Motivational Speaker’s TED Talk – The Power of Tenacity

In motivational speaker Derek Clark’s words, “We have all been engaged in a war with ourselves at one time or another. Now is the time for rethinking our strategies and winning the war once and for all. You must grow beyond your limiting thoughts, and have the courage and conviction to tell yourself I Will Never Give Up!” This inspirational video will detail Derek’s journey through foster care.

To find out more about motivational speaker Derek Clark or to reserve him for your next conference, event or training, please visit

Watch motivational speaker Derek Clark inspire this TED conference.

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As a Child, I Didn’t Ask To Be Abused or Abandoned. I Paid Dearly For My Parents Rage and Mistakes.

Let’s face it, I was a mistake. I was never supposed to be born. I’m sure my mother was frustrated when she accidentally became pregnant by a man who had so many emotional problems, who would rape her, have a history of violence, who was a thief and a convicted felon. Now I understand people can change for the better after making bad choices, but only IF they want to. It appears that my biological father was never going to learn and was doomed to be a loser. My mother had to be frustrated for putting herself in that situation, and was unable to live with the consequences: me. I felt that I was a mistake, and that she was going to make me pay for it every time I behaved badly. I couldn’t believe my own mother would hurt me as badly as she did, or be so vindictive.

I have been haunted by extreme child abuse where I was burned by scalding hot water. This particular abusive moment that happened to me as a child has followed me throughout my life. It has literally haunted me every time I take a shower. Before I get into the shower, I’ll test the water with my hand to make sure it isn’t too hot. Every time I touch the water, it automatically takes me back to the moment when my mother held my little hand under the scalding water. It was uncontrollable. I could not block it out of my mind. I just lived it over and over every day of my life. It was like a broken record, constantly repeating over and over again. I had to make sure the water wasn’t hot. I would look at my left hand and remember the skin burnt off and the pink color that showed beneath. I am grateful that foster care saved my life.

I would also recall this horrific event every time I washed dishes, got into a hot tub, or washed my hands. If the water even had the possibility of being hot, I would recall the awful memory of being burned. I have thought about what my mother did to me every single day of my life, ever since the day it occurred.

I believe this was the greatest obstacle for me to attain complete joy and healing with myself at an early age. This unhappiness followed me everywhere. Anger would flow through my heart, then sadness. Every day I had to relive that experience, and it would put me in a negative frame of mind. If I could not get over it quickly enough, this negativity would color my entire day, affecting others around me.

Watch motivational and inspirational speaker Derek Clark share part of his story regarding child abuse.

As a child and teenager I tried many different forms of therapy. But there is one particular kind of therapy which worked amazingly well in ridding me of the fear of hot water. I highly recommend it to others. It is called EMDR (Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing)


“No one knows how any form of psychotherapy works neurobiologically, or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes ‘frozen in time,’ and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.”


During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session. The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc., and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about the event. The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes or other dual attention simulation of the brain, while the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction or content. Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self.
During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.


Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress. However, clinicians have also reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:
• personality disorders
• panic attacks
• complicated grief
• disassociative disorders
• disturbing memories
• phobias
• pain disorders
• eating disorders
• performance anxiety
• stress reduction
• addictions
• sexual and/or physical abuse
• body dysmorphic disorders

The above information on EMDR was from a pamphlet from the
EMDR Internal Association.

Another unfortunate event happened to me when I was about five years old. I sometimes had a problem wetting my bed, or if I was mad at my parents I would pee on their things. That was my way of telling them I didn’t want to be treated the way they were treating me. If I wet my bed the night before, my stepfather would become very angry with me. So he’d pull me over to the toilet and force my head into the bowl. He would stand over me and push my head down, forcing me to stay there. Now I didn’t ever come close to drowning, but it wasn’t a nice thing to do to another human being. He was treating me like a misbehaving dog or animal. He probably considered me an animal. He did not like me. I was the middle child, putting major pressure and stress on his marriage to my mother. He had his own son, the youngest, and I was now the bad seed. I’m sure he was nice to me in the beginning, at least until he won my Mom over.

Well this one time when he was sticking my head into the toilet, my mother heard the commotion. He was yelling at me about peeing my bed, telling me how angry he was. My Mom told him to stop holding my head down in the toilet. I felt as if I was drowning. There was a huge argument, and in the heat of it all, as he continued to force my head into the toilet, she grabbed my left wrist and yanked my arm back. She yanked it so hard that she ripped by arm from my shoulder and caused severe damage and never took me to the hospital. It was so painful that she made me a sling to hold my arm up and it healed wrong. Years later, I still have pain in my shoulder, and it always rests higher than the other one. Every morning I have to try and force my bad shoulder down and stretch it out so that it’s comfortable throughout the day.

At least after that day, my stepfather stopped putting my head in the toilet.

Abuse is hard to live with, but fortunately I am a fighter. I am a conqueror who has set his mind free. Life isn’t fair. The only thing I can control is my attitude and outlook on it. My philosophy and motto are simple: I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!

To find out more about motivational and inspirational speaker Derek Clark, visit and
Derek Clark knows first hand on coping with adversity and overcoming hardship. His 13 years in the San Francisco bay area foster care system reflected a life of humiliation, aggression, emotional distress and overwhelming anxiety. Having suffered unthinkable child abuse, abandonment, emotional distress and being wrongfully labeled, this has never held Derek back from accomplishing what he set his heart and mind to.

Derek is an inspiring motivational speaker, the Ambassador for the Foster Care Alumni of America and an expert on CNN Headline News and The Ricki Lake Show. He recently delivered powerful keynotes at the World Foster Care Conference (where 30 countries were represented), State Circuit Court Conferences, National Federal Bureau of Prisons Conference and the National Foster Parent Association Conference. He is the author of “Never Limit Your Life” and the “I Will Never Give Up” book series.

As a speaker, author and singer/songwriter, Derek has spoken and performed his music for tens of thousands of people including a former President of the United States. His maxim is to make no excuses. He has turned his situation from a victim to a victor, equipping him with the Wisdom and the Will to never give up.

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Your Past Does Not Make You a Failure. Let Go and Fear Not.

This is your life. Don’t you ever let your past infect your future. You are not your mistakes. There is so much more to you. Face your fears and fight your fears. You have courage, strength, love and determination all within. You were born with it. Don’t you ever give up and tell yourself that you are not worth anything…You Are! The most important opinion you should have…is not what your parents think about you, not what your teacher thinks about you, not what your friends think about you….but What You, Think About You… You are the one who decides your outcome. Lift your head high and rise up to the occasion. It is going to be a crazy ride but in the end it will all be worth it.

“Trials, temptations, disappointments — all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.” – James Buckham

Motivational Speaker Breaks The Chains of the PastWe have to break the chains of the past in order to live an exceptional life full of joy. Believe me, I could have every reason to fear life and the unknown. I could be so scared of what people think about me. You see, my early life story is crazy. At five years old, my mother and stepfather abandoned me to foster care system over and kept his brother and sister. I literally was rejected by my mom and dad. My dad was in prison for the criminally insane so he was not interested in having me be his son.  Psychiatric reports stated that at the age of 5 years old, I had extreme behavioral problems and a fascination with violence, death and sex. Neurological reports stated that at six years old, I had the IQ of a two and a half year old and diagnosed me with so many labels including erratic psychosis. Having also been misdiagnosed mental handicapped and having numerous emotional and language difficulties, I defied the artificial limitations imposed upon me by others and professionals.

I had to learn how to cope with adversity and overcoming hardship. My early years have been colored by extremes of fear, humiliation, aggression, emotional distress and overwhelming anxiety and yet, with the dire circumstances of my life and learning to believe that I could overcome each obstacles and succeed at those endeavors which I have aspired to. Because of my past, everyone would understand if I caved in to fear, choose to not forgive and also come up with every excuse in the book of why my life is not going in a positive direction…but that is not the case today. I did not become an international motivational and inspirational speaker, author of six books, singer/songwriter with music all over iTunes, a husband and a father by feeding my fears and letting my past infect my future. No Way! I knew that at some point I had to let go and accept what happened to me and then focus on the destination of where I want to be…to focus on where I am going to instead of focusing on what I am going through.


What does it mean to be inside a mental mind-box? It’s being mentally trapped on account of not having expanded your independent mind. It’s letting others tell you how to be and act, overpowering you through manipulation and guilt. It’s when fear of failure makes you sweep your ideas, whether brilliant or outlandish, back under the rug. It’s when every time you want to try something new, your mind builds a wall to barricade you in.

There is freedom found in “the box of life,” and it’s a box without walls. Break those chains of the past that are weighing you down. You need to be free. So many people are held back by fear. Fear is nothing more than a thought.
Fear is meant to hold you back. Fear makes us uncomfortable with trying something “outside the box.” We seem to place limitations on ourselves, afraid of both the possible and the impossible. Why is this? In a few words, fear of failure, rejection, and what others might think of us. We need to overcome these mental blocks, busting right through them. As Brendan Francis said, “Many of our fears are tissue paper thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.” Once you develop the habit of overcoming limiting thoughts, you will be on your way to an action-packed life.

I came from a failing background, but once I got past the fear of being a failure as a child, the only way I could go was up. I once heard Dr. Wayne Dyer state “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” How true that is! So what if you have bad habits, lack of drive, or have endured a life of tragedy? We need to think of these situations as teachers that aid us in improving our character. Throughout my life, I’ve taken the opportunity to learn lessons from hard knocks. I wouldn’t be writing this book if I never learned, or wasn’t able to move along in a forward, positive direction. Even when we have every advantage in this life, we often choose not to advance in a positive direction.

If we look at ourselves as action-takers and winners, we will no longer settle for a life filled with the “Poor Me Syndrome.” When we box ourselves in, allow dreams to fade away, or let the world set limits to what we deserve, we become nothing more than robots with no purpose but to breathe in air and do just enough to get by. Most people want to make a difference in both their lives and the lives of other people, but lack a plan of action. Guess what? The plan will not drop onto your lap and say “Here I am!” You have to make the map yourself. It is going to be a crazy maze, but once you have activated your passion, set your purpose, made your goal, then your map and compass will show you true north. The beauty of taking responsibility for the direction of your life is that nobody will ever hold you back again. Today is your day to start a new life. It is all starts with your attitude. Make the best of it, and life will deliver something great to you.

To find out more about motivational and inspirational speaker Derek Clark, visit and

Derek Clark knows first hand on coping with adversity and overcoming hardship. His 13 years in the San Francisco bay area foster care system reflected a life of humiliation, aggression, emotional distress and overwhelming anxiety. Having suffered unthinkable child abuse, abandonment, emotional distress and being wrongfully labeled, this has never held Derek back from accomplishing what he set his heart and mind to.

Derek is an inspiring motivational speaker, the Ambassador for the Foster Care Alumni of America and an expert on CNN Headline News and The Ricki Lake Show. He recently delivered powerful keynotes at the World Foster Care Conference (where 30 countries were represented), State Circuit Court Conferences, National Federal Bureau of Prisons Conference and the National Foster Parent Association Conference. He is the author of “Never Limit Your Life” and the “I Will Never Give Up” book series

As a speaker, author and singer/songwriter, Derek has spoken and performed his music for tens of thousands of people including a former President of the United States. His maxim is to make no excuses. He has turned his situation from a victim to a victor, equipping him with the Wisdom and the Will to never give up.

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Foster Care Prepared Me To Fight For My Life and Future-Motivational Speaker Derek Clark

From the outside, Derek Clark’s life looks perfect — a successful motivational and inspirational speaker with a dedicated wife, four children and so much more. But what hides behind the success and perfect facade, are scars that mark his body and a harsh past of abuse, neglect, hurt and despair. Clark’s journey has been fraught with difficulty and challenges, but the message he shares with others is filled with hope and inspiration. Experiencing abuse even before he was born when his father physically abused his mother during her pregnancy, Clark first suffered abuse from his father, then his mother. Though the abuse ranged from emotional to physical to verbal, one particular incident stands out in Clark’s mind when his mother burned and scarred his hand by holding it under hot water. “She burned it into my heart and soul that I was a bad kid,” Clark said.

That abuse came at a price for Clark. Kicked out of kindergarten, Clark entered the foster care system at age 5 when he was admitted by his family to a psychiatric unit at a California hospital.

“I had major behavioral problems,” Clark said. “I was a tough little kid, but I was scared.” There, Clark would be abandoned by his family and receive numerous labels, including mentally retarded. Clark bounced through a few foster homes before finally landing in a temporary placement with a foster family living on a small farm. The first trial week in the home turned into a life changing experience for Clark, who was enamored by the animals. What that family provided for Clark was stability, love and
the consistency he needed to begin pulling out of the dark predicament created by his early childhood. Even though his foster parents, both teachers stuck by him, Clark continued to be a difficult child.

“I was the terror of this little farm neighborhood,” Clark said. Clark frequently beat up other children and continued to struggle in school. But what his family showed him was the determination to stick by him, offering him tough love. After harming another neighborhood child, Clark’s foster dad gave him a new task: shoveling manure. “If he’s going to shovel out crap to people, we’re going to make him shovel it,” Clark said he remembers his father saying. Clark credits that dirty, distasteful job with teaching
him a solid work ethic as well as an outlet to release his anger.

Though his anger continued to overwhelm him and the only way he could release it was through fighting, he also began rapping to express himself. It was during this time that Clark, who was a teenager now, also experienced a series of devastating losses. First, he attempted to contact his biological older sister who he learned was married and had two kids. But, after exchanging letters, Clark never heard from her again. Months later, he found out she had been murdered on Mother’s Day. “I was completely devastated,” Clark said. And just a few months later Clark’s foster brother mentor was killed in an accident, directly followed by the death of another close friend.

“I was mad and upset at God and my foster parents and the world,” Clark said. “I was so angry. It became a very violent episode and I was expelled as a senior.” Coinciding with all of those difficulties was his upcoming emancipation from foster care. But a three-day course on anger began to turn the tide for Clark. During the course, Clark was encouraged to display his anger and was antagonized by the counselors to the point of exploding. But at that point, the counselors shifted gears and began complimenting Clark instead. “They go . . . ‘no, no, Derek, we believe in you. You’re a great person, Do you know how great you are?” Clark said. Hearing those words, Clark was finally able to recognize his value as a person and release some of the anger he felt in being abandoned by his biological family and the hurt and loss he felt over the deaths of some of the most important people in his life. “My life transformed in those three days,” Clark said.

Those three days also created in him a drive to overcome and grow as a person. First, he was reinstated to high school and worked diligently to graduate with his classmates. After graduating, his foster parents allowed him to stay on as he attempted to launch a career rapping. With the stage name, Diamond D, Clark was on the cusp of obtaining a record contract when Vanilla Ice entered the rap scene and Clark’s dreams of becoming the first white rapper were dashed.

For the next few years, Clark worked menial jobs and stayed with his foster family trying to find his place in the world. “I didn’t know where I was going to go,” Clark said. “I was very fortunate that they kept me and I have a very deep appreciation for them now.”

Then, at age 23, Clark met a woman who would change his life. Previously, Clark had been in a series of relationships, but always had a difficult time settling down with one person. “I had a major trust issue with girls because of my mom,” Clark said. But Joy was different. She offered unconditional, trusting love. In the years since, Clark has become a husband to Joy and father of four, as well as a successful real estate broker. But still his childhood has haunted him. “This little foster kid keeps coming out in me,” Clark said.

With the help of marriage counseling, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, an eight phase information processing therapy, and some deep soul searching, Clark has come out on the other side with a positive, refreshed attitude. While not completely free from the demons of his childhood, Clark has faced each one head on and now considers himself a fortunate survivor of his experiences.

“I finally detached myself from the pain of my life,” Clark said. And on the other side, Clark has continued his journey trying to help others. In 2006, he produced the song “Goodnight Soldier” in honor of those serving in Iraq. That song presented him with a new level of success with national attention that he decided needed to be used to benefit others.

Since then, he has written several books, produced many songs that verbalize his foster care journey and speaks nationally about his experiences. “[Writing a book] was a huge healing process for me,” Clark said. Directly following the self publishing of his book, “I Will Never Give Up,” Clark closed his real estate business and took on a new mission. First, he began focusing more on his children and his family life. “I had to start working on a relationship with my kids,” Clark said. “I was still progressing and growing. The purpose of your life is to help others. I’m going to give back what I never had.”

On this journey, Clark has discovered himself, God and a new emphasis on life. Today, he travels internationally telling his story, mostly to child welfare workers, foster parents and youth in foster care. His message to them is simple: “If I can do it, you can do it.”

Today, he recognizes the importance of his foster parents and others who stuck by him
when he was at his worst. “They’re my mom and dad. I put them through hell, but they never gave up on me,” Clark said. “If it wasn’t for my foster parents never changing the lock on their front door I would not be who I am today.”

The labels and misdiagnosis have never held Clark back from accomplishing what he set his heart and mind to. Clark is the author of his critically acclaimed book “I Will Never Give Up,” “I Will Never Give Up For The Teenager” and “I Will Never Give Up On God Again,” “Never Limit Your Life”, “Tru Lockhart” and “Who Am I and Where Do I Belong? an inspiring motivational speaker, a business man and a dad.

Clark has spoken and performed his music to thousands of people, including the President of the Unites States of America. His music is featured on iTunes and his book are featured on Barnes and and Amazon. He has experienced the life of fear, rejection, wrongly labeled and being unloved. He has turned his situation from a victim to a victor, equipping him with the wisdom and the will to never give up. He unleashes his creative and fun-loving personality in a never-ending effort to ignite passion in others
and instill the courage to take action. His maxim is to make no excuses and become what you want to become.

To learn more about motivational and inspirational speaker and foster care expert Derek Clark, visit and He has a great message of hope, perseverance, courage, resilience and redemption.

Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel from Foster Families Today

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Youth Motivational Speaker Derek Clark Helps Youth Believe In Their Greatness

Youth motivational speaker Derek Clark shares some of his success tips on how he overcame the odds as an at-risk teenager in foster care.

As a teenager in foster care and feeling like a reject, my identity must have been one of the toughest things to find. Think about this for a second – do you know who you are? Besides just being a body going through life, surviving, really think about it for a minute. When nobody else is around, and you look at yourself in the mirror, do you really know who it is looking back at you? What makes you unique? Your parents, teachers, friends and everybody else might have formed an identity for you, or given you a label – but is it really accurate? When all the noise in your head is gone, who are you? Or even better, Who do you want to be?

As a teenager in foster care, I was fearless, a bit crazy, funny and had  ruthless anger issues. There were many times where I would unleash my rage and became out of control. I was an angry foster youth. My foster parents, teachers, church leaders and boy scout leaders all witnessed my rage.  Who would have ever thought that I would eventually grow up to become an international motivational speaker, author of six books, father of four children and still rap? LOL   In high school, my identity was a fighter, a skater, a rapper, and a class clown. But I totally wished that my identity was a lady’s man, a massive chick-magnet! Even though I had girlfriends, I wanted more, more, more! I wanted the world to love me. I yearned for love and affection. If I wasn’t getting any, I would find another way to get some. Generally, that meant doing a bunch of bad stuff from vandalism, fighting and goofing off to get the wrong kind of attention.

Instead, I could have first given love, and been the example of what I needed back. I didn’t do that. I was into keeping my walls up, making everyone else prove their loyalty to me before I would let them in. Sometimes you just have to let the walls you’ve built around yourself fall down. Let people in, and let them take a look around to see if they like what they see! If they don’t, no biggie, just move on. Someone will eventually like what they see. In the meantime, you are evolving and forcing yourself to grow every time you get to know someone and let them get to know you.

I want you to know right now, that whatever identity you’ve been labeled with doesn’t have to be correct. Even if you have accepted other people’s labels, or have given yourself a negative one, it is now time to change it. I am a firm believer in changing your identity status and making your heart tell your body what you want to be. So what if you have made mistakes and your identity is all rolled up and confused with those mistakes? Change is always good if they are positive changes.

For example, let’s say you’ve used drugs and alcohol. Your friends and family might say that you’re a druggie, a dope head, user or an addict, but I am here to tell you that it doesn’t matter if you’ve made some poor choices! Your past mistakes don’t have to define who you are now, or who you’ll be tomorrow. The past does not have to equal the future. Give yourself permission to have a great future. Don’t fall into the trap that you are a nothing because of the mistakes that you have made. How can you start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. You are not your past mistakes. You are not a worthless person with no value! You are not a loser! You are special. You can change your life at a moments notice…all it takes is being committed to making the right choice.

When you look in the mirror, do you pick yourself apart? Point out all the flaws, zits, and scars? Do you focus on how big your nose is, or how big your ears are? Or focus on if you are overweight or too skinny? Maybe you don’t like the color of your eyes or your hair. This could be a huge problem! We all have things about ourselves we’d like to change. But picking yourself apart brings negative energy into your heart and mind. Soon, you start to identify with the negative, with what you don’t like about yourself. Don’t let your inner weakness destroy the greatness within you.

Imagine if you looked in the mirror and said to yourself, “You know what?

I ROCK! I am beautiful and I like myself and I look great!” If you were to totally focus on the things that you like about yourself, like your looks, talents, generosity, niceness, selflessness and willing to help others, you attract even greater and more positive things to yourself. Positivity breeds positive outcomes, and negativity breeds the negative. How can you ever expect to live a positive life when you’re always thinking negatively about yourself? You cannot possibly speak and think negatively and attract positivity. Focus on your great points!

It all starts with what is inside your heart. Make your identity work in tune with your behavior. It is now time to see yourself in a more positive manner, one that correlates more closely with the vision of yourself that you hold in your heart. Changing your identity on the fly all the time doesn’t really do anything. You need something deeper and more lasting. You need to change your beliefs before you change your outward appearance.

Let’s say that one day you are a rocker, then the next day you’re a rapper, and the next you’re a cowboy, but secretly you’ve always been a Mozart concerto  admirer. You are leading a double-life to fit in with others. My advice is to be true to yourself and your own passions. It’s alright to try new things, but if you want to make new things a part of your identity, do it in a way that you still remain true to yourself. That means when the lights go out and it’s just You, having a conversation with You, You aren’t going to try and lie to yourself right? You may be able to fool the world, but in the end you can’t fool yourself.

I have come to realize that life is most rewarding when you’re moving forward instead of backwards. You may have taken on some of these identities and felt like you had to live with them, but you don’t. In a second, you can change your outlook on life and change who you are. The thing is, you have to make a change first in your heart and then don’t forget to tell your face about it, so that it mirrors the attitude of your heart.

Reserve youth motivational speaker Derek Clark now and have him deliver a powerful message of hope, determination and courage at your next youth conference, high school assembly or youth leadership conference. Find out more at

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First Nations Child Welfare Conference in Canada Rocked!

I recently delivered a powerful, motivating, inspiring, educational and enthusiastic keynote and training for a fantastic First Nations Caregivers/Foster Parents Conference in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, Canada. I had a fantastic time and felt so connected to my First Nations brothers and sisters. I have endless passion as I share a message of hope, strength and faith to bring awareness and positive change so that the cycles of abuse, suicide, child abandonment, violence and poverty will eventually diminish. Some of the great break out sessions were about spirituality and personal development, holistic parenting, why are we foster parents and caregivers, energy healing, wellness and self care for the foster family, grieving process in the foster care system and never give up for the foster parent. I had the most wonderful time and they were so accepting and connected to my message of H.O.P.E. (Helping One Person Everyday)

I recently had one of the greatest moments in my life when I was honored by Felix, a First Nations Ojibway. After I had delivered my keynote address, he was so inspired and offered me a ceremonial drum in front of the conference audience. Felix did not hold back his emotions and wisdom. I have so much respect for him. He felt the spirit had led him to speak. As he gave me this special ceremonial drum, he said to me “The spirit will never lie to you. The spirit will always reveal itself to you. This drum has the spirit. It is the heartbeat of the people. The pounding of the drum gathers others through our heart. Be one with the drum.” This hand drum has been used for social and ceremonial events. The drum was passed down by a member of the Cree tribe in British Columbia, Canada. This drum is made of deer hide. The deer teaches us to love. The wood in the drum represents the tree. The tree is rooted in the community meaning to be honest and come together with love and honesty. The handle of the drum represents the medicine wheel. Felix gave me braided sweet grass. When lit, the smoke purifies our spirit to speak clearly, see clearly and hear clearly. Sweet grass is used for blessing and considered sacred.


Find out more about Motivational Speaker and former foster child Derek Clark at and

Here are some of the great First Nations Agencies that were represented at the conference where I delivered my inspiring keynote speech:

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada Agency Chiefs Child and Family Services

Ahtahkakoop Child and Family Services

Qu’Appelle Child and Family Services

STC Health and Family Services

Sturgeon Lake Child and Family Services

Touchwood Child and Family Services

Wahkotowin Child and Family Services

Yorkton Tribal Council Child and Family Services

Carrier Sekani Child and Family Services

Athabasca Denesuline Child and Family Services

Battleford Tribal Council Human Services

Kanaweyimik Child and Family Services

Lac La Ronge Indian Band Child and Family Services Agency

Meadow Lake Tribal Council Health and Social Development Authority

Montreal Lake Child and Family Agency

Nicapanak Centre Child and Family Services

Onion Lake Family Services

Peter Ballantyne Child and Family Services

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Finding Hope, Joy and Success. No More Excuses!

Finding Hope, Joy and Success. No More Excuses! By Derek Clark, Motivational Speaker and Trainer

Today is a brand new day. Every day you wake up is like a fresh white canvas ready to be painted upon. How have you painted the pictures of all your yesterdays? And how are you going to paint all your tomorrows? A good indication is how you paint your todays.

I have found that being grateful for the air I breathe allows me to put my life in perspective. It inspires me to get the most out of every day. As far as I know, I have one life to live. I intend to live it. Time and time again, I have seen people who have died long before they’re actually dead and in the grave. They are living miserable lives, but why? Because they hold onto something—some pain, some insecurity, some fear or some hatred—that will not allow them to live their life to the fullest. It’s like they are dead, yet living, a zombie.

I believe there is a reason why they are not living life to their fullest potential. There is even a word for it: pity. Or better yet, living a pitiful life, a life full of excuses. These people think, “Oh I can’t do that, I am not good enough, I am a loser, it will never work for me, etc….” They adopt this way of thinking, and it literally controls them, warping every aspect of their life. They become limited instead of limitless.


Don’t ever let an excuse steal victory from out of your hands. Attachment to your problems steals far more from your life than you might imagine. Instead of being attached to your problems, why not strive to nurture an attachment to your dreams? A human being only has so much energy, a limited amount. Where we direct our mental and emotional resources directly impacts our lives.  Dwelling on problems and making excuses only brings despair, depression and exhaustion. Dreams bring hope and energy. Having dreams to strive for will literally change your entire life. Excuses do nothing but steal from your greatness. Look around you; the world is full of excuses.

Most of the excuses I hear have to do with FEAR. Did you know that becoming a champion at something starts in the mind, in your own thoughts?  A champion’s mentality starts with an inner belief that he or she can be better than the best, by being faster, smarter and stronger. They are determined. They believe it, speak it, practice it, and live it. In this life, everyone is born with the potential to be a champion. But somewhere along the way, people allow others to break down their dreams. They allow others to destroy their belief in themselves.  These negative people try to replace others God-given gifts, talents and abilities with fear, a sense of defeat, laziness, and feelings of worthlessness. What these negative people don’t understand is that the gifts of the soul can never be taken away. They can be wasted, but the soul is resilient and will bounce back. If you are in tune with your own spirit and soul, you will be able to bounce back, and your inner greatness will always overcome your weakness. Your difficulties were not meant to defeat you.

Everyone has a destiny, but you must be ready to work hard to achieve it. The level and intensity of your destiny is determined by the level and intensity of your own desire. Some work hard to build theirs; others destroy their own destiny through laziness. Your destiny will be a direct reflection of your efforts. I don’t believe your destiny will simply come to you. You have to exercise will, you have to go out and get it. You have the tools within you to have a purpose and persevere until you reach it.

Never Give Up!

Find out more about Derek Clark at and

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Find a Powerful Purpose For Your Life. Derek Clark Motivational Speaker

Inspirational and Motivational Speaker Derek Clark

Motivational and Inspirational Speaker Derek Clark

Meet Derek Clark, a motivational and inspirational speaker for foster care, child welfare and at-risk youth, as well as companies, colleges and conferences around the world. He delivers a powerful keynote on the power within you. You have what it takes to live a great life. Everything is within you, the courage, determination, faith, forgiveness, love, patience and perseverance. You can succeed and have victory in your life. You have the power to create your destiny and share hope and greatness with this world. It begins with finding the selfless person within, not the selfish one.

Motivational speaker and trainer Derek Clark believes that fear changes our perception and attitude in life. Fear invokes self pity. Derek helps the audience modify their limited perspective and helps them change their focus to see, feel and hear hope. We need to face the fear and destroy the limitations that we put on ourselves. We cannot be afraid of the impossible and possible.

Derek helps the audience bust through the walls of self pity and shares with you an empowering way to live and love life. Derek states, “Negative thoughts fuel a negative life. Self pity steals your joy, enthusiasm and your dreams. Your thoughts will determine your life. What kind of thoughts are you allowing to take root in your mind? You cannot possibly think negative and discouraging thoughts and expect to live a positive and rewarding life. You have a choice. This life is up to you.”

– Find Out How To Live a Life With No Excuses.

– Find a Purpose to Empower Your Life.

– Have The Will To Break Through Your Self Perceived Limits.

– Build Self Esteem and Confidence That You Can Overcome Tough Obstacles.

Reserve Motivational Speaker, Foster Care Speaker and Child Welfare Advocate Derek Clark For Your Next Training or Conference.

To Find Out More, Visit

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Foster Parent? Foster Care Speaker Will Inspire You To Believe!


Foster Care Speaker and Child Welfare Advocate Derek Clark

Motivational Foster Care Speaker Derek Clark

If You Will Believe, They Will Believe. A Child Who Has Hope Will Have the Belief That They Can Achieve

When motivational speaker, foster care speaker and child welfare advocate Derek Clark speaks, it is directly from his passionate soul. Derek’s exceptional program is full of information, hope and inspiration. He brings along his guitar to sing the journals of his life in foster care. He believes that music is one of the purest ways to touch and communicate with the hearts of the audience. He speaks on the subject matter, “You cannot think negative thoughts about a child and then expect them to live a positive life.” He teaches you how to commit and build upon your strengths when encouraging children and youth to have hope. He shares with you how to overcome negative thinking and labels towards a specific child or lost and troubled youth. He empowers you to feel, see and know that you can make a difference. Derek is proof that someone believed in him.

Based on Derek’s personal experience of spending 13 years in foster care, he presents startling facts about growing up as a foster child and how he had to overcome to many violent, emotional and mental issues. Derek shares with you how he made it out alive as a troubled at risk teenager and how he triumphed in his personal life. Derek takes you down his personal road of lessons that he has learned of hate, anger, mistrust in adults and foster parents, violent tendencies, rejection, lack of love, child abuse and the memories that haunted his life.  Derek Clark has successfully thrived because of his trials of pain. He has turned his disadvantages in advantages.

Motivational speaker and foster care expert Derek Clark teaches you how he learned to trust, love, have hope and view his life in a positive and productive way. He knows that through foster parents, social workers, teachers, mentors, peer support counselors, youth leaders and youth development staff, they do make a big difference. It is all about connection and alliance. When you change the way you look at a child or teenager, there life will take wings and fly because you believed in them.

Here are a few of Derek Clark’s topics that will motivate, inspire and share a message of hope.

–         You Cannot Think Negative About a Child and Expect a Positive Outcome

–         How To Build Trust When They Won’t Trust

–         How To Inspire Youth To Overcome The Pain of Their Past and To Not Let It Limit Their Future

–         Why a Child or a Troubled Youth Needs You To Believe In Them

–         Create Team Building Through Accepting and Appreciating Each Others Differences and Strengths

–         How To Find The Worth of a Child’s Soul and Help Them Discover The Leader Within

–         The Critical Needs of Children: To Feel Respected, To Feel Important, To Feel Accepted, To Feel Included, To Feel Secure, To Feel Love.

Reserve Motivational Speaker, Foster Care Speaker and Child Welfare Advocate Derek Clark For Your Next Training or Conference.

To Find Out More, Visit

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Overcome Excuses and Forgive! Motivational Speaker and Foster Care Expert Derek Clark Inspires.

Foster Care Expert and Motivational Speaker Derek Clark

Foster Care Expert and Motivational Speaker Derek Clark

Derek Clark, an inspiring motivational speaker and a foster care expert has inspired thousands to never limit their lives and to never give up on their hopes and aspirations.

Derek states: “I had the greatest time delivering keynotes at the International Foster Care Organization’s World Conference and the National Foster Parent Conference! I spoke to lots of awesome child welfare workers and loving foster parents and it made me think of my life as a foster child. Here are some thoughts from my great cranium! LOL

To all the Foster Children, Former Fosters and every child suffering: TAKE A DEEP BREATH!  This suffering is only one small part of your big, adventurous life.  Don’t let it consume your entire existence, and don’t use it as an excuse for your downfalls.  I know you may feel lost because nobody really wants to call you their own, but you have the power to take decisive actions and break the cycle of self-doubt.  One day you will have the power to do right by creating a family of your own. That’s what life is really about! You will make it if you surround yourself with good friends who make good choices and set good examples for you.

Your circumstances are not your fault. We are paying the price for our parents mistakes.  For many years I thought I was to blame for my parents giving me up.  Later in life I realized it wasn’t my fault. I WAS ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD! I was the kid and they were the adults.  Don’t let your emotions poison you.  Don’t be a nothing, be everything you want to be, and keep dreaming. Never let anybody tell you that you can’t do something.  Don’t ever let anyone take your dreams away from you.  Don’t ever be a slave to drugs or alcohol; otherwise you are just another casualty. Use your experiences; they will make you mentally stronger than the average kid. Believe in yourself, bulletproof your soul.

At times loneliness is a virtue, it allows you to discover yourself.  Don’t ever, ever, hold back crying. It cleanses your soul. Don’t forget to laugh. When I was going through rough times, the best medicine was laughter. I’ve always liked being the clown.

Don’t hate, that is the real poison.  Learn to forgive. Secretly, I nurtured a lot of poisonous feelings throughout my life.  These intense feelings were the fire that drove my desire to prove to the world that I wasn’t “a nobody.”  I think sometimes I tortured my own soul and liked it.  If there is one thing I have learned, it is this: What has happened to me is not as important as what has happened to me on the inside….. If I Can Fly, You Can Fly.  Let your spirit fly so that you may one day help another person!  Never Give Up!!! ”

Never Give Up!

Derek Clark

Motivational Speaker, Foster Care Expert,  Author and Singer/Songwriter

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