8/23/2012 REDLANDS Ariana Fuentes was impressed.
The girl, one of the children at Micah House, an after-school ministry for youth in North Redlands, was impressed when the phone book was split apart and impressed when the baseball bat was snapped in half.
“It was cool, really very cool,” Ariana said after she and her friends were visited by Matt Dopson, an inspirational speaker and a member of the Power Team. “I loved it. I think him talking to us was cool and it was cool that he was so big and strong.”
Dopson — a member of a traveling team of strong men who deliver inspirational and motivational presentations to young people of all ages — spent about an hour reaching out to the Micah House children – encouraging them to think positively, to believe in themselves and to never give up in anything.
“I try to encourage young kids,” said Dopson, who spent two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons but now is in his 11th year with the Power Team. “I want them to see the best they can be and to see that they can get anything out of life.”
Dopson added, “I want them to be aware of their choices and I want them to be successful in everything they do.”
The Power Team was scheduled to host an event at the University of Redlands’ Orton Center on Thursday evening that was to feature Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar.
“We are normally at schools with 2- and 3,000 kids,” Dopson said. “This is more of an intimate setting. It’s always better like this.”
Dopson said the Power Team visits between 800 and 1,000 schools every year.
“Do I ever get tired? Yes,” Dopson said. “But it never gets old. There are always different faces, always different kids. If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be doing what I was doing.”
The Power Team’s visit to Micah House was a last-minute decision.
“For them to come to us was totally not planned,” said Dianna Lawson, the Micah House program coordinator. “It just happened. But it was good.”
Cody Garcia, 9, stepped up and helped Dopson tear the phone book in half as his mother watched from the back of the room.
“Just to have him talk to the kids and tell them to believe in themselves was good,” Cody’s mother, Entrituta Ponce, said. “It was a good message.”
Ed Castro, Staff Writer, Redlands Daily Facts