Steven Benedict: “Fostering Success”

I chose this space simply because I am a direct product of the system. I lived in and out of foster homes for 6 years and before that it was motel rooms. I know the trauma first-hand and I also know that many areas of the system are still broken. More so than ever our […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

I chose this space simply because I am a direct product of the system. I lived in and out of foster homes for 6 years and before that it was motel rooms. I know the trauma first-hand and I also know that many areas of the system are still broken. More so than ever our children need leaders, need hope, and need to know that they are seen and heard. Not forgotten.

As a part of my series about sports stars who are making a social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Steven Benedict.

As a professional track and field athlete and Olympic Trials Qualifier, Steven Benedict has run in some of the world’s most prestigious events. In addition to the Adidas Classic Diamond League and US Nationals, he ran for Nike for 2 years and was a Penn Relays Champion. Featured in 50 national and international magazines such as Train, ESPN Magazine, Men’s Fitness, men’s Health and Fitness RX, Steven has expertise and contributions that extend. far beyond the track.

These accomplishments were not what was expected based on his early years. Steven’s childhood began in an abusive home which resulted in he and his brother’s placement in foster care. Over the course of his first 8 years, he was moved between homes and motels with little certainty of what the next day would bring. At age 8, he and his brother were adopted by an incredible couple which possessed traits of joy, humility, sacrifice and unconditional love. The time with these parents would be short lived, however as both his mom and dad suffered untimely deaths within a few years of each other. The pain of these losses nearly ended Steven’s professional career but as history would repeat itself, once again, Steven defied the odds and is back stronger than ever to be proof that experiences in life are nothing more than another day of training in becoming a champion for others. He is passionate to set the pace for the coming generations as an example of what relentless strength and faith can accomplish.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to your career path in professional sports?

I have always been blessed athletically as I have participated in quite a few sports that lead me to my current one. As a little one in camp, I remember my first interaction with running but thought nothing of it. To me it was just the thrill of being known as the fast kid, which wound up translating into a true core piece of my athletics. My first sport ever though was Judo. This laid the foundation for me in discipline and attention to detail at a young age.

It was not until my freshman year in high school that the track coach saw me on the football field and approached my parents to stress his interest in having me come out for the track team. Needless to say, I wasn’t very interested as I had planned to do another sport at the time. As fate would have it, my mother urged me to give it a try. So, that season I ran track and wound up winning the county championship as freshmen. That was the start of a long career that has had its highs and lows with a lot of sacrifice. I am truly grateful for all the lessons and characteristics it has built upon me as a man that correlate with everyday life.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What were the lessons or takeaways that you took out of that story?

The first thing that comes to mind is a relay team I was on in high school. I was the lead off leg prepping to start the race. As I stripped down to my race gear and got into the blocks for the gun off — focused, poised, and ready to compete. The gun went off and I bolted around the first curve to hand the baton off to my teammate. I was in the lead and as I was about 30m before the passing lane, it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. I forgot the baton back at the starting line next to my starting blocks. While still in mid stride, I asked myself “Ok smarty what are you going to do now?” So, I did the first thing that came to mind. Act like I did not forget anything, run right to my teammate, and instead of passing the baton off I just slapped his hand and said go. Ha-ha.

I guess the lesson learned there for me was to always check the boxes of preparation, but also work with what you have, where you are in that particular moment.

What would you advise to a young person who wants to emulate your success?

First and foremost, find out what you are really passionate about. Make sure it’s something that you could see yourself doing for a number of years without losing that passion. The only way to find that out is by really dabbling in a bunch of areas early and cutting out the ones that don’t fill your cup. After you’ve honed in on that true passion that aligns with who you are and what you stand for. Go all in on it. Know there will be a lot of sacrifice, work ethic and resilience built along the way but all worth the process. Lastly, keep good people around you that will breathe life into what you are doing and will champion you even when you fall short.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

There have been several people and experiences throughout my journey that have left impacts on me. Whether it be for a season of my life or still playing that role now. I would have to say my parents were the earliest ones to start to shape areas of my life. Transitioning from foster care to an adopted family was very impactful and a blessing. Not only was I looked at and accepted as their own, but they provided me with a second chance at life to grow and experience life from a whole new perspective. It’s truly a humbling and grateful experience to have someone else open their home to you after not really knowing what that word “home” was prior.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about what it is like being a professional sports player?

There are a lot, but I think some of the first ones that come to mind are, “we are not indestructible”, “we have plenty of bad days like everyone else”, and “it’s not all the glitz and glam you see on TV”.

Ok super. Let’s now move to the main part of our discussion. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

This part of my story is probably the most important to me. Currently, I have my first book out called, “Good Morning Super Star”. It’s a book all about setting the tone for your day and helping you discover results by asking yourself better questions. The exciting part for me is that I’m giving all the proceeds to impact foster families and aging out youth for a sustainable holiday season.

During the month of December 2020, I was able to distribute 100–150 bags of toys and wellness products to low-income housing at the Watts Empowerment Center for kids to have a bright Christmas.

Finally my organization “Fostering Success” will be launching early next year to impact the foster care and adoption space. Its voice will be all about reformation and making tangible changes that will directly impact these families and provide resources on so many levels.

What methods are you using to most effectively share your cause with the world?

The methods I’m using are everything from being out in the real community and establishing relationships, social media, blogging and think tanks.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

I chose this space simply because I am a direct product of the system. I lived in and out of foster homes for 6 years and before that it was motel rooms. I know the trauma first-hand and I also know that many areas of the system are still broken. More so than ever our children need leaders, need hope, and need to know that they are seen and heard. Not forgotten.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

I have to say even during the build up to it’s launch we continue to impact kids, families and organizations through our relationships being built. To pull out one story would be hard to do but we do have videos you can view on the fostering success website.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I believe that my organization Fostering Success is going to be that movement and change the face of what non-profits look like, what they do, and what they stand for. The values my organization stands by is for change, which not all will like but that’s ok. As long as we are moving the needle in this space, valuable lives will be impacted.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“God is good to the man who passionately waits.” Lamentations 3:24

This has been a significant staple in my life. As I believe that waiting and passionately waiting are two entirely different aspects. On one hand you can just be waiting around for things to happen and not taking any accountability within your own life, which leads to nowhere. Or we can passionately wait. That is being proactive and good stewards of the resources we have at this very moment doing as much as we can in our own power. Then handing it over and trusting in divine timing that we’ve done our part and the rest is on its way.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Well, a couple come to mind…

First, I would love to have a face to face with Jesus. I know I could change a lot of things if I had that wisdom.

Second, Dwayne Johnson as he always represents himself humbly and really makes the effort to be a bigger part of things as well as his love for his family.

How can our readers follow you online?

IG — steviey_b

Thank you for joining us!

    You might also like...


    Ryan Jenkins and Steven Van Cohen On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work

    by Karen Mangia

    Vince Del Monte: “Value connection”

    by Ben Ari
    Successful Person. Portrait of confident smiling bearded businessman sitting leaning on desk in office, posing with folded arms and looking at camera, colleagues working in blurred background

    Support National Men’s Health Month: Use These 4 Tips To Stay Healthy At Work

    by Ashley Stahl
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.