I’m very, you know, I’m cool. But if you push me, you know that that man that used to walk into my house or show up and you don’t want to meet him.
David Ralph [16:16]
It’s funny, I have something in me that I will treat everybody with total respect and kindness. But if somebody screws me over, I can’t get past it. I distract. I just drag it around forever. I can’t. I can’t forgive someone who has treated me badly because I try to treat everyone so good. But I feel let down by it.
Michael Arterberry [16:40]
Yeah, yeah, no, that I agree. I agree. And it’s a shame that the world, you know, in the world today, because so many people live so selfish, that I run into that more often than I would like to, you know what I mean? So, you know, I totally agree. And so, and I In our business, we have to be careful because we meet a lot of people. So, um, you know, I try to find ways to shake that off and keep moving and not holding on to too long.
David Ralph [17:11]
Now, with your nonprofit, obviously, you have to get funding from somewhere. Does that make it doubly difficult to run something like that?
Michael Arterberry [17:21]
Let’s say you you have no, I did. I was fortunate. I was fortunate that I was able to run into a philanthropist who was able to fund me, and she funded me and gave me like $200,000 to start out. So imagine when I first developed my nonprofit, I had this woman’s money but she died. I’m like, I had the money for eight years and then she died and when she died Last step money and then being able to get the money every year became difficult. And I’ll tell you up until last year, um, I’ve had to cash in some retirement funds. Um, you know, I go some months without paying my bills, because the nonprofit world is really, really a challenge. So yes, it’s difficult, you know, foundations, some foundations will give to you because I’m small, and more or less independent. I’m not a big agency. People don’t feel that I’m not viable, but that I’m, I’m not able to use the money and sustain it. So, you know, I get grants from schools, which is good, but I’m really what I would love is again to meet a woman who is able to set me up and put me on my path.
David Ralph [18:52]
We all want a woman like that, Michael. I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t know where they are. They’re looking. So why Ben? Michael, this this interests me, I, I speak to people and literally, they’re in it for themselves that they’re in it to make a profit for themselves. They’re building a business, I hold my hand up, I’m trying to do the best I can for the world. For the listeners, I’m aiming to inspire people, but obviously, it’s about making a profit as well. What keeps you going on the path when it is so difficult?
Michael Arterberry [19:24]
You know, what keeps me going is to see a young person who comes into one of my groups. You know, I’ve had I’ve had instances again, not to get too dark, but to be honest, you know, I’ve had kids come into my group and you know, when the group is over, honestly tell me that before they walked into the room, David, they want to kill themselves. They want to take their lives. And so that have someone tell you after a two day period, that you gave them enough hope that they want to live. I don’t think there’s $1 bill out there. That can can Trump that, you know what I’m saying? So, you know, just being able to make an impact in a young person’s life like that makes the money not be important.
David Ralph [20:11]
No, I love that. I love that. So Michael, for the listeners out there, how can they sort of reach out to you? How can I help you?
Michael Arterberry [20:20]
Um, well, you know, my nonprofit website is youth voices centre.org I asked that they go and take a look at some of the work I do. And what’s even more interesting is on the website is a video clip where it says, watch the Youth in Action. So you’ll get to actually watch me do some, some open groups with them. So you get to see it in action. Um, so you know, you can visit me There are also motivational speakers so they can go to Michael Waterbury calm, where they can see some of my motivational speaking engagements and the places where I speak Because some of the podcasts I’ve been on, on my social media pages, which, you know, is my name, LinkedIn, Facebook, and so forth.
David Ralph [21:09]
Well, normally I do this before asking those questions. But I know from speaking to you, it’s going to be a powerful message to be left with. But this is the bit that we called a sermon on the mic, when we’re going to send you back in time to speak to the young Michael, and if you could go back and speak to him, What age would you choose and what advice would you give him? Well, I’m going to play the music and when it fades, is your time to talk. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [21:42]
With the best bit
Unknown Speaker [21:43]
of the show.
Michael Arterberry [21:56]
Yes, well, that is that I want to go back to it. I have to say is my senior year in college, you know, I was an elite athlete. And I’m talking to that elite athlete and I tried out for professional football, and I didn’t make it. And I was really disappointed on the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to land one of those major contracts, and jump into that world of money. Um, what I would like to say to that young person is that the professional football was not what was meant for him. What is what was meant for him is what he’s actually doing today. And that he should be happy with the fact that that thing passed because he was able to step into something that was much more powerful, much more, long lasting, and much more impactful.
David Ralph [22:46]
Michael, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. Please come back again when you got more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures Michael, thank you so much. much.
Michael Arterberry [23:00]
Thank you. Thank you for having me, dude.
David Ralph [23:04]
So Michael Artie Barry, so are you willing to help him? Are you willing to support the youth voices centre spreading across America, it’s got to be really, really hard to do that kind of thing. And so that’s why I wanted to have him on the show to give him a global platform. somebody out there might be able to help him. I hope it works. Until next time, I’ll see you again. Look up yourselves by
the end of the conversation. Now it’s time for you to start taking massive action. Create your life, busy only life. We’ll be back again real soon. Join Up Dots Join Up Dots Join Up Dots. Joe Joy Joy