PUSH: Persevere Until Something Happens

For Students

In this speech, Dr. Gaines shares his drive to give hope to others because his own story grew from hopelessness. John earned his nickname “PUSH” (Persevere Until Something Happens) because he believes in the power of perseverance and teaches others to “keep pushing” and LOVE through life’s obstacles to become the best version of themselves. 

I Am a Champion: Teaching Students How to Win in the Classroom and Life

For Students

In this engaging talk, Dr. Gaines covers his tough road to doctoral academia, a career with a Fortune 500 company, winning a college football championship, and ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. He provides practical tips to the audience about perseverance and a step-by-step guide to achieving one’s goal or dream.

Just One, “I Believe in You” Can Change a Kid’s Life

For Parents, Educators and Caring Adults

John’s childhood was one of extreme adversity. Growing up surrounded by drugs and violence, facing personal struggles, and being bullied for his differences, he had every reason to give up, but he pushed through thanks to a caring adult.

Stories Matter: Creating an Anti-Racist School Culture

For Professional Development


  • How to Engage in Vigilant Self-Awareness
  • The importance of Studying and Teaching
  • How to talk about Race with Students