Recently, I watched a Ted Talk by a man named Simon Sinek. His presentation was aimed at answering why some people and organizations are so successful and why others fall short. Sinek’s examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, the Wright brothers and some others. He explains their success through what he calls the “golden Circle.” Basically, he explains that most organization know what they do, some know how they do what they do, but only a few know why they do what they do. Now, the why does not mean a result such as to make a profit or be elected in government. The why is your cause, it is what you fundamentally believe in. For most, people tend to work from the outside of the circle starting with what they do and then move on to how they do what they do. However, the most inspiring leaders and organizations begin from the inside out starting with why they do what they do. I want to use this platform to explain why SEEED is so influential to the poverty ridden communities of Knoxville as well as other cities around the country.
At this point you are probably wondering what this has to do with SEEED love, so let me explain. Stan Johnson, our Executive Director and founder of SEEED formed this organization approximately six years ago. He will be the first person to tell you that when he began he didn’t know what or how he was going to get young adults out of poverty, but with complete certainty he knew why he was going to get them out of poverty. Stan truly feels for and loves those living in poverty because he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow up this way. He understands that feeling of helplessness and the limitations poverty can place into the human spirit. Yet, in his heart he truly believes there is a way to get every young adult who wants it out of poverty. He truly believes every one of these young adults who have been kicked to the wayside and forgotten about has something extraordinary to offer this world. When Stan speaks to these young people his love for them can be felt through his voice. He speaks to them as if they are his own children because he knows the potential they possess. If you ask Stan why he started SEEED he won’t tell you the mission statement, rather tell you a story of how a young adult was shot and killed, or robbed and explain to you that if this young adult had a job he wouldn’t have been out all night gang banging, robbing or killing. If he and others like him had a job they would be helping to create a community of opportunities, safety, and love. When he looks at a gang member he doesn’t see a criminal or outcast, he sees a young man who is simply searching for love. The students who apply to our program don’t apply because Stan forces them, but because they believe in his cause. They are inspired not by him, but by his belief. Stan is not a great leader of the community because of what he does, he is a great leader of the community because of why he does it. Stan is a man who deeply loves the impoverished, outcasts, and so called criminals. He is a man who loves and sees the potential of the community in which he lives. This is a man who’s love inspires those so desperately seeking direction. SEEED is driven by this love, which is why I truly believe in my heart that SEEED will not only succeed but inspire a country.