Motivational speaker, philanthropist and author Benjamin Raymond is in Northeast Ohio this weekend. He’s the keynote speaker at the Dreams Academy Gala, which is celebrating young boys who are working on become successful men.  Benjamin Raymond talks with Damon Maloney about his new book.

Raymond and his wife, Karli, are new parents to a 14-month-old son. Karli is the daughter of comedian and TV host Steve Harvey.

Raymond’s book, Playing The Game Without a Coach, walks readers through his challenging life. As a young boy, he struggled to find a stable home. His mother suffered from mental illness and drug addiction. His father wasn’t a part of his life. Raymond said at the age of 13 he took control of his destiny and put himself into foster care. Despite life’s complexities, Raymond managed to go to college on a basketball scholarship and is now a successful businessman.

Raymond also devotes his time to mentoring young children and adults.

“I think it’s very important for a lot of young boys to see male role models that look like them- that have also gone through struggles,” Raymond said. “My message to the boys is- I grew up just like them. And they can be great. It doesn’t matter where you started. It’s ultimately where you end up.”

The Dreams Academy Gala is Saturday, August 12 at the Akron Urban League. It starts at 4 p.m. Tickets are $35-$50. Hubb’s Groove is providing musical entertainment.

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