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A Conversation with Our Founder

Earlier this year I had the honor to be featured in Bekah Jorgensen’s blog Motherhood Moment. Her blog is another great source we recommend to our families for all things parenting related. A huge parenting concern our families have conveyed to us is the post-COVID trauma our teens and young adults are experiencing. We reassure everyone that you are not alone, and our team is here to guide you and your loved one through the uncertainty of life after COVID.

Our mission here at Positive Presence Global is crucial to the development and well being of teens and young adults worldwide. The teenage and young adult years can be difficult enough for one to experience. On top of finding out who you are, what your purpose is, who you truly value, etc…, this upcoming generation then endured an unprecedented time in history, and the anxiety of the unknown became crippling.

I am so grateful for the chance to share Positive Presence’s story with Bekah. Our conversation reiterated the importance of our mission and how it can follow suit in any area of your loved one’s life they are struggling in.

Bekah: Why did you create a Positive Presence?

Michelle: As someone who struggled with darkness as a young adult and who was also simultaneously ashamed of it – I wanted nothing more to protect my daughter from experiencing the same journey. When she was born early 2015 I realized how sharing my story with her could ultimately help her avoid the same fate. But as a newborn, I thought how could I impact her now. In that moment I dedicated my life to impacting the generation she was going to forever be looking up to – the teenagers and young adults of today’s world. The vision of Positive Presence has always been to eradicate this idea that suicide is the only escape from darkness. If we can accomplish that in this generation, my daughter’s generation could truly embody the self-love we all wish for our children.

Bekah: Why is it important to have a positive outlook?

Michelle: Positivity and light go hand in hand. In today’s society, for so many, it feels like darkness prevails. We live in a world filled with fog – a culture lost to hate and stress fueled by exhaustion and overwhelm. When we can practice positive thinking, we as individuals become a beacon of light, a conduit of hope that cuts through the unrelenting smog that overwhelms our humanity. Light creates more light and thus a brighter future becomes inevitable for all. You see, we don’t just become light for ourselves when we practice positivity, we instill light in others. That light, that one positive thought creates an impact that’ll last for generations!

Bekah: How can people remain positive while still processing extremely challenging or
stressful situations

Michelle: By recognizing the contrast! If life always gave us the best situations over and over and over again, we’d eventually become numb to ‘best’. Soon ‘best’ would become ‘great’ and then ‘great’ would become ‘okay’ and then ‘okay’ would become ‘meh’. When we can look at life’s ‘worst’ challenges as the contrast to life’s ‘best’ situations, we begin to have… drum-roll please… GRATITUDE! Gratitude is the pièce de résistance to life. It’s the reason we can experience the worst trauma imaginable and then within moments find a reason to smile. Sometimes that reason comes from a hug from a loved one, the feeling of our own beating heart in our chest or the sun kissing our skin. Gratitude is KING in finding peace in any situation.

To learn more about how Positive Presence can support your family, schedule a call with one of our Connection Specialists HERE.

You can read more about my conversation with Motherhood Moment HERE.

Check out Bekah Jorgensen’s blog Motherhood Moment.

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Get Matched With a
Mentor-Coach

Dustin Jones

Dustin, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, is one of our college aged coaches who is currently obtaining a degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Indiana. Dustin serves as the Associate Director of Community Service for his Business Fraternity and also sits on the Board of Directors for our non-profit, Positive Presence Foundation. He loves to spend his down time hiking, hammocking with friends, and drawing. Dustin is passionate about helping teenagers because there were many times in his life that he didn’t know what he would have done without the support of people that reached out to help him. He believes asking for help should never make one feel like a burden. Dustin is an introvert who is finding his voice through mentor coaching, and is able to relate with his students by putting himself in their shoes. His sense of humor and generous personality is what makes him stand out as a coach. Dustin is an easy-going mentor who always tries to find the light even in dark times and stays positive by reminding himself of all that he is grateful for in life.

Thea Saccoliti

Thea is an aspiring actress making the jump from her hometown of Colorado Springs, Colorado to Los Angeles, California. She has been working in the TV and film industry for 7 years. In order to further pursue her acting career, Thea graduated High School early with honors and an above 4.0 GPA. Growing up, she participated in Competitive Taekwondo and Cheerleading. This empathetic, welcoming mentor continues to have a positive mindset by addressing her negative thoughts and always finding the good in every situation. Although she is young, she is not afraid to shed light on difficult topics within today’s society. She views herself as an old soul born within the iGeneration. Watching as those around her are negatively impacted by the world today, she wants to be able to use this asset to help others. Thea strongly believes in people making a name for themselves and, as a mentor, will not allow social media or other resources to define who her students are. Rather, she will encourage them to come from a place of authenticity and develop into the person they aspire to become.

Blake Cleaver

Blake Petersen is a determined first generation college student living in Kansas City. She works with a local non-profit, Support Kansas City, who provide new and upcoming non-profits the tools and resources essential for growth. Blake prides herself on her compassionate mentorship style with talents in actively listening and responding to others. Blake loves being outdoors and reading books in her spare time. Her family and fur babies are two of the most important things in her life. She maintains a positive mindset by reflecting on her accomplishments, her strengths, and the adversities she has overcome. Blake strives to be that non-judgmental, listening ear that she wishes she could’ve had during her teenage years. She is extremely resilient and hopes to teach others the power of resiliency. Blake is passionate about providing support during the uncertainties of life, sharing her experiences, and ensuring her students see all that life has to offer.

Karen Weaver

Karen is currently studying Psychology and Criminology at the University of Arizona, with hopes of making positive contributions to the lives of others in her future career. She is extremely involved at her University, holding board positions in SPURS Honorary and Circle K International, while also maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Karen is passionate about nature, travel, and her Christian faith, and has the ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Karen is an empathetic and inspiring mentor who believes practicing gratitude is an integral aspect of remaining positive. Her past experiences with mental illness, lack of self-esteem, and toxic environments have given her knowledge in just how dark life can get. Karen believes that coming out the other side of this adversity and finding her most authentic self was one of the most invigorating feelings she has ever experienced. It is now Karen’s goal as a mentor to help others reach their fullest potential.

Maria Molina

Maria Molina enjoys singing, composing music, dancing, and playing the piano and guitar. She is a native of Ecuador, grew up in New Jersey, lived in Utah and California, and currently resides in Arizona. She speaks Spanish fluently and also knows basic Japanese and Romanian. Maria is a first-generation college student and graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During her college years, she participated in international volunteer trips to Bolivia and Romania and since then, has visited several other countries in Latin America. After college, Maria worked as an elementary school teacher and later attended Teachers College-Columbia University where she earned a graduate degree in Neuroscience and Education. Maria’s passion for mentoring youth was strengthened during her time as Program Manager for a college preparation and health careers exploration program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She believes that one young person can truly change the trajectory of future generations and hopes to continue inspiring youth to discover their innate gifts and fulfill their greatest potential.

Jasmine Alexander

Jasmine, a Human Relations major at the University of Oakland is a dynamic community role model. As a generational member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc, she embodies a zest for excellence. Her bubbly personality and kind hearted nature touches the lives of everyone she comes into contact with. Her desire for being a positive catalyst is the reason why Jasmine is such a good fit with the Positive Presence Coaching Program. This creative young woman displays the trademarks of a great leader – skills she desires to impart on the next generation.

Cheyanne Peters

Cheyanne Peters, a first generation college student born and raised in Kansas, graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelors in Psychology and Minor in Applied Behavioral Science. Her passion for helping teenagers feel confident, successful and prepared for their next chapter in life stems from multiple years of working with at-risk youth.

Cheyanne has experience working in a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility rehabilitating children who have endured severe trauma, abuse and neglect and as a result developed behavioral/mood disorders. A former Mentor Program Facilitator at a Juvenile Detention Center, Cheyanne became an expert at aiding youth in their positive transition into society and adulthood. An empathetic and enthusiastic mentor, Cheyanne believes everyone deserves to live a joyful and fulfilling life – a profound passion that drives her in her coaching career.

Emily Lamb

Emily Lamb, a student at the University of Arizona has an unwavering passion to contribute large-scale, positive change to the world, and the people around her. A recipient of the Arizona Excellence Scholarship, Emily’s deep pool of knowledge, easy going attitude, kind persona and empathy makes her an exceptional mentor. As a leader, tutor, researcher and adventurer, Emily surrounds herself with things and people that contribute to her best self. It’s through her personal journey as a former student of Positive Presence, Emily experienced first hand the profound impact this coaching has on the lives of those we coach.

Jamal Johnson

Jamal was born and raised in Georgetown, Guyana and moved to the United States at the age of 12. His experience in the mental health industry the past six years has made him an expert in supporting and guiding young men and women living with autism and intellectual disability. He is also the co-founder of a small construction company based in New York. Jamal’s passionate approach to personal development, calming charisma and innovative techniques to understanding emotional awareness make him an excellent mentor to our Positive Presence coaching team. He stays positive by constantly reflecting on his own journey while creating a safe and positive space for others to do the same. Jamal travels to Guyana on a yearly basis promoting the importance of wellness care and healthy living habits in underserved communities.

Currently a student at UNC-Pembroke, Jamal is in pursuit of his Master’s in Business Administration and Finance. He plans to use his degrees to bolster his current skill set and promote the importance of entrepreneurship in underserved communities in the United States and Guyana.

Veronica Hurford

Veronica Hurford grew up in Fairfield, CA and studied abroad in England while she pursued her master’s degree in Education from UC Santa Cruz. Since the age of 9, Veronica has wanted to be an elementary school teacher and has been tutoring students in writing since she was a senior in college. She spent several summers as a counselor at a non-profit summer camp in southern California. Her fire to coach was initially ignited when she became an executive functioning tutor to teenagers in Colorado. Veronica saw many other needs that weren’t being met with her students outside of academics and had a deep desire to help them have success in school AND life. As an elementary school teacher, mentor, wife, writer and chef, her passion for helping teenagers and young adults far exceeds classroom knowledge. Her engaging personality and thoughtful approach to supporting youth makes her an excellent coach, a positive presence and a life-changing mentor.

Verona Matthews

Verona Matthews is a passionate professional from South Africa who takes a heart-centered approach to her coaching style. Her life’s mission is to leave a legacy of love and acceptance to the future generation. She is able to incorporate her life experiences and empathetic nature to provide her students with tangible life changing skills. Verona is an advocate of embracing change and continuous self-evolution. Her passion for impacting the next generation as a Mentor Coach with Positive Presence comes second only to her devotion to her family and her faith.

Jackie Fouchia

Jackie Fouchia, a Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer & Yoga Instructor, has a degree in psychology of health and healing from Naropa University. A former beauty queen turned health and fitness expert, Jackie has overcome her own mental health struggles and found her passion for helping others both physically and spiritually. Discovering how to radiate self-confidence through her own journey of personal development, Jackie has learned how to teach others how to do the same. Doing all things with love, her patient personality and empathetic approach to supporting those in need makes her an excellent coach, a positive presence and a life-changing mentor.

Elysa Swenson

Elysa Swenson, a charismatic Kansas native and certified CNA, is currently in pursuit of her BSN in Nursing at the University of Kansas. As a former student of the Positive Presence Mentor Coaching program, Elysa found an insatiable amount of purpose and self-acceptance, something she attributes her new-found sense of peace and positivity to. Elysa’s awakening was in understanding that living a life of light and love comes when you decide to simply CHOOSE that life.

Since graduating from Positive Presence as a student, Elysa felt a deep responsibility and higher calling to help her generation find the same. Her passion for person-centered care coupled with her determination to help her generation find THEIR purpose makes her an excellent Mentor Coach for Positive Presence Global!

Alysha Montgomery

Alysha Montgomery, an animal science major and biological sciences minor at the University of Arkansas, is a passionate philanthropist. As a former student of the Positive Presence Mentor Coaching program, Alysha discovered the best version of herself and developed an unwavering passion for helping others find the same. That passion is fueled by her desire to inspire our youth to value themselves and recognize their purpose – a life-changing mentality she learned through her coaching with Positive Presence. Her intuitive nature and peaceful, diplomatic approach to coaching makes her a respected member of the global Positive Presence family and an exemplary mentor to our students.

Angela Kim

Angela is a Speaker, Master NLP Practitioner and Life Coach from Orange County, California. When Angela was 7 years old, she suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a fall. She underwent an 8 hour brain surgery followed by a 2 week coma. When she woke up, she lost her ability to speak and was completely paralyzed on the right side of her body. Angela had to go through thousands of hours of rehab to learn how to talk, walk, and find ways to live with just one arm. Doctors had told her that her life looks dim and that she will not be able to go to college, drive, nor live independently for the rest of her life. She felt despair, hopelessness, and shame from such a young age. She struggled with anxiety, depression, and ADHD ever since she can remember. However, her physical disability and mental health challenges did not stop her. With an incredible amount of resilience and grit, she decided to go after her dreams and graduated from U.C.L.A. with a degree in Psychology, learned how to drive and cook with just her left arm. Angela went to grad school for Speech Pathology but soon realized that her life had a different calling. Angela went on a deep personal development journey and found her passion and purpose in coaching to help others overcome their challenges. She finds life’s truest joys and fulfillment in working with teens and young adults helping them to discover their unique strengths and inner power by taking them on a self-reflective and transformative journey and helping guide them to a life of confidence, fulfillment, and purpose.

Marcos Baluyut-Hand

Marcos is an eclectic mentor, educational coach, and advocate from Los Angeles, California who has been working with youth at a professional level for years; he also has a background in business and community marketing. He prides himself on his ability to not give up, and his perseverance shines true as a first-generation college graduate, as well as the first in his family with a master’s degree. Marcos is passionate about raising awareness regarding social justice, discrimination and advocating for marginalized groups. Marcos believes that everyone deserves to have someone who is there for them unconditionally and wishes he grew up in a setting where having a mentor was more accepted. His confident, empathetic, and authentic energy is what makes him a memorable mentor and allows him the opportunity to guide others in finding their authenticity without shame.

Wafeeq Amin

Wafeeq has spent multiple years working with today’s youth. In addition to his Mentor Coaching Certification with Positive Presence, he is certified as a youth, parent, and family coach. A natural born leader, Wafeeq has overcome extreme obstacles and adversity in his lifetime. Because of his own experiences he appreciates and recognizes the value of having someone beside you on the journey of life. A true believer in the importance of life skills and personal awareness, Wafeeq is fully committed to helping the next generation make a healthy and positive transition into adulthood. A true visionary, Wafeeq has learned to lean on his own positive psychology toolbox to help those he works with. Coupled with his strong connection to self and unwavering connection to his faith, he remains a positive role model to all those he works with. His passion and purpose filled lifestyle resonates with everyone he has the pleasure of engaging with.

Remy Elsherif

Remy, who moved to the US from Egypt at the age of 25, is a personal trainer and life coach passionate about helping young women and their mothers achieve their life and fitness goals. As a mother of two boys, she has seen first-hand how mental health can negatively impact one’s life. Remy desires to be the empathetic mentor she longed to have growing up. Overcoming many adversities, her story is beyond empowering. Despite a toxic family environment in her youth, depression, and the loss of her fiancé to brain cancer, she was led to use her darkness as a vehicle for light. Instead of thinking “why me?” – Remy has cultivated resiliency through practicing gratitude and began to shift her perspective. She realized the culmination of her life experiences helped her become the strong, caring, and loving person, life coach and mother she is today.

Danielle Daniel

A certified life coach, Danielle has a bachelor’s in business and has made it her mission to guide every teen and young adult in finding their passion in life. Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Danielle focused her budding coaching career on helping the next generation build confidence in interviews, public speaking, self-image, etiquette, competition, and charisma. One of her greatest joys is helping her students find purpose and navigate through life to become the best version of themselves.

Practicing her own path to purpose, Danielle has volunteered in after-school programs and has mentored youth through programs like ‘End Slavery’. Being so tightly connected to the next generation, Danielle can relate to the pressures of grades, sports, competitions, and trying to fit in. Danielle specializes in time management, having a healthy routine, positive mindset, money management, career, and personal growth. Aside from being a life coach, Danielle has a background of being a director in sales, property management, marketing, and entrepreneurship and has a personal goal to get her Master Certification in Life Coaching.

Lyndsey Clark

Lyndsey is a laid-back, passionate and open-minded mentor from Ohio. As a former college athlete, high school coach, first-generation college graduate and CrossFit competitor; Lyndsey is passionate about and runs her own fitness and nutrition business. Previously a teacher of 10 years, Lyndsey believes we can fill in the gaps in our education system by educating and preparing the next generation for LIFE, lessons she wished she would have learned in high school and beyond. Having 7 siblings in her very-blended family, Lyndsey has experienced first-hand many struggles within the family dynamic including divorce, the foster care system, alcoholism, and mental health. She credits her positive outlook to always trying to find the positive in every situation. Her own journey of self-discovery and self-love has been full of ups and downs and attributes her tenacity to the importance she’s placed on growth and awareness at every turn. She wants to create a safe space where others can show up authentically, without judgement but also challenged to grow.

Gisella Howe

Gisella Howe is a multi-lingual mother of four. She is a passionate young entrepreneur, born in Brazil to a police officer in the military father and a housekeeper mother. She helped raise her two brothers, until she was nineteen years old. She has overcome immense darkness from Cancer, divorce and Postpartum Depression to PTSD, homelessness, PMDD and Narcolepsy. Her diagnosis and labels don’t define her but rather feed her passion of helping other parents overcome their traumas and tribulations. She is fierce and in between loving her husband and children she has found a way to love herself! She is continuously on a journey of self-empowerment and education and is enrolled as a student to pursue a degree in liberal arts and philosophy. After ten years in the medical field as a surgical nurse and medical director, she decided to change careers and pursue her passion as a life mentor coach and motivational speaker. Gisella and her husband are actively working on their first book about relationships and how to raise adults in a social media invaded society. Her life’s mission is to leave a legacy of self-love, self-mastery and accountability to the future generation. In her eight years coaching and educating herself in the art of mentorship, she has developed tremendous amounts of insight. She incorporates her life experiences and empathetic nature to provide other parents with tangible tools for a life changing experience – an incredible gift she now brings to our team.

Thomas Knowles

The youngest of three children, Thomas was involved in everything under the sun from travel basketball and baseball to track and field. After years of high-intense sports and summer months with a math and reading tutor, Thomas realized he had lost his sense of self. After starting at the University of Kansas and joining a fraternity, he got caught up in college life. Thomas started to develop and show signs of anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD, and insomnia. As his grades began to decline, self-isolation, drugs and alcohol became a coping mechanism. Recognizing the peril of his decisions, he made a decision to shift his life in a more positive direction. Sophomore year Thomas sought a new major in Unified Early Childhood Education and began to celebrate 6 straight semesters on honor roll, graduated with a 3.5 GPA, met the love of his life, and landed a job teaching first grade. Focusing on his sobriety and future with his fiancé, Thomas is continuing to work on himself every day as a happier, stronger version of who he once was.

Don'Taisha Greene

As a first-generation college graduate, a minority, and a woman, Don’Taisha Greene, has a true appreciation for uniqueness. Practicing authenticity and appreciating others’ uniqueness has allowed her to establish herself as a connected, dynamic leader and resource in her professional and educational career. Her crucial encounters in the education, healthcare, and social services realm have enhanced her cultural competencies and gifted her the observational acumen required to be a change maker.
Don’Taisha has learned to navigate the world of youth mentorship firsthand through trial and error. She is passionate about the next generation because she understands first-hand the litany of challenges that they face. She specializes in connecting students to the tools that will take them to the next level and has emerged from her previous roles as an educator, trained facilitator, and program coordinator. It is now Don’Taisha’s goal as a mentor to help others define life strategies and map out the path to their success.

Jack Blake

Originally from Kansas City, Jack Blake spent his early 20’s learning how to captain sailboats and yachts. One of his most noted accomplishments is becoming a sailboat captain for the annual Yacht Week, exploring exotic locations. Jack aspires to help others create the lifestyle of their dreams just as he did by choosing to embark on a path less traveled. Getting outside in nature, exercising and nutrition are some of the most important things day to day for this adventurous mentor. Being able to pause, relax and enjoy moments while challenging himself and never becoming complacent is something he prides himself on. Jack has always noticed a spark when he is helping people reach their goals. There has always been a passion inside him to influence and inspire those younger than him to make mindful choices.

Katlyn Cleaver

Katlyn is a passionate, strong-willed mentor, born & raised in Kansas. Striving to make a positive impact, she has a fierce pursuit for social justice and equality. Katlyn has experience working with the Kansas Department of Corrections and has been promoted multiple times, currently assuming the role of Restorative Justice Specialist. Her ability to advocate, validate, and empathize is what makes her a memorable mentor. Katlyn finds it important to find bits of light within the darkness, focusing on those blessings in disguise, and helps those she works with to do the same. Katlyn believes teenagers and young adults are an untapped population of individuals who are needing more resources and support than currently available to them. She has seen first-hand how systems and society fail this population and how imperative it is to their success and well-being to have someone who can be a light and witness in their life.

Emily Caikoski

A student at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Emily is motivated to become a successful Transformational Life Coach. Best known for her uplifting energy, this incredibly gifted professional uses active listening to provide a safe place for her students to express themselves and be seen, heard & acknowledged without judgement. Emily stays positive by writing & saying affirmations, practicing gratitude and meditation, and journaling about her journey – techniques she encourages all of her students to elicit positive change. She prides herself on meeting her students where they’re at and sets intention to be present in every moment. Her passion for being a mentor coach with Positive Presence is deeply seeded by the lack of judgement-free support and guidance she had when she was younger. Emily strives to be a positive role model and encourage the next generation to be the most unapologetically authentic versions of themselves.

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Tonica Johnson

Tonica Johnson, a first-generation college student from Cleveland, has a Master’s of Education from the University of Dayton. She is a former high school teacher of 7 years and now lives in Colorado, where she owns her own college planning business. Believing that the traditional education system doesn’t always teach the skills that are necessary for life, she has felt called to help do so herself, and her students have always looked to her as a mentor and role model. Tonica has had to face her fair share of adversity within her family, from alcoholism to divorce, and credits her positive mindset to practicing gratitude and the support of others in her life. Her own journey to self-love and self-worth has been full of ups and downs, but she truly believes that everyone is able to have a successful, positive, fulfilling life, and is passionate about helping others discover that for themselves. Tonica is always ready to listen without judgment and provides a safe, supportive space for healing and growth. She inspires others to become confident, driven people excited about going out and making our world better, one day at a time.

Michelle Marie King

Michelle Marie King is the premier Confidence Coach for teenagers, young adults and young entrepreneurs across the globe. She founded Positive Presence Global – the largest confidence coaching company in North America – and has helped people worldwide find their confidence in all aspects of their life. Michelle’s engaging and energetic personality coupled with her ability to motivate has distinguished her as a personal development trailblazer.

In her career as a model, philanthropist, emcee, entrepreneur, spokesperson and public speaker, Michelle has appeared on radio, television, billboards and print in over 15 different states for her community efforts and her ongoing business ventures.