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Former NFL Star to Deliver Message of Inspiration at ODU's Funtastic Summer Camp for Kids

As the Funtastic Summer Camp run by Old Dominion University at the Lamberts Point Community Center comes to a close, campers will hear words of inspiration on Friday, July 30, from someone who, a few decades earlier, was just like them.

Shawn Harper's story isn't unique: poor kid with athletic talent goes to college, becomes a star football player in the NFL. However, it's what happened after he sustained a career-ending injury that makes him truly inspiring.

Waking up one morning and realizing his football dream was over, Harper reapplied himself. He learned how to use his body again. He went into business, launching American Services and Protection, which has become the largest minority-owned security business in the Midwest.

He also became a motivational speaker. Harper is now in demand nationwide, with his mixture of wit and personality inspiring the next generation of kids like him.

Harper said he needed to realize "in some instances that you are not disabled, but you are uniquely enabled. You have been called for a particular plan and a particular purpose. You have a calling for a particular season and a particular reason. Embrace who you are; you're a unique individual. The quest for you is to hook up with your God-given assignment, and live it to its fullest. There you'll find success and happiness."

Harper's talk is scheduled for noon on Friday. It is free and open to the public.

Cecelia Tucker, ODU's assistant to the president for community relations, said Harper is the perfect wrap-up speaker for the Funtastic Summer Camp, part of the annual Lamberts Point Summer Programs that the university offers free to children in neighborhoods near the university campus.

"He was just like these kids, and he applied himself and never gave up. And look where he is now," Tucker said. "These kids need role models, people to emulate. Shawn Harper is a great inspiration."

This article was posted on: July 29, 2010

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