Meet James Poindexter, Martial Arts World Champion and motivational speaker. Successful, right? It wasn’t always so. James grew up in an abusive home. He and his sister were regularly beaten until one day, the bruises were noticed by a teacher. When his parents learned they could no longer beat their children, they starved them. But it wasn’t until James was abandoned, left first by his mother and sister and then deserted by his father, that he entered the system. After a week alone in his house, 10-year-old James made his way to his grandparent’s home. He was promptly sent to live with his other grandparents, who wouldn’t keep him either. Placed in the care of the state, James spent the next five years in nine foster homes and 12 shelters, moving a total of 21 times. To meet his basic needs, including acquiring enough food to stay alive, James learned to fight. He became the mean guy with a prison mentality. Eventually he became the tough one and other kids left him alone. It wasn’t a pretty life. When James first thought he wanted to take a shot at success, his motivation was a little off the mark. “At first it was hate that drove me. I was so angry at being abandoned by my family that I wanted to do great things just so that I could come back one day and rub it all in their faces because they missed out on it all,” he tells us. But then something clicked inside of James. He knew the road he was headed down, and he didn’t want to be a statistic. Aging out of foster care would mean, statistically, that he would end up with even more problems, and quite possibly wind up in prison. So James began to find a little bit of belief in himself. He stopped giving in to the negative words his parents piled on him. He made a choice. James was going to succeed. James will tell you that he’s no different than other foster kids. They have dreams like he had, and they have demons to fight. To foster children everywhere, James says, “You are valuable. Your dreams are achievable. Dream big and BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT!” He knows what he’s talking about. James dreamed of one day being a Martial Arts World Champion. And he did it. He found the strength within himself, the same strength that exists in every human being. James applauds the good work of foster parents. He knows that many a child has overcome and succeeded because of the love and motivation of a good foster parent. But more can be done. “Tell your stories,” he pleads. “Write blogs, create videos, contact news stations and newspapers. Get the word out about your positive, life-changing stories. We need the voice and THE VOICE IS YOU!” And to those who would like to help, but are not in a place to foster kids right now: “Please donate to your local foster care agencies. We could definitely use the money. Calculate how much it costs you parents to support your kids. It costs just as much if not more to support foster kids. Please give.” James’ story is one of triumph. He hopes that by sharing his experiences, there will be thousands more stories like his. He is passionate about reaching others who can help foster kids succeed. Check out his website (<–If the link doesn’t work for you, delete the https at the beginning of the url and try again), this short video, and consider bringing James to your town to share his story!