Over a decade has passed since he walked across the stage as the first in his immediate family to complete the process of obtaining a college degree. To this day, Transformation Life Center CEO, Demetrius Short reflects on how his real-world experience did not come without struggles and obstacles stemming from his matriculation in the early 90's.
While pursuing his undergraduate degree from Fisk University, Demetrius witnessed first-hand the barriers that led to an increase in college student dropout rates. He didn't have a scholarship or transportation, and occasionally found himself with little food - sleeping between the dorm director's office and the couch of a friend. Despite reaching one of the lowest points in his life, Demetrius refused to quit and become a dropout statistic. He secured internships and walked from campus to downtown Nashville in a business suit carrying a briefcase. Years later, Demetrius returned to campus to nostalgically walk the same route he no longer had to travel. While walking, he had a divine intervention with God. Reflecting with tears in his eyes, he asked God, "Why did I have to go through this pain and struggle?" God responded to him and said, "Every step you took was a step toward your success." It was at that moment, he conceptualized a God-sized dream, hunger and responsibility to help students overcome their own barriers in life and reach success. With a vow to run a 5K (3.1 miles) in a full suit and sneakers to commemorate his struggle, Steps of Success 5K was born and the Pathway to Success Initiative (formerly 50/50 Protege Program) was established.
After serving a number of years as a Board Member, Fisk University Young Alumni Association President and CEO of Steps of Success 5K, and witnessing the triumph of his ideas, he has tapped into a broader concept of becoming a worldwide success expert. With his re-imagined understanding, Demetrius is igniting both collegiate students and individuals to have a positive impact on their community. The Steps of Success 5K is the most anticipated event of the year and serves as the first point of exposure for collegiate students into our success community. The 5K run/walk is an engagement opportunity where all of our constituents (runners, sponsors, business professionals, students and volunteers) come together to meet community needs. Overall and age awards are given to participants, #IGNITE scholarships are awarded to college students and #INSPIRE and #TRANSFORM scholars are recognized.
What makes us different? When students cross our run/walk finish line, they have the opportunity to opt-in to the Pathway to Success Initiative to receive personal, professional and health & wellness development through workshops, thus our mantra, "More Than A Race, A Pathway to Success."