His start in life was inauspicious. As the child of an alcoholic mother and non-present father, at 9 years old, he relinquished his parents’ rights and entered the Russian orphanage. At 12 years old, he decided to be adopted into a new family, in a new country, halfway across the world, to start a new life. It 24 years old, he began his journey of helping others live the life they have always dreamed of, despite their hardships and misfortunes by allowing them to recognize the uniqueness and worth within their own story.
Please welcome Oleg Lougheed.
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
What’s up with DamonBurton and learning from others today. Joining us is all Oleg Lougheed heat founder of overcoming odds organization that is focused on elevating the voices of individuals. Well overcome unique life circumstances. What’s up all. Thanks for jumping on. Absolutely. Thank you for having me on your show.
I I’m really interested in, um, having you on the show because as we were talking before we hit record, um, we’ve been kinda making a, uh, a shift in the show and, and wanting to get into these more vulnerable topics. And you’ve got a great story. So I’m excited for you to, to share some of that with our audience.
Why don’t you tell us, tell the audience, uh, the crash course on who you are and why we want to listen to all that story. Absolutely. Well, first of all, like I said, I appreciate you. Haven’t been on your show and my story begins in a relatively small town in Russia, Chewbacca, Cooley, and this, for those of you that I speak Russian, this is my, one of my only chances to practice the language
So I’m going every chance that I can. And I was born to a, the relatively normal, I guess you could say, uh, style as far as I had a family to begin with. Uh, my, my father was not in the picture from his early his birth and at about three to four years old, maybe a little bit older, everything had changed.
And so what I mean by everything is literally everything within my. Family style had shifted. And that is my mom became an alcoholic. My sister was all of a sudden in a position where she had to become my legal guardian. So as part of that, there were a lot of transitions that I had to put myself through as far as really trying to identify well, if this is the family that you are going to have to live with for however long, because you’re not really able to tell how long that that transition is going to take, how do you make this work?
How do you go between the household of your sister and the places that your mom was living at? And so, as a, as a young boy, one of the biggest things that I was craving for was that connection to my mom. And because of that change, one of the things that ended up happening was my sister actually ended up resenting my mom.
For quite some time because of a conversation that they had. And that was my mom coming to my sister. And she said, this child is for you. And she essentially gave up her custody of me to my sister who was 18, 18 years older at the time. And so it was very challenging for her, I think, to be able to accept the role of a parent when she wasn’t planning to become one, in addition, Except in the role of a parent to her brother.
So I’m still curious to know how that relationship developed and changed for her, because as you can imagine, if you have any siblings and for those that are listening, I would think that it’s a slightly different road map that you would have to develop for yourself from having a relationship to a brother or a sister, to all of a sudden you are.
The role of a parent to them. So the mentorship and the skills that you are trying to pass on to them would be very different from those of a sibling. And so I ended up going through that journey until I was about nine years old and at nine years old, I had. Somehow found of this system called an orphanage.
I don’t know how exactly I heard about it. I just remember hearing stories of this place, where you are provided a roof over your head, where you are given food, you have friends to play with. And so it was all the things that I imagined and wanted to have at that particular time. And so as a nine year old kid, I decided to relinquish my parents’ rights.
Well, I’ll go to an orphanage and to the state people ask me, how did you make that decision? And I say, I don’t have an exact answer to that, but based on what I can understand about myself to the person that I have become to date is that I believed in what was possible. And that’s what carried me through is just believing in the possibility of a better life, better day, better situation.
So I ended up going with that particular decision from nine and lived in that system until I was 12 years old. To be honest with you, I’ve, I’ve seen everything when it comes to the orphanage life. I’ve seen the stories. Yeah. You are in the moments and witnessing. Physical and verbal abuse, but I’ve also seen the stories of opportunities that were given to us.
And so one of those opportunities that was given to me was when I was in the, it was during the first year of living there, I ended up joining. Um, music lessons. So all of us orphans were required to take part in some sort of music, whether it singing, dancing, playing the piano. And somehow I had naturally gravitated towards folks in it.
Now I can’t tell you why. I have no one in my family that did such a thing. And so at first it was a little bit strange as a nine year old kids who go into this field. But for some reason, just something within me kept telling me that this was it. This is what’s going to get you out. So I, I went out and I did everything that I could, I never skipped a lesson.
Yeah, I practice as hard as I could. And I believed in myself and I believed in the music teacher that was helping me along the way. And then ultimately in 2004, two years later, we had received what I believe to be is an opportunity to have a lifetime. And that was to come to United States and perform in some of the local churches around the country.
In front of groups of parents who are looking to adopt kids from Russia. Well, now there’s a slight challenge to that. And that was when I came here, I spoke zero words of English. I knew nothing about this part of the world. And as part of that, I also didn’t fully understand at the time of how intense the situation really was intense.
In what way? Well, what I ended up learning was after the two weeks that we stayed here in us and we ended up going back to Russia, what really clicked for me was this was in a way a tryout. And the question that kept popping up in my head was, I didn’t know whether or not I performed well. Because I wasn’t able to understand the environment that I was in.
I was able to process it knowing my native tongue, but I couldn’t really understand how other people were interacting or saying around us. Did they really want us, did I find that one family? And so as part of that, you know, I had some contact with the family that is my family now, and a little bit before that as well before that trip.
And so I was able to, in a way, redefine that reassurance, that they did want me, that they did love me. And that they still want me to be a part of their family and they’re going to do whatever it takes to get me to the state. And so I was very fortunate to have that support group from the beginning, which ultimately ended up leading us to 2005.
It’s 12 years old, October 5th, 2005. I believe to be exact was the day when I was finally adopted from the town and brought to Ann Arbor, Michigan and ended up starting my life. And so long story short, what all of those experiences in that journey led me to believe was that when I came to the States and I started from scratch, literally started from learning the English alphabet.
One of those alphabets where you pick up the letter and say a Apple, B banana, and you do that thousands and thousands of times, until you can recall the letters, then you move on to the words. Then you will move on to formulate sentences. But it was really through that journey that I’ve been able to also develop a lot of skills that I rely to fundamentally from day to day.
The drive, the persistence they’re never giving up. And so what I learned over time was that there were so many other people of similar experiences who are adopted internationally, domestically foster youth refugees, immigrants who have gone through similar journeys that are looking for similar things that I was, and still am
Not as a place to belong and an opportunity to connect with someone of a similar experience. And that’s what led me to really create a lot of the work that we have through this organization called overcoming odds is to really just be a platform for other people to share their stories and experiences, and to be able to embrace the challenges that they have overcome.
Because if there’s anything that I firmly believe that. In life is that life is all about challenges and it’s all about choices. And what I mean by that is how you look at the challenge in front of you is going to define the type of challenge it is. So if you let the challenge defeat you for the fact that it is extremely difficult or impossible to overcome, You will never overcome that challenge.
But if you look at that challenge as an opportunity to grow, to learn more about yourself, to learn more about your story and other themes and selves that you haven’t met before then in is only going to help you. Move from this particular stage to the other. So I have a lot of questions, um, before, before I dive into the questions.
So I want to give you the opportunity to, to elaborate a little more on overcoming odds. So you mentioned it’s a platform help us better understand. How people use that platform. I used that platform in a couple of ways. So initially it started as a place for those who are adopted Erin and in foster care to share their stories.
What it has become since is not only an online space where one can share their individual story, but we’ve also started to host in person events that focused on different themes of your story. For example, some of the events that we have coming up here within the next couple of months in New York city, Washington, D C and San Diego are turning your pain into a powerful message, the courage to be you and flourishing beyond your circumstances.
So as part of each event, one of the things that we’ve created is not only a safe space for you to share your story and the things that you’re going through amongst other people within attendance, but also a chance for you to hear from speakers who have gone through those experiences firsthand. I’ve gone through hundreds and hundreds of events and conferences
And one of the things that I’ve noticed is that it’s great to be able to be part of an experience where you can hear a person’s story and be fully engaged with what they’re presenting to you, but it’s a whole other ball game to be able to discuss. Those soundbites and segments that are presented to you with those that are surrounding you and really be real about what’s going on.
If you’re experiencing financial problem while then discuss it, what’s going on. Because what I’ve learned is that one of the ways that I’ve been able to solve some of the problems that I’ve had in my life is by. Really inviting other peoples into my life. And the more people I invite into my life, the more I’m able to recognize the fact that I already have the answers.
It’s just that sometimes we don’t know what question to ask to get that answer. And so when you invite others in and you give them an opportunity to simply ask you questions, that’s where I think you’re able to learn more about the different aspects of yourself. And so that’s really what it boils down to as far as the work that we do is really creating this space online and in person where people can be themselves and can share some of the more vulnerable parts of who they are.
And as part of that, I think that’s when you really step into the, the best possible version of who you are and who you can be most importantly, Yeah. All right. Okay. Question tag. All right. So, um, w when you first started giving us your story, you use the word normal. So, you know, it was a normal family.
What is that a normal family from your perspective now? Or was that a normal family from your perspective back then? That’s a really good question. And the way that I would answer that is I would say it was a normal family from the perspective that I have now and more. So what I mean by that is a normal family based on how we as society.
At least a good portion of us define what it means to have a normal, normal family. And that is a set of parents, a support system, where you are supported when it comes to your dreams, aspirations, whatever else it may be. You have food, you have a roof over your head. But what I’ve really learned throughout this experience is at the end of the day, you get to define what your family is.
And who’s a part of that. And so the fact that I was adopted has actually opened up my eyes even more. Into learning. What does it mean to have a family? Can you best friend be part of your family and if so, well, what role do they play? Cause what I’ve learned is just because you have had certain things defined for you.
Such as your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother. That doesn’t mean that they are in a position to provide some of those experiences that we think of. When we think of a dad or a mom or a brother or sister, your best friend might be able to serve the role of a brother. That your brother’s not able to do.
And vice versa, your brother might be able to provide things that you’re best friends able to provide. So really what all this led me to believe was that at the time the normal family, what it was, it was just a household. There was a roof over my head. There’s food on the table. And he was having a mom that loved me, that supported me a sister that I could rely on.
And then when, when those things have shifted, that’s when my definition of family really expanded and changed. Ultimately, do you think your sister saw what was about to happen coming or do you think it was just a much, a as much of a surprise. For her to have your mom pass you to your sister.
I actually would love to ask that question to her. So I’m going to write that down as we speak, but I would, I would like to think that there was definitely some. Understanding of what might happen. And I would think that she understood yeah. That possible. Life changed. That was going to take place for her, especially, and I can only imagine yeah.
The sacrifices that she had to make at that particular time, because she was only mid twenties when this happened. And so, I don’t know if she really even had an intention to have a child of her own at that particular age, or if it was way later, later on in life. In addition to that, what did that mean for her?
What does it really mean to have to want to have a child? What do you want that child to become? And so the fact that I truly wasn’t her own child, I don’t know how she viewed that. I, I’m not sure how she looked at me as far as well, here is my brother that I’m supposed to take care of, but what do I, what can I teach him?
Who can he become? How do I mentor this person? Because he knows me as his sister. So how much room is he going to allow within himself for me to come in and share the tips and the knowledge and everything that I’ve learned so he can become the best possible version of himself? I think that’s one of the key things that we.
That I’ve experienced through parenting. And I was having this conversation with a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago. And we were talking about how, when you were younger and you were given all this wisdom from your parents, never say never. One of the things that my dad has passed on to me is number, say count as, and you can’t do something in life.
And when I was younger, I would take those things for granted. And I think one of those, one of the reasons why is because a, I saw him every day, And B, I didn’t really have a real life circumstance where I can apply those messages to, at that particular time. And so it was later on in life, eight to 10 years later, where I looked back at that experience and I said, wow, that is a true cornerstone or me is the ability to never say you can’t do something.
And so I think with my sister, he might’ve been similar to fins. She might’ve been passing on messages to me, but I think a part of me was taking them for granted because I felt so comfortable with who I was and their relationship that we had. So that’s one of the reasons why I think certain mentorships really do work is because you define the relationship that you have with that person.
Now, when you, was there a time for yourself, obviously your sister had to go through a time where she said, okay, just like you said, you know, how much, how much can I share with Oleg? Was, was there kind of a before and after. From your perspective with your relationship with your sister, where you said, Hey, um, you know, obviously there’s a very literal change where, where your mom says, you know, you transitioned from being responsible responsibility of your mom, your sister, but when did, when did the mental illness knowledgement happened?
Or he said, Hey, my role with my sister is now something different. I can’t tell you the exact moment of when it happened, what I can and tell you is how that part situation changed. And so what I mean by that is when the environment changed, as far as I was all of a sudden in a position where part of, part of the time I was living at my sister’s apartment, and then the other part, I was going around town, trying to find.
Find where my mom was and her living situation was very unstable because she was living with one boyfriend to another, most of the time she was drunk. And so it was very hard for her, I think, to even be able to catch a hold of what the reality really was. And it was during that time. It was the challenge was that during the times when I say stayed at my sister’s apartment, I remember there were times when her and I would talk and she would share stories with me about our mom.
And she would tell me how our mom was not doing so well. And essentially I think a part of her want to just say, Let’s figure this out on our own and then help our mom. But as a little kid, I didn’t really understand what that meant and how could I let go of my mom and give up on her. So for me, accepting that opportunity as far as solely living with my sister and not seeing my mom was just not possible.
Do you think that she, in a way she thought that the circumstances were temporary because where she says that let’s figure this out and then go help mom. And then, and then after that things will go back to normal. It was there. Do you think that was part of the thought process? I would like to say so.
Yes. I think that when you are put into situations like that, I think at times it could be hard to accept their reality for what it really is. And so part of us want to be able to say to ourselves that this is a temporary situation. And that things can go back to normal. I think one of the things that we hold on to, and I’ll speak for myself, one of the things that I hold onto during the most challenging times is the sense of hope that things will get better, that things may resume
Like they have. It’s one of the reasons why I think. Uh, relationships and breakups are one of the hardest senses. I’m sure you can relate and speak from experience. Is that when you go through the time, all you want to do in, in most cases is go back to the way it was. Because you, you now have a level of understanding of the things that did not work out and the things that you can change.
And so I think in my sister’s case, it might’ve been very similar to that where we finally understood the things that needed to change in order for all of us to be together. And so I think for her, there, there was a sense of hope that she was hanging on to that one day, we will be under one roof again.
And share that family. What’s your relationship with your sister and your mom like now? Okay. So my mom. One of the things that happened was when I came to the States at the age of 12, I used to pick up up the land line. This was 2004 to give some context as to pick up the landline from home and call Russia.
So, as you can imagine, after a couple of calls per month, it would get relatively expensive. So I was doing that on a weekly and monthly basis. And then there was a time where, okay. I ended up having a conversation with my dad and essentially what he proposed was other options for me to stay in touch with them.
So Skype, FaceTime, things that were a little bit less expensive. I completely misunderstood what he said and what I thought he meant was stopped blowing up the bill. And so for six years, from that point on, I didn’t make another phone call, six years, no phone call. And then at 18 years old, I made that first call.
And I remember why I made the first call. I was in the process of going through a transformation of my home. And that is really trying to figure out why me, why was up with, through a lot of the challenges and obstacles in life? What do I have to learn from this? And so, as part of it, I wanted to reconnect with my roots.
So I CA I messaged one of my friends who had access to a lot of these Russian. Websites. And one of those websites was a version called classmates, which is somewhat similar to, I guess you could say Facebook in Russia. And she shared it with me. And I remember I started to research my sister’s name. I couldn’t find her at first.
So then I said, there’s gotta be a way. Someone else knows. So I pulled out my old notebook and this was a notebook that I was given when I had left the orphanage. And on each page, there was at least one to two messages from those who had lived in the same orphanage that I did some of my family members.
And it was essentially goodbye notes with their contact information and some of their lost thoughts. And so I found my cousin. And I searched her name and no results fond. And then I ended up finding my sister’s friend who had reached out to me and I said, Hey, I’m sorry for not contacting you guys for that many.
You this many years, do you happen to know if she’s still alive? And if so, how do I get in touch with her? And she responded, she said, yes, she’s still alive. And put me in contact with her. A day or so later, we’re having our first Skype call in six years, the two to three hour session, I would say 90% of the time, both of us cried so happy together again, but what I’ve learned or not call was that I had missed so much.
And one of those, one of the things that I did miss was my mother’s passing. So supposedly the year after I was adopted. My birth mom had passed away in a fire. There was an apartment fire and her boss was burned to a point point where I guess they couldn’t even do an topsy to really determine that it was her.
And so one of the challenges, challenging fans that he has been to to date to live with is as I look back at my memories and the things that make up my life, I looked through pictures. I looked through different notes and letters that I was given, and that I wrote to others. I have hundreds and hundreds of images of my childhood at the orphanage and images of being with my sister and some of my other cousins.
And it’s two weeks before I was adopted that she came to visit me at the orphanage. And if you look closely at the image, what you’re able to see is the past, the present and the future. And that is to the left of it. You see the orphanage bed. In front of it, you see her and on the table you see on of those English alphabets that my adoptive parents had sent me
To get ahead on the language. So it’s very interesting to be able to look at an image like that and, and try and define your own reasoning for it. Why is it that you have hundreds of others, but you only have one of her. And I think what I’ve been able to learn from that experience is that. The phrase and the image speaks a thousand words.
This is an example of that, but when you see that picture, what emotions do you have? Are you happy? Are you sad? I think it’s a mixed feeling. I think without a doubt, I’m sad because I didn’t get a chance to get that final hug. Say that final goodbye. As the person that I am today, the person that I am today is very different from the person who had left that country at the age of 12.
And knowing what I know now, the reason why I am sad when it comes to that image is I would love to be able to share some of my lived experience with her and the role that she has played in my life. I remember a little while ago when I sat down and I started to write down a lot of the memories and really try and understand and piece some, some of the, um, puzzle pieces together, as far as looking at the bigger picture and understanding how my life works.
My mom is one of the first people that really taught me what drive and persistence really was. Now it was an unspoken lesson. And the reason why I say that is because I think she was one of the first people that taught me that because of the times that I had to go out there and look for her every time I went out there and I looked for her, I always had a thought in my, in my head.
And that is every single day I would go. I would just say just one more place. If I just go to one more place, she might be there. Now nine out of 10, I came up short. But I think it was just going with that mindset into every day that I went out there looking for her that I’ve been able to really develop this drive and persistence that has carried me to who I am today.
So part of me does feel sad, but at the same time, I’m extremely grateful for the lessons that she did teach me and the role that she did play. And I think that look for me, it took time to really understand and come to terms with the decision decisions that she had made when she chose to pursue the bottle of alcohol.
Instead of caring for me. I could have looked at that in two ways. I could have said, well, how could she do that? She must not love me, therefore, how can I accept her as my mom or I chose? And this is a decision that I really chose to live with. I said she would just. It’s an illness. She was sick and it was, I can’t put myself in her shoes.
Therefore I can’t say how difficult or easy it is to get yourself out of that situation. Once you start, you might be trapped in a for life. And I’m sure it, as some of the other people I’ve learned throughout this. Journey as well as that, all of us are different chapters of our lives. Some of us have developed self-awareness persistence, the resistance and the ability to say no to certain things, others haven’t and that’s okay.
And we can’t judge each other. For where we are on our journeys, because we’re all at different phases in different steps. Why, why do you think that some people figure it out and some people don’t. Do you think it’s just, um, you know, is it just a biological coincidence or do you think it’s different initiatives that people take?
I think it’s for initiatives that people take. Because based on my experience, I think it all boils down to the choices that you make in life. And it’s those choices that help you formulate a lot of these skills and patterns. And so the more that you’re able to put yourself through the situations where you do feel uncomfortable and you are able to make some choices that you might not have had to make before.
I think that’s, that’s one of the ways that I’ve been able to develop a lot of these skills is on a daily basis. I try and do at least one thing that scares me the most, whether that’s picking up the phone and calling a person that has you made a million dollars in their life. Asking myself. Well, what value can I add to them or reaching out to someone else or having a conversation?
I remember the first time I had, I had started the podcast. It was a nerve wracking process. I was sitting, it was an in person interview. And at the time the person that I was interviewing, he was a, he used to work for Dell. And so. There was this persona that was developed before the podcast even started.
I can’t believe I’m sitting in front of this person, look at all the wisdom and knowledge that they have. And so I think you. You get to develop that and you can develop that, but it starts with the choice of do I want to do all of those things and how, how far am I willing to go with each one to really quote unquote master the skill?
I don’t think you actually hit, I don’t think you ever hit the. Absolute max. I mean, he’s skill. I think there are layers to it. Public speaking, whatever, whatever may be, you get to one point and you think, okay, this is it. I figured it out. That’s not true. I don’t think we ever figured out. I think that’s what this whole life is about is your whole experience on this planet.
It’s all about figuring it out. Yeah, I don’t, I don’t think I ever got to a point and will where I know it all because as soon as you know, it all, you know, nothing. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a really, it’s a really good quote that I’ve heard before, and I think there’s a lot of truth to it. Um, and, and you mentioned your podcast and I really want to, I want to fast forward here in a minute and.
Find out what you’re up to currently, but I still have more questions. Yes. It’s all good. We’ll get there. So w what I want to know is when you were describing, um, you know, at the orphanage, or, or maybe even right before the orphanage, you had said a better life, you had a vision of a better life. Where did you get that vision from had, had you seen it somewhere and print or is it, did you fabricate it
Where did you, what was the better life and where did you see it since you weren’t experiencing it?
I think that’s a two part answer in the first part is. I had seen it through some of the people that were surrounding me. So some of the other kids who are around the same age that I was had helped me paint a picture of what their life was like and the life that I wanted to have based on the family that each one of them had.
Based on the toys that they had and I was able to play with. And the second part of that is I fabricated a part of it without a doubt, because I wanted to create a life where I was not only a part of that family, but we had everything that. We ever wanted to be happy. And the challenge of that particular time was that there’s a danger of living in fantasy land and strictly inspiration and also being in reality because when you’re in reality, When I was in reality and I had another image of what that life was like, and the two weren’t aligning, it was hard to find common ground.
One of the challenges that I noticed as well of knowing the fact that my mom had passed away is. Really accepting that reality for what it is and not living in almost dream state. The fact that she still could be here. And what if she is alive? What would I say if I met her? How do I react? So I think the time back time is it wasn’t any different
I think it was a combination of what was surrounding me at the time and the different experiences and events that I saw through other kids of similar age. And then the other part was what was going through my mind. How was I created family in my own mind? Or didn’t it mean?
so it was a really interesting journey to be able to go through that and. Live with that. But I think it’s those things that really yeah. Helped me get through the adversity that I was experiencing, because even though there was the actual reality that was happening around me, there is also a greater stability within my mind that I could see.
And I think that’s what really helped me push through. And understand that. Okay. In real life, this may not be what you envision, but just keep thinking of what’s possible. And then I think that’s how you, that’s how I began to formulate some of these steps. And that’s why some of those decisions such as going into the orphanage.
Going through the steps, they’re joining the music lessons and really just believing in myself throughout that process. That’s what carried me through. No, another thing that I used to do when I was at the orphanage, and this was a question that I was recently asked by a friend of mine, we’re sitting down for dinner and he said, what makes you unique?
And I looked back at him and I said, I’ve never been asked that question before. And it forced me to go back in time during the years that I lived with the orphanage. And I said, you know, what makes me unique is my ability to write poetry, but not. For the sake of writing it, but helping me understand who I am and what I can be.
And so the orphanage was one of the first places when I really discovered that because when we were told to go to bed at nine or 10:00 PM, one of the things I used to do was I would climb on the window seal and with whatever light was available from the outside, I would write poems. And as it turned out in the morning, I would actually look at them and I would say, this is pretty good.
This is not bad. And it’s, and it would be perfectly on each one of the lines. So I don’t know how that part worked out. I must’ve had night vision at the time. Where, where are these poems now? Where are these poems? Now, these poems that a lot of the poems are still at the orphanage, and I believe some of the caregivers still have them.
And so I would love to be able to get ahold of them once again. But I picked up that skill once again, and I started to write poems. On a monthly basis or so at least one or so a month. And I’ve learned that it’s one of those skills where I think it just becomes so natural where you are. You’re not even having to really think about it so much.
You’re just being you and then you read it over and it makes perfect sense to you. Because it’s your life and your existence.
Yeah. You’d said that he later realized that the singing travels was, was like a tryout, but because you didn’t speak English, you couldn’t process the context of discussions around you. So how did you process your adoptive families, potential interest in you? Like what, what did you compare? What, like. Now, what were the variables?
What are some of the best questions I’ve ever been asked in my life, by the way?
And if you haven’t considered the field of therapy or a psychologist, I highly recommend that you do. Well, as much as I like these stories, I don’t know. I don’t know if it would be therapeutic for myself to go through some of these, your story. Great. But, uh, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll just stick to these good stories to, to answer your question.
You know, it was definitely a challenging time for a couple reasons because when we came back Russia, one of the things that I noticed was that there was a, the timeframe for when I was going to be adopted. And it was during that time when my parents had sent me letters and we would have phone calls, they would call the orphanage and the orphanage had one phone on the first floor and it was a two story building.
And my family was called family. Number one was located in the left wing. Of this on the second story. So whenever I would get this phone call, whoever was walking through the hallway would cut the phone and it would be the translator talking on the other end, translating for my parents. And she would ask most times it was a five or six year old kid just running through the hall and.
He, or she hears the phone ring, picks up the phone and talks to a translator and the translator would say, Hey, may I speak with all like from family number one, and this kid would run up the stairs, you know, find me with, and then within that family and I run down and I have this phone call with them. So it was really maintaining contact with them during that time that helped me, um, Gain reassurance that they still had an interest in me and that they wanted me as part of their family.
But what was interesting was that there was a hiccup that happened, and that was our court date was as I initially set for a certain date and it ended up being pushed back for reasons that I don’t fully know. I think my parents know some of them. Um, to a degree. And so when that court date ended up being pushed back, I believe it was a couple months everything within the orphanage changed
And what I mean by that is the relationship and how I was being treated. By the caregivers and the director and the social worker, anyone of higher authority, I became just like another kid, just like another orphan. Because during the, during the stage of when quote unquote, we knew the date of when I was going to be adopted, everything was staged.
And I think the reason why was because those that were putting on a mask and commenting me. And telling me fans look at that beautiful American smile or wanting me to leave with a different image of what that orphanage truly was. And part of me also thinks that they didn’t really want me to speak up about the things that happened because when you, once you actually do hear those stories of the abuse, the times when we were picked up from school, And it was three of us at the time.
Usually the director would pick us up from school and one of the kids, he just didn’t perform well. And that was okay because as I’m sure you’ve learned throughout your experience, formal education is not for everyone. That’s why people like you, people like myself and some of the other creatives pursued different outlets for learning.
And that’s perfectly fine. And so this kid wouldn’t wouldn’t perform well in class. He would constantly receive a failing grade. And so one day, and this happened multiple times, she would pick us up from school and she would take us straight to a mental institution and she would drop him off there for a week or so.
And she would tell that the two of us, if you behave like him, you’ll end up here as well. And trust me, you didn’t want to have that happen to you because when he returned a week or so later, you could see the bruises on his body. You could see that he had lost. I mean, well, over 50 pounds, you can see all these other marks.
So I could only imagine what was happening and how he was being treated there. So I think it was that behavior that they didn’t want me to disclose. And to be honest with you, not many people once they get out of that experience. And I’m speaking from experience here, as someone who has gathered a lot of the stories from around the world, from people being adopted from Thailand, China, and Japan, Ukraine, Romania, people don’t want to speak about the things that have happened in their past.
People want to accept their past as their past and move forward. But what you have to ask yourself. If you accept your past as your past, without talking to yourself about what happened and helping others understand about what is happening in those places, how are those places ever going to change?
Who’s going to speak up on behalf. It’s nice to think that there may be another kid that’s going to come out of that system who will uncover the truth, but that’s taken a chance and who’s to know when that time’s going to come 10, 20 years, 50, never. I think all of those are possibility. And so for me, when I came to this point, I really gave myself no other option, but to tell the truth.
Okay. And as part of that, there are a lot of questions that I had to answer. One of the questions came from my sister. She contacted me on Facebook, as I’m sure she will, after this interview is published as well. She contacted me on Facebook and she said, why didn’t you ever tell me the things that were happening at the worst image?
And I said, because I was scared. The visitation room was directly across from the director’s office. How could I tell you the truth? Could your sister have done anything anyway, even if you did exactly right. I don’t think she could have, because I was no longer, she was no longer my guardian, how the word of the state and the other, you know, the most frightening thing for me was sitting in that room and visibly seen the door.
I’ve got office and not knowing whether or not there’s someone in there listening to what’s being said in the open lobby. And so for three years, I literally had. I had no option, but to not tell her what was happening. So every time she asked me the question of how are things doing? How are things going here?
How are you being treated? I had to force myself to say, great, everything’s fine. But deep inside of me, I was crying. I was asking for help, get me outta here. W was there a time in one of those moments where you, where you started to think he made the wrong decision? Yes, there was. And it was one of the first weeks I actually entered the orphanage that I ended up running away.
I ran away. I just jumped a fence and straight ran straight to my mom. I found her. And I remember having this memory with her, where I essentially asked her if she could take me back. And remember she sat there in front of me. And she said something along the lines of whether she’ll try or she couldn’t.
And it was in that moment that it really clicked for me that there is nothing that I can do to change the decision that I made. Literally nothing. I mean, who can I go to? Yes, I can go to my family and I can describe the abuse that was happening, but what are they going to do? You, you’ve got to think about the situation that got us there in the first place is that I ended up in that system because a, my own mom, mom can take care of me because of her alcohol related problems.
And then I relinquished her rights and my sister’s rights. Therefore, I. Verbally admitted that they couldn’t take care of me. So I didn’t think it was going to be of any use for me to go to whoever else and say, well, I want to go back to my sister or my mom, because I formally prove that they weren’t capable of taking care of it.
Of the child. So I definitely did think that I made the right the wrong decision and it was a challenge to be able to accept the consequences that I had to live with from that point on. And that’s where I think I had to really dig deep and really figure out what are the things that can provide me that additional hope.
Like, what’s really going to help me survive through these moments. And that’s where poetry played a big role, um, commitment to any task excelling at school because I, I just, I knew. And I saw the things that were happening to some of their kids that didn’t perform well. So I didn’t want to be another kid that was getting beat in front of their family.
Those being made an example of what not to do, not to steal, not to receive failing grades, not to listen to the authorities. And so as part of that, I did everything that I could to avoid. Every one of those instances. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not perfect. I don’t think any of us are we on a daily basis, we will learn ways to deal with our imperfections.
And so for me, I did get caught in situations where I did receive a failing grade on a project, or I did forget to do my chores that day. And so as part of that, I was made an example of, and the way that those examples were made was in our family, the family number one was I remember the whole family being gathered in this large, I guess you could say family room.
And I was put in the center of that room and the caregiver ordered a couple of the older orphans. To beat me in front of all the other kids to show others what not to do. And I think more importantly, what’s going to happen to you. If you did do those things. So it, it took just a few tries for me to really get it.
I don’t really, I can’t fake it. I can’t underperform. I have to Excel. I have to find a way to get through whatever else in front of me to not give them an opportunity, to make an example out of me, of what not to do. Okay. You mentioned that there was a clear moment when the court date was pushed back and the orphanage staff had changed.
Is the orphanage staff incentivized in any ways to make things look better? Like why was it so clear for them to just turn things off and on? I don’t know the answer to that question because I haven’t had a chance to work on that side to really understand what the incentives and benefits are to each one of the caregivers and anyone else that’s involved within that program.
I know that what I’ve learned is that a lot of that behavior that was implemented within the system, I think it was a way to teach us discipline. And so part of it, might’ve been just cultural, verbal, and physical abuse. Might’ve been just part of the culture. That’s just how you learn here. It’s different, not at all places, but, and I would say in most that I encounter at least is that there is more of an opportunity to have a dialogue.
When you go to schools and you get in trouble, you don’t get beat with a ruler. At least in, in most cases now, in some of the schools that I went to in Russia, that was the case. The teacher has in fact had this ruler. I mean, I’m not sure. Six, seven, eight feet. And when you misbehaved, you’ll get smacked with a ruler.
And that was the norm that wasn’t child abuse. Now here, if you try to do that in school, I, I would think that the teacher would probably pay some serious jail time for doing something like that. Now there, it was just the norm. It’s how you correct certain behaviors. So the orphanage was not going to be any different.
And in fact, I think because they had. Repeated that behavior over and over again, the higher authorities, it constantly put us in a state of fear. I know for myself, like I shared with you, the fact that I wasn’t able to share the things that are happening with my own sister. Um, just imagine who else would I share that with?
No one else besides the other orphans. And then what impact does that have? None. We can’t stand up to authorities. And when we did, when we would speak back to them, what would get him in more trouble? So there was no point of trying to go through that. Cycle over and over again. So why did your family choose you?
Why did my family choose me? Well, there was an article and I actually have the copy in front of me. There was an article that ran through a newspaper. I believe it was either Ann Arbor news or observer. And it was essentially a two to three sentence advertisement that said, um, There was a group of Russian kids coming here will be performing in some of the local churches.
And we’re looking for some host families to host the kids. And one of the reasons why they chose me was because I believe my mom was an eight and age where she didn’t want to have another kid. And she also understood that there were so many other kids who are in need. Uh, families and my brother who was just a little bit older than I am, I believe he wanted to have a brother.
And so in a way it was like a perfect storm. My mom didn’t want to have kids and that, and she also recognize the problem. That you know, what’s happening around the world, that there were so many other kids that could be adopted and could be found at home. And then her son also wanted to have a brother.
And so I think for me, being able to, for me being placed in that family was, is a huge blessing. And that is, I was very fortunate to be able to. People into that household and even through all of the ups and downs and all the challenges that we shared. It’s funny now we’ll laugh about it. Wasn’t so funny back then.
But that’s what really made us unique and who we are. And the relationship that we do have is that we were able to push each other’s buttons in to the max. I can’t tell you the number of times, my mom and I stood in front of each other, crying, almost begging the other person to stop was their behavior.
And a lot of it went, went back on me because I didn’t fully understand this culture. And all of a sudden I was quote unquote, a free man. I no longer had authority telling me what to do. And I was a teenager. So I already had an understanding of what the world was like. And so as part of that, you’re going to rebel against any form of authority, as I’m sure you can relate.
And so for me, it was really I’d found that home and I was very fortunate to find that home and still have them by my side every single day. Teaching me lessons, sharing their wisdom with me and reassuring me that all of us made the right decision, because as much as they had made the decision to have me become a part of their family, I also had to make that decision as well.
I had to say yes two. Okay. The moment when I was asked the question of, do you accept all like Michael Lockheed as your new legal name and court had? I said, no, I would not be here. I would not be a part of that family. So it was a two sided decision that had to be made one in their end. And one of mine.
And I couldn’t be more grateful for the decision that I did make because ultimately they have been the family that I’ve always looked for. And that’s not to say that those that are still remaining in Russia are not part of my family. They are they’re part of my family. And just like the one that I have here, but they have been the image and the support that I was looking for all along the way.
And they’ve been able to provide that every step of the way. So you had so many unique, we’ll say blips on your timeline, you know, join, deciding to go to the orphanage, deciding to join the singing program. Do you ever look back and think how amazing the chain of events you went through to be able to get to where you’re at now and be who you are now?
Just that. The string of multiple things that had happened. Yeah. Yeah. I look at it every single day and trust me, there was a time where I did take those things for granted. I used to just look at them and say, well, that’s great. That’s amazing that those things happened, but really with someone who is I’m in a position where I’m able to help others, To, um, piece together, some of their events in life.
That’s when I really became grateful, started to understand that it’s unbelievable. If one of the instances or experiences did not align at that particular time in place, then none of that. None of the rest would happen. Right. Which is very interesting to think about and live with because it just makes me think that I have to be grateful for everything that does happen.
The good and the bad, because the bad, it may not always lead you in the same direction. I think it’s out of those times where you do go through adversity, whatever form that is. If you are able to take a step back and identify lessons and takeaways, well, then it was a good experience, you know, it’s, that’s why.
And I think it was through your question year. You had the bad and the good experiences. And it was really interesting to think of the two because he made me think, well, it’s all about how you look at the experience. Yes. You made me go through a challenging time. And you might be able to label that as a quote unquote bad experience, but you can also look at that as some of the greatest learning opportunities that have come across your plate.
And so it all, it all boils down to how do you look at that particular situation? Do I look see, I’ve always believed that I’ve lived in the life of a lack of, and an abundance of. And so it all boiled down for me as far as, how do I look at any of the situations I have around me right now? Yes, I can look at the things that I have lack of, but I can also look at the abundance of the relationships that are being made, the connections and the possibility of each one.
I can’t measure your potential. I can’t say, okay, what is he truly capable of? Or what is this conversation capable of? How many people can he truly change? We have no way of knowing that. And even if it’s just that one person, we don’t know the ripple effect that that person can cause think about some of the greatest leaders.
Throughout this lifetime, they all started with one person. One person spoke a sentence or a word to them that they resonated with. And then they took that on as their life journey. I think words, words are very fascinating to me. As someone who literally had to start at age 12 and understand what are words, how do you formulate them?
How do you give them meaning words alone, have no meaning
it is all about how you feel and relate to each one, gives it meaning. It’s the relationship that you have with each word. So when you see a negative, when you see a word with negative connotation, you can flip that around into a positive. You can flip that around into an experience that you have to go through in order to learn X, Y, and Z skill.
That’s how powerful you can be.
so I think in many ways you beat the odds. Now you’ve obviously illustrated that there are others that are, you know, in orphanages, but how many other old legs that beat the odds are out there? Right. You know, how unique of a story is yours? Sure
you truly are full of good questions. How many other old legs are there? The way that I would answer that question is I would really have to evaluate what is impact, what is the impact that I’m trying to create? And what are I firmly believe from one day to another is one person at a time. One day at a time.
So yeah, I believe that there’s at least one other Oleg out there who has a unique experience. Now it may not be step first step for what I’ve gone through, but it’s a unique experience according to that particular person. So I do believe that there is at least one person out there. And whether or not I have reached them.
I don’t know that yet, or that person is still out there. The way that I’d like to think about it is the person is still out there because it gives me that additional drive and inspiration to keep doing the work, to keep going through the struggles and keep sharing the journey. I think the most important thing that I’ve been able to recognize for myself is the importance of documenting your experiences and documentation.
Not only for my sake, but also helping other people and showing them my life and sharing my life with them and saying that it’s okay to have them to struggles. It’s okay to go through the, the odds, because I think that’s really how I’ve been able to find the inspiration within my life is through other people’s stories.
You know, it’s it’s, when I look at a person, I don’t just see. A person. I see a mirror, I see a reflection of myself within that human being. I see a set of experiences that they’ve been through and that they’re going through still. I see the suffering that each one of us has gone through and I see the resilience that every one of us has.
So the old leg is still out there. And I believe that because that’s what keeps me going. That’s what wakes me up every morning, knowing that there is that kid out there still. And if I can just continue doing what I’m doing, maybe I can reach him or her and help them. And then who knows what’s gonna happen from there?
I think that’s the only thing we can control at the end of the day is just a one to one. That’s a good transition to kind of bring us up to current days. So, um, your platform you mentioned is, is overcoming odds. Now is obviously there’s a very personal attachment to this project of yours, but, but as is overcoming odds, is it.
Is this also how you put food on the table or is it just a passion project? Yeah. Yeah, no, this is a full, uh, full time, um, position that I’ve been able to create, uh, through the help of other people. And. You know, just like anything else. I think it started off as a way with a set of questions. How do I make this work?
And so you had to, I had to do side projects, marketing, whatever else that I was skilled at in order to be able to really get this off the ground. But then once I was able to get it off the ground and really move with it. That’s when I really began to notice the strides and the progress and the purpose of why such work needs to be there.
So as part of that, no pun intended, there were a lot of odds to overcome through that, as I’m sure you can relate starting any sort of business envision. One of the things that I think gets taken for granted is there’s a phrase. I don’t remember the exact wording of it, but essentially it’s something along the lines of the hardest part of it all is the start.
And so as part of that, I think there is a tendency to think, well, I just have to start this. And then the rest will be easy. The problem is that. What it means is it’s the start to anything. So starting a venture is a challenge. Starting phase two of that venture is a challenge. Starting phase three is also a challenge.
So they’re the, it’s the start of anything within that particular vision is a challenge and you will meet a lot of people. And this is what I’ve learned. Through building this community is that even though you might be doing truly great work, you’re creating an impact. You’re changing people’s lives. At the same time, you will meet people who are there for a day.
For a week for a season. And that is those who might’ve supported you at the very beginning. May not be there with you when you get to phase two. And phase three and et cetera. So as part of that, you really ha I really had to accept that in order for all this to truly work a, I have to be authentic to who I am, and that is stay true to my message and be really build a community from what I believe in.
And not based on other people’s interests because you don’t fully know, people may feel one way one day and they entirely different way the next day. So really, really the only way that I’ve been able to define it for myself, as far as building out this organization to a point where it is, it has become a full time position is starting with who I am.
You know, the message of changing one person at a time one day at a time, it’s not necessarily speaking about the other person. I think it’s Marshall. Speaking about you change your life first, before you can help someone else change, help them see the process of what change looks like. Because if I go to you.
And I started preaching to you do this, do that without having lived it myself. Well, how do I know if that even works? I don’t, but if I can show you through. Whatever the medium, whatever the story is that we’re gathering that this is what change looks like. And then you can define it for yourself as far as your role and your place within that change.
Then that’s the most important part, because then you can align yourself. Along that journey and find your own place. Instead of me telling you this is your place, and this is how you change. You actually come to a point of self actualization where you realize, okay, I see how others are being impacted, and this is what’s missing within me.
What if I involve myself in this way, such as sharing my story through this online platform. And then as part of that, being able to embrace the different aspects of my story, but then also impact someone else’s life, help them see their story through my story and who knows what that’s going to produce.
So what, where do you see overcoming odds at in five years?
That’s a very difficult question because yeah, I think we
underestimate what we can do. In a year or however the phrase goes under estimated in a certain time and over estimated in the end. Yeah, I know. Yeah. It’s, it’s over estimate in a short period and underestimate in a long period. That’s the, that’s the underlying story. Yeah, exactly. Okay. And so, as part of that is it’s difficult to define really where it could be in five years.
What I do know is that I have a larger vision and not as to be able to create these communities, what we started to do is we started to host these events. And connect with people of different backgrounds through social media as well to have them share their stories, um, across the country. And we’ve had people from other countries as well that have joined this movement and this campaign to begin with.
So. To answer your question. I don’t think there is a direct number, not to cities or whatever, Dallas, wherever else, whatever other measurable they may be. What I can tell you is that the vision is to create a sense of belonging, a sense of community and the relationship. Between people within the, these groups that we are trying to impact across the world.
So yeah, global has always been the vision for this organization, but before you get there, you have to start small dream big. Start small start now. That’s what I’ve learned is the dream is to be able to impact as many people as you can. So as part of that, I think it only makes sense to assume that your work has the potential to reach a global scale.
But you also have to understand that you currently do not have, especially when you start off and when you start off as a one person. You do not have the capacity to reach every person on this planet. Right? You got to start with your own community, your own circle, and then move beyond that. And beyond that, and that’s really what, what the growth has been.
Is just knowing that there is a larger vision in place. And within that, identifying the different events, the different cities, the different populations that we’re trying to impact. So I hope that that’s the best. That’s the best answer that I can give you. At this particular time. Now in five years, when you ask me, I’d be more than happy to back up.
Exactly what I meant by this statement. We’ll put it on the calendar. We’ll have lab or like part two and five reminder. Alright. Uh, I want to give you an opportunity here in a moment to put out some contact information, but we started off with such a good story that I didn’t get the opportunity. To do our new feature of rapid fire questions
So you get those random, rapid fire questions now. Awesome. All right. Okay. So number one, do you have a most embarrassing moment that you’d be willing to share?
Yes. It’s their most embarrassing moment that I’ll be willing to share? Well, I think it definitely goes back to middle school and that most embarrassing moment you can just see for the listeners that can’t see, he’s just got this grant. That’s like growing as either. The most embarrassing moment. And I don’t remember her name to be exact, but yeah, I barely knew enough English.
And I remember I had liked this girl in middle school and I know, and somehow we got into this instance where I was actually able to, um, I think at least I was in the position to have my first kids. Middle school. And I just remember, I didn’t even know how to ask that in English. Yeah, yeah. In English.
And so I remember having the thoughts in Russian, ultimately the situation did not go as I had wished. And it was probably one of the more embarrassing moments. I remember just being there. And I think sensing the fact that both of us were on the same playing field, but I just couldn’t find the words. I didn’t know how to do it.
I didn’t know the words in English. So if it makes you feel any better, um, probably about the same time I was in. Uh, seventh grade. So, so that’s that’s middle schoolish. Um, there was this girl that, that, uh, I started hanging out with and we were, we were kind of dating kind of not, it was funny, her name’s Lou and, um, Uh, so I was spending the night with a friend named Curtis and Curtis and I were going through the year bucket saying, who can we ask to be a girlfriend?
so Lou. It was, it was my winning candidate. And so I called Lou and I said, Hey, do you want to go out? She said, yeah. And I was like, okay. And so then fast forward a couple of days. And I don’t know if it’s a couple days or a couple of weeks, but, so we started having this awkward relationship where we both committed to being together, but we don’t really know each other.
And so one night we’re walking home. We went to like high school football game or something. And so I was walking her home and, and we get to, uh, We get to our house. And so we go in for this, so we hadn’t kissed or anything at this point. And so now is our moment to shine and loo it was really, yeah, I don’t know if I’ve caught up by now, but, um, she was way taller than me.
And so she leans down to kiss me and just sucks my nose.
That’s really funny. I had a similar instance like that. Speaking of most embarrassing moments, the other one was, it was my best friend and I were at his house and we were just talking about, you know, the different girls that would have been able to become friends with and all of that. And I was sharing this one memory of this girl that I had in my geometry class at the time.
This was, I think our ninth grade and. He dared me to give her a call to ask her out. Okay. You have to understand that. My only time of knowing who she is is this geometry class, which is really not an opportunity to even have a conversation because you’re sitting at a table surrounded by other tables and the teacher’s lecturing you.
So it’s not like you were just, you know, free dialogue. You have to actually pay attention to what’s happening. So I remember I gave her a call. And she just said, no, thank you. That was it. Thanks a lot recommending that one. Whose advice? Not to take from this point on. All right. Okay. We’ve got two more questions.
What do you suck at? What do I suck? What do I want to improve? That’s a very difficult question because I think. Well, actually, no, I know, I know the answer to that one and that is I’m shooting a gun. I had the experience of shooting. So in Texas, before I moved to Texas, of course, that’s the Texas stuff and guns.
Before I moved to Texas, before I moved to Austin, I had this image that those that lived in Texas wore cowboy boots, rode a horse and carried a gun. And when I moved to Texas, It’s pretty damn close as far as that. But one of the things that my friends did, one of them had lived here for a couple of years, was that he took me to a shooting range.
And let me tell you this. It was the most terrifying experience of my. Entire life. So I walked into the range and obviously our Stan was the last one. And for those that haven’t had this experience before, what ends up happening was you actually go there, you shoot. And then you have to wait until all of the other people have shot before you can actually exit.
Because what ends up happening too, is that the sound is so loud, depending on the weapon that you’re using, that it actually echoes all the way through. So they have two double doors. Like you walk out through the first store and then you can take off your, your mouse and whatever else. And then you can walk out to the main portion of the store.
And so are my friends. Exactly. They sent me this video and. It’s titled O M G O M G O M G. It’s me standing there with holding the pistol in front of me for probably for five minutes before I could actually pull the trigger. And I remember pulling that trigger and, you know, we went through the, it was half hour, an hour long session.
We got out of it and I ended up sending my parents. Um, a text just to show them that, you know, I, I shot at gun for the first time, but the story was Apple out of corrected gun to a guy. So the message I shot a guy for the first time. And then I think I remember one of them responded to me with a question Mark.
And I remember when I first saw the message was like, what part of that do they not understand? And then I read the message over again. It’s like, Oh, I get it. So shooting guns has it. Hasn’t been my strong suit. And I’m not sure when I’m going to pick up that hobby. Once again here, seeding see behind me this little box right there.
Is a gift certificate to a shooting range. My wife got me. Yeah. So if you’re ever in Utah, let’s go take advantage of that. I be happy to do so. All right. I’ll let glow heat, it’s been a pleasure. I enjoyed your stories and your vulnerability. Um, I want to give you a moment to say whatever you want to say.
Uh, tell us your website, Instagram, any, anything? Any way anybody can get ahold of you. Absolutely. Well, once again, thank you so much for having me on your show and giving me this opportunity to share my story. And hopefully we’ll be able to connect with others who are going along the similar journey that I am the best way to find us across all social media platforms is simply type in overcoming odds.
You’ll be able to locate our accounts, the content that we’ve been able to put out. Uh, one of the things that we. Put out on a regular basis is our podcast, which comes out every Monday and Friday of the week. And really what it is, is just capturing. The stories of everyday people and the different challenges that they go through and how ultimately they’re able to work through them.
And the hope is that you can see themselves, you can see yourself through their stories and be able to relate the website. As you mentioned before, is overcomingodds.today would. You’ll be able to find is not only all the episodes in ways that people can get involved and share their stories through our campaign called stand up and speak, but also be able to, um, check out some of the events that we have around the country and that’s events that are focused on helping you develop courage, to share your own story and embrace the different parts of your own journey and the person that you become today.
There you go all that Oleg Lougheed overcomingodds.today. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks again. Thank you. I appreciate it.