To say S. L. Young (known as Sly) is a man of inspiration would be an understatement. Sly went from graduating in the bottom of his high school class to becoming an entrepreneur, radio host, professor, and inspirational speaker. Sly is perseverance personified. From books such as “Choosing to Take a Stand” that highlight his struggles that led to his near-suicide to becoming an inspirational speaker for numerous organizations, Sly inspires countless others to continue the fight and follow their dreams.

Sly’s teachings have impacted me greatly, as I was unsure about determining my approach and strategies to conquer my goals. However, the considerable insights in his books increased my ethical beliefs, integrity, and have overall made me a better man.

Sly, if you ended your life years ago in 2014, then I wouldn’t have grown into the man that I am today. Continue to inspire young people (like me) because we need your guidance and teachings more than ever.

Thank you for being you Sly!

P. Sakyi,

Northern Virginia Community College Student, Man-Up Program Member, and Mentee

I met Stacey L. Young (Sly) during the Fall 2018 semester while enrolled at the Northern Virginia Community College in the class “Interpersonal Dynamics in the Business Organization”. On that first day of class, he began by setting high expectations for everyone’s professional growth. At the same time, he made a point to get to know everyone on a personal level. Sly started by learning everyone’s name. Then, he provided supportive, helpful, and insightful feedback from the very first interaction. Furthermore, Sly was extremely genuine, transparent, and forthcoming about his own growth (personal and academic), which helped the class to identify with him, especially me. In fact, I dropped-out of college on several occasions for various reasons, including academics.

Sly’s unpretentious teaching style helped me grow as a student and his willingness to share his own struggles strengthened my resolve to complete my degree. As an adult student with a family and full-time job, it can be difficult to balance the needs of my family while at the same time devoting enough time to my schoolwork. Sly’s nontraditional career path and success was driven by his education. Without a doubt, I now place more value on my education as well.

M. Snuggs,

Northern Virginia Community College Student

Your strong words of encouragement and shared life experiences will serve as guides to help keep the young men on path to fulfill their personal and life goals. I encourage you to continue to do great things for individuals and communities that you serve.

C. Howard,

Northern Virginia Community College, MAN UP (Minority Male Initiative) Leader (Letter of Support)

Mr. Young's presentation "Confronted with an Ethical Dilemma: What Will You Do?" received an average session rating of 4.67 out of 5 at the 2016 Project Management Institute (PMI) Global Congress. (Note: The average session rating across all sessions was 3.9 out of 5 with a standard deviation of .69.)

J. Mahoney,

PMI Congress Content Coordinator

Your enthusiasm and passion are unmatched... Your teaching style and your ability to convey information with everyone in class was truly amazing. Your passion inspired me to find my own passions and to pursue what I seek out of life...

M. Rivero,

Northern Virginia Community College Student

This is excellent reading ... I am very proud of what you have written. (referring to the article "Rushion McDonald: Architect Behind the Steve Harvey Global Media Brand").

R. McDonald,

Hollywood Executive Producer, Entrepreneur, and Steve Harvey's Business Partner

I have known Stacey for over 20 years and have always found him to be the consummate professional. Taking charge of any situation, showing great initiative. The love and excitement for what he does shows in his quality of his work product. His ability to call on his personal experiences as well as other influential resources is uncanny.

A. Langham,

Human Resources, Director, National League of Cities

Your presentation, Belief: A Powerful Component of Success was a unique topic and very engaging for our students. We were lucky to have someone with your experience share success strategies as well as provide meaningful ways for our students to find motivation in the challenges they might be facing throughout their college experiences.

A. Morley,

Student Life Specialist, Northern Virginia Community College

I wanted to share this powerful quote (referring to the quote "Darkness Fuels the Light") from S.L. Young. I am always searching for resources, inspiration, wisdom, etc., that will help SCIP'S efforts to reconnect and keep youth connected to their communities. As a kid growing up, Mr. Young was not unlike so many of the kids we work with today and yet he found a way to use education to lift him to a place where he can give back in profound ways. I wrote this particular quote on a classroom dry erase board two weeks ago and the teacher has yet to remove it. I believe there are thousands of kids whom we have had the opportunity to work with who have the potential to be another S. L. Young.

M. Saigeon,

Founder, Sheriff's Community Impact Program (Letter of Support)

I have used your book (Above Expectations: My Story) as one of the texts for a class I am teaching in Fieldwork in Child Psychology. My students attend class one day per week, and spend 60 hours over the semester serving as mentors in after school programs for disadvantaged youth. The course is in partnership with Brooklyn College Community Partnership (welcometobccp.org). Your book has served as an inspirational guide and motivator for my students. It has provided them with valuable insight into the minds of the middle and high school students they mentor, the challenges these children face, and the gifts of a caring mentor. I cannot thank you enough for putting into writing your experiences.

Dr. Gardin, Associate Professor, City University of New York (CUNY)

Brooklyn College

Sly, I have to tell you, that's hands down the best introduction I have ever received! That's hands down the best; thank you very much! I'm honored by, not only what you said, but how you said it... so thank you!

Paul Carrick Brunson,

Mentor, Entrepreneur, USA Today Business Columnist, and Television Host

It is crucial that our students, especially the boys, hear from a male role model like yourself. I believe they were so attentive during your presentation because they could relate to your story. ... They need to know that they can turn it around, just as you have done.

C. Bonar,

New Directions Alternative High School Program, Arlington County Public Schools

The inmates and staff were all very impressed with your class and are looking forward to your Life Skills Class in January. You have helped to educate and inspire the inmates. We really appreciate your willingness to volunteer your time to help the individuals incarcerated at the Detention Facility.

K. Cane,

Program Manager, Arlington County Sheriff's Office
(Letter of Support)

...thank you for your generosity in sharing your time and your story with us. You set the bar so very high for this inaugural event, and you challenged our faculty in a way that is so very needed. Folks left inspired and ready to create meaningful change in their classrooms...

A. Gunder,

Instructional Designer, Northern Virginia Community College, Extended Learning Institute (ELI)

Certificate of Appreciation for presenting to The Countdown to Graduation Program we couldn't do it without you!

N. Conyers,

Youth Program Coordinator, Department of Health and Human Services - Arlington, VA

We at the NCSC are also excited about our partnership with you and welcome you back for further work with the community. ... The session was fun and encouraged all present to participate.

A. Williams,

Nauck Community Services Center (NCSC)

I came to your class wary and nervous that your high energy would mean anxiety for me, and I was right. But it was your encouragement and willingness to listen to everyone that allowed me to push through and create my greatest college successes so far out of my greatest fears. I will always appreciate that.

C. Sutherland,

Northern Virginia Community College Student

I admire your ability to be so open about your experiences; it is so important for others to hear your story, as there are too many individuals who go through similar difficulties. But with people like you, they don't have to feel as though they are alone and that can be more than enough to save a life.

O. Vermane,

Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) Intern

Thank you ever so much for your gift of time on Friday to address our seniors. I found your speech very moving and inspirational, as did many others. I am very happy you work with at-risk youth, as they will benefit greatly from your word.

K. Salerno,

Coordinator, Nontraditional School Programs

I had the joy of interviewing S. L. Young. Wow! I enjoyed every minute spent with this fascinating, courageous inspiring light worker. His energy will lift your spirits and get you moving!

L. Jesswein,

Host "Real Life with Lisa Jesswein"

He [S. L. Young] is a caring and compassionate speaker who presents well-planned and timely material. Sly goes out of his way to connect with his audience on a personal level. You know instantly that Sly is passionate about the work he does. ... When he shares about a project - whether it be a speech he is writing or an article he is researching - his face lights up with enthusiasm and it is contagious. You leave feeling inspired.

B. Jannery,

Author, Former Journalist, and Director, Journalism Program, Department of Communication, George Mason University

As a psychology student and impacted by mental illness myself, I could not be more thankful for Sly taking the initiative to reach out to us and speak to us. He shared all the valuable lessons he has learned about life because of what he went through. He encouraged our students to seek help if they feel they need it and made us realize that showing our emotions is not a weakness. His lessons have the potential to inspire many to lead a fulfilled life while learning to live with mental illness.

S. Socher,

President, Marymount University Psychology Club
(Letter of Support)