As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, we recognize a number of individuals who have had many hardships along their path of life, yet persevered through the difficulties. One of these individuals is James Poindexter, a former NYAP foster child from West Virginia who through determination and resilience, finished on top. His impact on not only those in foster care but also as a role model in the black community has been nothing short of inspiring.
James entered the foster care system at the age of 10 after prior neglect. During his time in foster care, he moved 21 times within the span of five years as he was in search of that ideal match. It wasn’t until he came across NYAP foster parents Robin and Caroline Griffith that he found a loving home. With the help of his new foster parents and dedicated community, James turned his life around. His parents allowed him to enter karate as part of his anger management program and he absolutely excelled. During the next eight years as part of the Fairmont Karate Academy, James would go on to win seven national karate championships, become a member of the U.S. martial arts team, and win the World Martial Arts Championship. He even received a silver medal at the World Cup. Through it all, James never forgot the people that got him to where he was at.
James has now graduated college with two degrees and has his own business training parents, mentoring youth and speaking professionally about overcoming obstacles in life. He has recently published a book for foster and adoptive parents to help them understand young people in pain through the eyes of one who has experienced the journey.
It’s hard to imagine something that James Poindexter hasn’t done. When we at NYAP think of our culture of “Caring for People,” someone like James immediately comes to mind because of the passion he has for helping the lives around him. Like many of us, he could recall a time when he needed the love and support of a family and now as he looks back on his journey, he gives it all back. We are grateful to have gotten the opportunity to help James progress to the person he is today. As we recognize Black History Month, let us take joy in learning more stories like James’ who gives us all inspiration.