Today’s Class: September 16, 2016

Today’s class happened because a Hope Life Skills student with a strong, positive brand had the courage to push out of their comfort zone to ask!


Hope Life Skills student, Ariel Hall, introduces herself during the Day 2 luncheon at BIF 12, the international storytelling conference at Providence’s Trinity Theatre, to one of BIF’s most popular speakers, Kalimah Priforce.  Not only did Ariel add Kalimah to her growing network of successful people but she also had the courage to ask him to come to today’s Hope Life Skills class in Room 112 at Hope High School, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Kalimah Priforce grew up in a New York City group home.  At eight years old, he held a successful hunger

strike against his group home in Brooklyn to add more books to its library, which drew the attention of a community of Buddhist monks and nuns who privately tutored him until the age of 14. By 16, Kalimah started his first computer tech company that primarily served low income neighborhoods and the elderly. After his teenage brother was shot and killed behind their childhood elementary school, Kalimah formed a lifelong commitment to transforming the lives of under-served kids towards mindfulness of their path and purpose.

Kalimah Priforce is the co-founder of Qeyno Labs,

an education innovation startup that works with local businesses  to provide technology  education and life skills development to inner city students in impoverished areas of Oakland, California.  Kalimah believes

a person’s future should be influenced not by their zip code but by WHO and WHAT they are exposed to”.

Qeyno Labs is essentially a think tank dedicated to the pursuit of uncovering and developing the untapped genius of young people especially in America’s inner cities.” Kalimah is a 2013 Echoing Green fellow and one of the driving forces behind The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland-based program that trains black male youth in entrepreneurial thinking, software development, and user experience design.


Ariel served as our Life Skills class host today bringing Kalimah into the classroom  and introducing him to her Life Skills classmates.

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Today’s Life Skills host, Ariel Hall, welcomes Ryan Mitchner to the Life Skills class.

Kalimah was joined by

Ryan Mitchner, a Coordinator Counselor at the Community College of Rhode Island.

Both men shared personal stories of success, from initial challenges and doubt through various stages of development and, now, to their evolving mission to discover and fulfill their passions for success.

Both men also explained how the diversity of their personal networks has enriched their lives.

Ryan shared a thought provoking story about his high school enrollment at a private school and how the school’s mostly affluent student body caused him to pause and reflect on what he valued at the time (Dion Sander’s sneakers) and what was really important in his life.


Ryan and Kalimah seated in front of the class sharing their stories and responding to student questions.  In this photo, Ryan shares a childhood fable reinforcing the importance of developing a brand, not of who you are, but rather, who you wish to be!


Kalimah explains the benefits of pushing out of his comfort zone to visit India, Italy and England and how the diversity of each country’s people and culture have shaped his life.

The class ended with our regularly scheduled Life Skills networking session, giving time for students to connect individually with Ryan and Kalimah and hopefully add each man to their network of successful people.


Ryan and Kalimah networking with our Life Skills students.


Kalimah Priforce sharing his personal story on the Trinity Theatre stage at BIF in September of 2016




12 thoughts on “Today’s Class: September 16, 2016

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  2. I loved the stories they both shared because it reveals a lot. It lets us know how other people live. It opens up people’s minds to how life really is and how rough it can be to live in the world we live in. We can think about our future and what opportunities we can take to avoid going through a bad struggle. Not everybody is going to struggle. We know we can do something to avoid the struggle.

  3. I really enjoyed the class. I listened to someone telling a story of a bad childhood and expressing all they difficult things they went through. And, yet, he became a very successful and positive person. This was inspiring.

  4. Friday’s class really made me realize that even if you have a bad or rough start in life, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful in your future. This is why I liked this class a lot.

  5. I was very moved by both of Kalimah’s and Ryan’s story. It just goes to show that “you grow through what you go through”. The experiences both men went through shaped who they are today. Where you are today is not necessarily where you have to stay. This is what I interpreted from their stories.

  6. Interesting class on Friday. I loved the guests that came in thanks to Ariel and Mr. Cronin. Both men had interesting stories and seemed to have had a rough past. I like how neither of them let their circumstances control the way they chose to live. Khalimah’s words were powerful – “a person’s future should be influenced, not by their zip code, but by WHO and WHAT they are exposed to”. I also appreciated the lesson from Ryan’s story about the hunchback. Both men were inspiring and motivated me to try harder in my life and help others around me as much as I can.

  7. I really enjoyed the class. I was glad to have Khalima and Ryan visit our class. I learned from both of them that it’s important to keep moving forward in life and not give up.

  8. I enjoyed this class. I thought that Kalimah’s story about his brother was very inspirational. I felt this way because, although he was going through a hard time, he did something positive about his circumstances and changed his life.

  9. I really enjoyed the class on Friday. It was awesome to have both Ryan and Kalimah come in, talk about what they do and learn a little bit about their background. It was nice that both of them had very different backgrounds. I can relate to one of them. Their story helped me, not only to never give up, but keep on moving until achieving my goal.

  10. I enjoyed this class and liked the fact that Kalimah was there. His story was really interesting and many of us could relate to it. To see someone like Kalimah, who has gone through a lot and still be successful, is really inspiring.

  11. I enjoyed this class and thought that it was well done. I thought that giving the class a chance to interact with the speakers during and after the discussion was a good way to get the students more active and out of their own personal bubble.

  12. I was very glad to see Khalima in our class this Friday and have the privilege to speak with him. I felt this way because I could relate to his story and use it to motivate me. You can become anything you want if you work hard and use your time wisely into something you love.

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