I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Dorival. Kevin wears many hats as an author, filmmaker, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and mentor. In his autobiography and stage play, The Courage To Believe, he shares the importance of overcoming adversities in life while pursuing your dreams. Mr. Dorival has presented keynote speeches, facilitated youth workshops at schools and universities around the country. Please take a look at what Keven had to say below:
Where did you grow up? What type of area were you raised in?
I grew up in a single parent home in the urban areas of Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida. The neighborhoods that I was raised in were infested with drugs and violence; my four siblings and I couldn’t turnaround without witnesses something negative. We literally, had to run to church and every time their doors were open – I kid you not.
I chose to rebel at the end of my teenage years, taking part in reckless behavior that earned me an eight-month stint in jail and five years of probation in the early 2000s. But mom didn’t raise no fool. I felt that I had too much potential as an individual to give my life over to the criminal justice system. I was released early from my probation and continued my college education and in 2005 earned a Bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University. I go into full details in my first book, The Courage to Believe, an inspirational autobiography.
How were you able to avoid becoming a statistic?
I actually was a statistic at one point in my life. Getting caught up with the wrong crowds (such as: drug dealers, non-believers, and negative people), during a dark, era lead me to an ugly chapter in my life. However, I stood up like a rose from the concrete. If I can overcome so many obstacles then so can anyone, else, but you have to really want it. It’s like the harder you try obtain your goals in life the harder it gets. One day I took the stance, and wanted to fight for my future. Our teenagers’ and young adults’ needs to take the same stance but it’s tough when you think that no one will reach out to help out before you fall. It’s a realistic fear that we, as adults, have to address in a loving way.
What would you say is main the cause of crime, poverty and incarceration of our youth?
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that he was losing hope. “I’m trying to do the right thing but I’m losing courage.” As long as our youth don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel then they’ll keep falling for the garbage that they are being feed in the media through the television, social media, and the news. Fear has to be the largest determining factor when it comes to crime. People aren’t inherently criminal; it’s a behavior that develops over time. Unfortunately, over 50% of the 2.3 million people currently incarcerated in the United States are black males and females. With so many of our youth peers in prison, trial, or probation, many loose hope and think that they have no choice but to go to prison as well. Sad but true. I’ve been there.
A criminal society is a society that has lost its economic coherence between the government and the people. Some folks will always turn to their criminal nature because they operate on a lower level of consciousness. My goal as a mentor and inspirational speaker is to get our youth to be conscious of their behavior whether they are alone or in public.
What kind of advice would you give to parents living in areas with high crime rates?
Keep believing in our children. They are still your children and need your affirmation that they are somebody, and could be someone great. Expose them to positive places such as a good church, museums, colleges, corporate buildings. The energy from positive people will motivate them. We need more of that. I address this in our new documentary, The Courage to Believe: Never Give up.
We interviewed over the past couple years successful teachers, entrepreneurs, and people that overcame their criminal past. I truly believe that our teenagers need to see and hear from the horse’s mouth how to overcome the street life. The public is going to love the film, which will be released on May 16, 2015 – God willing. We plan on having an educational release in every urban school around the country; college campus screenings will also be given. The film will be accompanied with a curriculum and workshop, whichever option the organization chooses.
Please, look out for our documentary and support it. Help us, help our youth.
Would you say there is a link between public schools and incarceration in areas of poverty?
The privatization of the prison business has created a red corporate from schools to the jailhouse. It’s a big business and a lot of politics behind it. Billions of dollars are made every year by private corporations. Billions. The same corporate executives behind the biggest music business sit on the prison boards; they have stocks at risk if the prisons aren’t filed up, which is their incentive to lock up as many non-violent and violent criminals, alike, in their fancy prisons.
It’s a known fact that the prisons are built based on the 3rd grade reading levels. I personally don’t care how much money they have invested or at stake – I’m here to save as many of our youth, as possible.
Looking back on your childhood, do you think things have changed for the better you for worse (When it comes to School to Prison, areas of poverty, crime rates, etc.)?
Street crime has definitely been reduced. My old neighbored was like Vietnam in the 80’s and early 90’s; if you made it out the hood then you were a certified gangster. The poverty has definitely gone up, as well. I’ve never seen so many people living on the sidewalks, begging under the streetlights, and the unemployment rate so high for so long. As of 2015, there are 34 million people are unemployed out of the 316,000,000 people; that’s 10.8% of the population. The unemployment rate for blacks in 2014 (11.4 percent) was more than twice that for whites (5.3 percent).
What are some things that could potentially improve this cycle and help youth to get on the right path?
We stand on tall shoulders but what does our youth have to stand on? We’re living off of the grace and hard work of our ancestors, Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X.
Besides President Barrack Obama being the first Black president of the country, what else can our children point to and say, this was done in my parents’ time – in our time?
We, as parents, mentors, and teachers should be raising the bar for our youth. Make them read and study the greatest women and men of history, regardless of their color; you never know where one will find courage to take on the same path. Our youth must know that we believe in them; that’s another reason why I am so excited about our film. They need to understand that we will support their dreams and goals, so that they don’t feel as if they are on an island; this is as tantamount as feeding them dinner.
Kevin is currently filming a documentary named after his book The Courage To Believe: Never Give Up!. He is also working on a new book set to be released March 7th, 2015, 7 Types of Queens Kings Desire.