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Carroll has a ball at PCC In-Service
Photos and Story by James Hill
To say that Kevin Carroll is inspirational is an understatement. The 2008 PCC In-Service keynote speaker was a whirlwind of good feeling, inspiration and humor on Monday, Sept. 15 in front of more than 1,000 faculty and staff.
Carroll detailed his childhood where he and his two brothers grew up to two crack-addicted parents in Philadelphia. His mother had always yanked him out of school to move until one day, when he was just six years old, he and his brothers were abandoned in Virginia. After being left in a strange trailer for five days, Carroll’s grandparents found and adopted them.
This led to the story of the red rubber ball he found at a neighborhood park that helped him forget his family troubles and focus on having fun. Even though the ball was deflated and unwanted, he devised games he could play by himself to pass the time and forget those voices that haunted him during his family’s ordeals.
“I kicked that ball as hard and as high as I could,” Carroll said. “As a result all I could hear was my heavy breathing. I didn’t want to hear those voices again.”
Embracing sports helped him find friends and, “be a part of something where I belonged,” he said. “Now I travel around the world to share with people these simple truths.”
Carroll, who had one child attend the Sylvania Campus, has dedicated his life to advancing sports and play as a vehicle for social change. Among his many public speaking engagements, Carroll was invited to address the United Nations at the launch of the United Nations Year of Sports for Development and Peace in 2005. He was subsequently appointed as a special advisor to the humanitarian group, Right to Play, which designs global sport and play programs for children and communities affected by war, poverty and disease.
Carroll is founder of The Katalyst Consultancy, an author and speaker, helping people chase and achieve their dreams. As an author, Carroll published his first book, “Rules of The Red Rubber Ball,” and consults with The National Hockey League, Nike, ESPN, Starbucks (his words appeared on 17 million Grande cups), The Walt Disney Company, Mattel, Hasbro, Paramount Television, Procter & Gamble, The Discovery Channel, Capital One, HSBC Bank, and many others.
He recently joined ESPN.com as a regular contributor to chronicle how the power of sports can positively impact society. Carroll lives in Portland with his wife and family.
In other In-Service news, District President Preston Pulliams thanked staff and faculty for their service as well as the PCC Board and members of his Cabinet. During his time at the podium, Pulliams brought up faculty and classified federation presidents Eddie Lincoln and Deborah Hall. Lincoln replaces longtime president Michael Dembrow, an English composition instructor who will devote more time to his efforts as a State Legislator.
“He used to come to me to ask for money,” Pulliams said, tongue firmly placed in cheek, of Dembrow. “Now I’m going to be asking you for money, Michael. The roles are reversed.”
When the crowd wasn’t laughing they were being informed of the new Miller Foundation matching funds challenge to the state’s 17 community colleges and to remind people to register to vote. Pulliams also touched on the upcoming 2009 legislative session in Salem, which the college will try to capitalize on its reputation in the community.
“Remember that 94 percent of individuals who take classes here feel the programs are excellent and that they get a great experience,” Pulliams said. “We have an excellent reputation.”