“I can’t stay away from these facilities,” Schultz told the youth as they sat attentively to listen to his talk, “there’s a reason for that. I have the most energy I’ve had all week being in this room today.”
Maybe this is because Schultz was once in a similar position as they are. At 17 he was sentenced to 7 years in prison for first-degree assault and just 10 months ago he was released.
“No matter your circumstance,” says Schultz, “you can always grow inside.”
While in prison, Schultz began to take the steps to turn his life around. He studied and followed the habits of the older boys at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility and took advantage of available opportunities. Before his release, Schultz had obtained two bachelor’s degrees and spoke at TEDxSalem.
Schultz also discovered spoken word poetry and storytelling as a positive outlet to share his experiences. Now he is using his experiences and talent to inspire youth to follow the right path.
After viewing Perception, the youth were eager to ask questions and seek advice from Schultz. “You have time to look inside. You have the time to develop past your peers,” he encouraged while acknowledging the youth’s frustration with not having access to social media and other things that they were used to having before being incarcerated.
As Schultz’s visit was coming to an end, a youth asked him what his motivating mantra was. Quoting famous poet Rumi, he replied, “Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”