276 N. El Camino Real, #184
Oceanside CA 92058


(760) 298-8146
(760) 216-1353









Andrea writes: There have been so many deaths over the past few years here in our town, my beautiful 17 yr old daughter told me yesterday "Mom, we just can't catch a break around here" I'm scared these kids are beginning to think this is the norm. My daughter has been to 8 funerals in 3 of her high school years...8! This town needs you Steve!

You have plenty to be worried about, Andrea. There is a high school in Iowa that just had their fifth suicide in four years and now it sounds traditional. Now kids wonder, "Who is it going to be this year?" In two weeks, I am speaking in a small valley near Los Angeles that has had four sucides just in the past twelve months. These cycles MUST be broken by positive actions with full participation of the parents, students, faculty and administration. Everyone has some skin in this game.

I had not heard about these losses in Union MO so I don't know the causes. I can say I have seen headlines in your local paper calling neighboring Washington MO a regional "crystal meth capital." How many people and productive lives have been lost to drugs in America? That total will be more than car accidents, diseases, natural hazards and homicides combined.

However, I do have ideas about what your daughter and her friends can do. They can stand up and fight back. Whenever the battle seems lost and the value of a person has crept away, the best way to get back into the game is to do something for someone else. Freely, selflessly. The answer is ice cream for the other person, not for us (although you can share).

  • Feed people. Make 30-40 PB&J sandwiches, bag them up, hand them with a bottle of water to homeless people. Put something frivilous in the lunch sack like a fancy napkin, single serving of candy or one of those little drink umbrellas. You will feel useful and the other person will feel cared about. That adds up to a lot more than a sandwich and she can do this for $12.00.
  • Volunteer at a shelter and treat people with dignity like welcome guests. She can be sure that quality if missing in homeless lives. Homeless shelters, battered women's shelters.
  • Bring food to a shut-in. Meals on Wheels needs volunteers.
  • Find a shut in whose house needs paint and find a sponsoring Rotary-Optimist-Chamber civic club or two willing to pay for the paint. Then get friends together and paint it. Any paint will leave it better than it was and a resident who feels valued.
  • Find a shut-in whose yard could desperately use a weed whacker, and whack it for them. She probably doesn't need to ask. Just whack and rake.
  • At school, go sit with the friendless kid over there. Talk to him or her like "us" rather than like "... you."
  • Your daughter can challenge herself to smile at enough people daily to make 20 of them smile back at her. Up the ante - 20 people she doesn't know well enough to converse with, or 20 people before noon. She should keep a written tally. Smiles are a BIG way to pay it forward. Get her friends to do it without telling anyone else what they are doing.
  • Kristina Ellis has a best seller on the market, "Confessions of a Scholarship Winner" that includes her techniques for getting scholarship judges' attention. Part of her 1,000 hours of volunteerism through high school was that she found out people in East Africa had parasites entering the body through the soles of the feet. They were shoeless and defenseless. Kristina organized a drive to gather hundreds of pairs of shoes and shipped them to organizations that would distribute them to grateful people. High school girls can save lives!
  • When my father was in his last days at a hospice center, a group of young college students came weekly to the hospice center, individually going bed to bed singing songs popular in the 1940s and 50s. The girl who came to Dad's room twice couldn't hit all the musical notes, but she sang softly to him. It was so sweet it drove me to my knees and still tears me up.
  • Out there somewhere is a woman in her 80s whose eyes have dimmed and she can't read any more. Read to her, share a book page by page and this woman will radiate her appreciation. Every time, your daughter will leave this woman's home with both of them a few inches taller.

The possibilities are endless for contributing to people whose lives are diminished, and your daughter will be the confident winner. As the expression goes, we all have to bloom where we are planted.

And of course, if there is someone I should be talking to in/around your town - school administrators, churches, scouts, youth teams, I'd be happy to come speak. Tell them what I do and help us get in touch with one another!

Steve Stewart Seminars | 276 N. El Camino Real #184 | Oceanside CA 92058 | 760-298-8146/Direct 760-216-1353/Cell |