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August 29, 2014, 10:11 pm

Author challenges youth to strive for greatness

No one has the perfect recipe for life. Through the transition of adolescence into young adulthood, many are overwhelmed with pressures, mistakes and even failures.

Philadelphia native Niema Golphin has had her share of pain and vulnerability, tackling tough situations, but she learned to prevail. In her book, “Discovering Your Greatness Now,” Golphin provides recommendations of practical life lessons needed to experience success. 

“[The book] is really about honing in on understanding who you are as a person, understanding what you want to get out of life and really getting past the barrier that’s keeping you from getting to that purpose, to your greatness, to whatever you want to accomplish,” said Golphin.

There are two sides to the book. Side A focuses on internal reflection and side B explains the importance of resume writing, interviewing skills, networking and developing relationships.

Amirh Kadogo Lewis, a counselor at Philadelphia High School for Girls, said many students are flocking to this book as a reference tool.

“This is a great book, which has come into the hands of our young women and their parents as a valuable tool in becoming more educated and focused in making decisions that will impact their future,” Lewis said.

“The book really takes on a whole different approach, the kind of concepts that I’m kind of tapping into, other self-help books for teenagers have not gone into,” Golphin said.

Readers get insight into Golphin’s soul when she recalls the time she witnessed the killing of her mother and learned the power of forgiveness.

“Yes, I’m talking about greatness, but sometimes it starts from a very ugly place,” she said. “I learned becoming a healthy teenager by forgiving.”

Golphin was the first generation of her family who went to college. She ran track and received a bachelor’s degree in physical education at Azusa Pacific University in southern California. She received a master’s degree in organizational leadership and management and is currently working on a Ph.D.

As the founder of the Life Preparatory Skills Program (LPSP), Golphin visits various schools, like Dobbins High School, to help teen girls develop life skills for life after high school. The LPSP program holds a series of workshops: Preparation for College and Alternatives, Financial Planning, Employability Skills, Power of Mentoring and Networking, Physical Wellness and Inner Healing Practices.

With an extensive résumé in educational environments, Golphin said her inspiration for writing the book and mentorship comes from observing teenagers.

“I feel there is a group of children, a generation of teenagers who are super motivated, who are willing to work [and] who just need guidance,” she said. “They need the right information, and they also need to be inspired and supported because they’re doing the right thing.

“I was one of those kids who was on the right track and there were just a lot of mistakes that I made because I didn’t have any guidance. I did my part in getting the good grades so that I could go to college. I had a plan. I knew what I wanted to do, but there were just a lot of mistakes that I made and a lot of life skills that I lacked because I wasn’t prepared, and no one prepared me.”

Since the book’s release six weeks ago, several hundred copies have been sold to teens, parents, educators, and community activists. Readers can go to her personal website, to purchase a copy of the book.

“All of us need to be inspired no matter where we’re at in life. It’s really about understanding the concept that greatness is not just sprinkled on celebrities and rich people. It starts from where you’re at right now and really believing that you can make a difference.”

Along with her efforts to motivate youth, Golphin challenges young professionals to engage with teens and offer an alternative point of view of success.

“I feel a lot of us, young professionals, are looking over them, and they need our help. Our teenagers are admiring and looking up to Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne. They’re at the ground level looking up at these people who are unreachable. [I hope] young professionals would do a little bit more; make themselves visible to help our kids.

“There are other things that our kids should be exposed to. It’s hard to be successful when you’re coming from the dirt. When I say successful, I’m not talking about that star light success. I’m talking about just an average, hard-working person. I feel that person is devalued in the society we live in today.”