Foster Care Reform Advocate and Professional Track and Field Athlete Steven Benedict is an Olympic Qualifier and winner of prestigious invitationals nationwide. Steven Benedict’s path to success is all the more remarkable given his early abusive childhood with his biological parents forcing he and his brother to be placed in the Foster Care System. After spending some time in foster care, eventually he and his brother were adopted by wonderful parents, but then precipitously ended when his adopted parents both died prematurely.
When not training, Steven uses his voice to speak around the country to youth organizations. He has been featured in several magazines such as Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, FitnessRX, GQ Magazine, Maximum Fitness, ESPN Magazine, and many others. In addition, Steven has been the face for the following brands: Nike, Under Armour, and Optimum Nutrition.
Please tell us about yourself:
I am currently based in Los Angeles. Running has always been a bit of the many sports I have been blessed to partake in including martial arts, baseball, soccer, football and what has become my stable sport track and field.
What inspired you to become a Foster Care Reform Advocate?
The foster care system was a very large part of my upbringing and shaped a lot of attributes at a very early age. Living in and out of motel rooms to be put into foster care for 6 years was both stripping me of a childhood because I had become a father figure for my younger brother. It was very emotionally impacting. I feel I have a voice and platform to make a difference and change within the foster care system.
I will be launching my new National Program, “Fostering Success,” which restores hope, encourages growth and opposes the abandonment mindset of foster children by providing genuine guidance, opportunities for sports and arts as well as a strong voice for advocacy and systemic reform. To find out more visit our website.
What are the biggest issues Foster Youth face that need to be addressed?
First, to try and attack the foster care system as a whole is a failing battle and in which I feel many organizations are taking that approach thus having little to no impact. I am really passionate about the aging out youth simply because I feel it is vastly overlooked or looked at as a lost cause. Some very serious statistics are that 40% of aged out youth are either incarcerated, sexually trafficked, homeless or dead within the first 3 months out of the system. If this is a very real reality for these kids then why are we not starting earlier with them to blanket them with community, resources and the essentials to thrive knowing they are exiting the system while they are covered in the system. Helping a handful to start will bring those very same adults back to impact the next generation and it becomes a wash a repeat, vastly lowering the percentage of destructive alternative realities.
Next year I will be launching my new National Program, “Fostering Success,” which restores hope, encourages growth and opposes the abandonment mindset of foster children by providing genuine guidance, opportunities for sports and arts as well as a strong voice for advocacy and systemic reform. To find out more visit our website.
Tell us about your book. What inspired you to write a book?
This book was my first book. I really wanted it to be very practical and reader friendly. It’s a 90-day journey in understanding how asking better questions brings us better results. The first 20 minutes and our last 20 minutes of our day are the most absorbent and mind melding times and are best times to have this book incorporated. Through the 90 days the reader will be presented with a quote by some of the sharpest minds, followed by a parable written by myself in how that quote impacted my thoughts and then asked two take action questions. Because execution is everything in the end.
Steven survived this difficult period and used it as motivation for future achievement and success in his athletic career, which he mentions in his book “Good Morning SuperStar: Where Intentions Set the Tone but Habits Align You to Shine,” available on Amazon. Proceeds from the book will benefit Adoption and Foster Care Charities.
Being such a successful leader and athlete, do you have any wisdom you can share that has helped you along the way?
The main priority for any athlete is to stay healthy and injury free.
Please list any social media or websites that you would like PVM to share with our readers
Written by PositiveVibes Magazine