DECISIONS DETERMINE DESTINY
The Other Side Of Reality
Approved and Sponsored by SJTPO & Funded by
In 2007, Matthew graduated from Temple University with a major in Business Administration and Legal Studies. Upon graduation, he was immediately drafted as a first round draft pick to play professional soccer.
After 3 seasons of playing, in March 2009, Matthew made a poor decision to drink and drive resulting in an accident, which took the life of Hort Kap, a father of six children. One bad decision would forever blot out all the good decisions he had made in his life. He took full responsibility and did his best to take an adverse situation to make a difference for others in the I’m That Guy program that was presented to over 7,000 students prior to his sentencing in 2009.
Matthew was sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison and it was during that time that he would earn his "Phd" from the Department of Corrections in the "University of Adversity", where he used every bit of his prison experience and never allowed the negative surroundings to imprison or shape him. He used his gifts and talents to teach other inmates: he shared his many books and resources, he leveraged his sports background to organize work outs and influence for the good, he assisted them in contacting their families and led a daily bible study. It was his selfless example that earned him the respect of many of his peers—including many gang members.
Through the darkness of the valley and in the isolation of prison, Matthew’s expertise grew in so many ways. He was a public speaker prior to prison. He was a spokesperson for the Peer Challenge Program; the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; and for his various sports teams through the years. However, the prison experience had broadened his perspective and passion for all types of individuals. It was obvious through the daily activity on Matthew’s blog, which was posted on a website, that his words were influencing and impacting people—far beyond what he could have ever imagined. And suddenly his story evolved from his personal tragedy to a platform that was stimulating hope in people from all walks of life.
Matthew says, “When you give someone hope, you give someone a future.”
Even though Matthew is a strong man of faith, he can deliver an empowering message in the secular realm when requested. His speaking engagements are personal
and geared to the individual audience.
While in prison, he also wrote 15 books. His first book, U MAY B THE ONLY BIBLE SOMEBODY READS: R U LEGIBLE? is now available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com (View Book). In addition to Matthew's core message of how "Decisions Determines Destiny," he is developing programs under the umbrella of #iCONVICTION. He believes that in the "i-economy" which surrounds us, that the iMESSAGE you put out is determined by the #iCONVICTION you have within. Thus, his passion is to deliver a message that depicts "the other side of reality"--the raw reality that is not depicted after the use and abuse of so many vices. In Matthew's case, a decision to drink and drive took him farther than he ever wanted to stray, it kept him longer than he ever wanted to stay, and cost him so much more than he ever wanted to pay.
IS THE PROGRAM EFFECTIVE?
Mother of students from Atlantic Christian School:
"Both of my children were moved by your testimony today. Their words describing chapel were AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing your story, God Bless."
Student at Oakcrest High School:
"Matt your speech today had a very deep influence on me and my choices.I had to sit through the assembly twice because it was so strong. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless."
Teacher at Atlantic County Alternative High School:
"Let me start out by saying Matt Maher is a very gifted man. He came to our school and spoke to our students with heart and compassion. Our students sat in our cafeteria for over an hour and did not speak a word. They were truly mesmerized by his performance. They are asking me daily when is he coming back. The message he speaks was taken in by our students and will hopefully help them on their life's journey. Please reach out to Matt for me and tell him words can't express how thankful I am that he took the time to speak to my students and answer their questions, I truly believe he left my school having a great impact on my students! Thanks again for this wonderful presentation!!"
Director for Student Life at Cumberland County College:
"First and foremost, thank you for coming back to heighten the awareness of making a bad decision and for taking ownership of your fatal error, Matt. The presentation is a bone chilling one that truly tugs at your heart on many levels - as a Mother, as a friend, as a family member and so on. Matt's sincerity and humility make the presentation that much deeper and he establishes a trust almost automatically with the audience members.
Matt's words make an impact and I know that the students and employees that were present had empathy and most of all appreciated his honesty, the fact that Matt is not a coward and served his time like a man and didn't hide behind being the son of a law enforcement family and being a pro soccer player. We want Matt to come back each year to make an impact and quite possibly prevent someone from making a bad decision that could take someone's life. Thank you Matt for sharing your story and coming back even stronger."
Teacher at Oakcrest High School:
"Matt, thanks again for coming to Oakcrest. Although you were unable to talk about your faith during the school day presentations, you were still able to be the bible for these students through your story. I had a few students ask me, "how could he go through all of that and still live a happy life?" It opened a discussion about your foundation of Faith through God. God Bless you and your ministry!"
Students at Ocean City High School:
-I thought the Matt Maher speech was very inspirational and I thought it was better than other assemblies because it was a different perspective.
-The assembly was really moving and the videos in court gave me the chills. It wasn’t boring or anything like that and it never lost my interest. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and give Matt credit for getting up and talking about that.
-Matt Maher got everyone’s attention and made his story very interesting
and told it directly to a high school student’s perspective.
-The presentation held my attention the entire time and was very interesting. I liked how Matt walked around and held eye contact. I would’ve liked to know more
about the night of the accident and the decisions that led up to it.
-Emotional, passionate . . . made me aware of the outcomes of drinking and driving.
-Very inspirational and eye opening about DUIs. Relatable because he is just like us.
-I thought your speech to us was very eye-widening. Your speech basically made me wake up and see how dangerous drunk driving is and just how much of an impact it can be on you. Almost scary the way you explained it, but overall the tone was very good.
-Great presentation. I liked that it came from the perspective of an athlete. Very personal. I liked that it wasn’t incredibly long, but it was long enough to get the point across.
-The presentation was very moving. I enjoyed learning about what happened and seeing how you reacted. It meant a lot coming to our school and sharing your experiences. It really opened my eyes and will keep them open to never do anything with alcohol or drugs.
Student at Buena High School:
"I'm 18 years old and I was in the assembly you did today at Buena. I'm sure you get this all the time but you really impacted me and changed my perspective on so much. I think of you as a complete role model, someone who went through the worst of the worst and you changed yourself in the most positive way and I think that is so admirable. I like how you took your mistakes and now are trying to change others. I'd be lying if I said I never texted while driving, or drove after drinking. Its not that I don't know it's wrong because I do, but it's hard to explain but I guess I don't really think about it. Like you said, I think "it'll never happen to me." I've seen a video about you but never have seen you talk in person and I cannot tell you how appreciative I am to have the privilege to hear your story. I can assure you that you made me want to change my ways and you impacted my life in ways I never even thought. I was so intrigued by your story today and I can't express how gracious I am. Thank you for sharing and just know that you definitely affected one person today."
Student at West Deptford High School:
"Thank you for inspiring my life. Your story truly made me think about what I need to appreciate more in life. Everything you said was words of pure truth and reality. You opened my eyes to the real world and made me think. I realize you get told thanks a lot but this is letting you know that you changed my life for the better, God bless you".
Teacher at Southern Regional High School:
"Matthew, thank you for speaking to our students today. I truly believe that you touched every student in one way or another today--and that is not an easy thing to do in this day and age. Your presentation is extremely well crafted and has a very strong message. A message that I have been stressing to my students for years and I am glad that they heard it from someone else in such a heart wrenching true story!"
Student at Salem County Vo-Tech:
"Thank you so much for coming out to our school. It was honestly a pleasure to have you there. Your story really did make me realize how much one night can change something. How it can just take away everything. I’m glad that you’re going to schools and sharing this to help people not make the same mistake. You did a good job at changing my outlook in life. Thank you again."
Student at Vineland High School:
"Hello! Thank you for visiting Vineland HS. I just spoke to you at my high school assembly. Your presentation was moving and has already, moments after seeing it, affected how I think and how I perceive things. I greatly appreciate you taking time out of your life to speak to teens such as myself, tell your story and change lives for the better. You and your story have inspired me to act and behave differently. Hopefully your words will help and inspire others to do better as they have done to me. I really enjoyed your speech and presentation and I hope that someday, you can come back to Vineland HS. Thank you again."
Response on Instagram after Presentation at Hammonton High School
-Hammonton High School
@matthewmaher7: Much love to Hammonton High School. Remember, your destiny is locked into your integrity. And even in adversity, don't shirk the responsibility of accountability. Since your future begins today, please know that it's like a mirror staring back at you, where the reflection is determined by your perception. So how well do you see? #iCONVICTION #telltheworld Thank you @statefarm for funding this program #likeagoodneighbor
carmelcoloredcutie Thanks so much for coming out to our school and sharing your story. Its great that you dont belive in the whole playing the victim card and wanting to people to feel simpathy for you, it shows where your real motives are and they stand for! Keep up the great work, and encouraging young minds to do the right thing! God bless!
Response on Instagram after Presentation at Logan Township Middle School
@matthewmaher7: "Logan Township Middle School, you were most hospitable and respectful, thank you kindly. Remember, your future is only as bright as your last decision." Thanks to @StateFarm for their support, #likeagoodneighbor. Shout out to @soccermayham10 and the rest of the student body #DecisionsDetermineDestiny #Humbled#PainIsTheFuelOfPassion
hannahlafleur17Thanks for speaking to us!
antwon_0279Thanks for speaking. It was very inspirational.
soccermayham10@hannahlafleur17@taylornolen13 @itsal3xa @jasmine.x0_told you I would get a shout!
rnut_03Thanks for the speech
jenna.waldronyou are so inspiring. thank you for coming and speaking to us!
m_daly11Ima kid in the red
billy_joey14I see me!!!!!
bridget.38thank you for speaking so amazingly
michaela.yb8thank you for taking such an amazing picture of Bridget @bridget.38
michaela.yb8but thanks for speaking
butter4umThanks for speaking to us
kyleel12Thanks for speaking!
juliiaaa.13Your story is so inspirational
soccermayham10@jackessilv3 I got the shout
jakesilv3great speech, thank you
juliannacrisfullathank you for the great speech
sheyie_pacenzaHey I'm in that
olivia.189Thank you for speaking to us it was great!
matt.roantree.27Thanks it was great
destinygordonThank you for that beautiful speech
jasmine.x0_Thank you so much!!! Your so inspirational
august.raythanks for speaking today!
alliecassidyythat's meee! but anyway thank you so much for everything you're very inspirational
tiffs.igYour speech is so amazing and inspiring thank for coming to our sh cool today
itsal3xa^^^ it was amazing thank u
gianna.hollywoodIt was amazing thank u @matthewmaher7
tjszila23Hey, thanks for speaking at our school today, it was honestly the best assembaly weve had!
tessafingerr@briannadifebbo I'm confused but okay
sheyie_pacenzaCause he wasn't available last year @briannadifebbo
dat.caitythanks for coming to our school your words r deep and meaningful
devemmithank you sm for speaking to everyone. your words mean a lot to everyone(: -sarah emm
emmaa.faith@laura_cavallaro_ what even happened
sheamerediththanks for speaking today
cbow27Thank you for speaking to us you were very inspirational
hunterlaubaugh00Thanks for speaking to us
rlj120Thank you for speaking to us! You were very inspirational!
my_name_is_rob714That was one of the best speeches that our school has ever had!
jaredred99Wonderful speech, keep it and inspire more to come
z_a_c__c_a_n_n_o_nThanks man you made me realize life changes for the better only if you make it
attack_on_alchemistThanks for everything bro
its_taveProbably going to be the best speech I will ever hear in my life
desireegivinyou're speech was amazing, and I think it taught us all a lot and we now look at our lives differently. Thank you!
joshua_swaguelHonestly I think that was the best speech I have ever experienced and it will always be the best speech I have experienced
kristenn____thank you so much for speaking that was the best assembly we have had in a long time!
jenna.waldronyeah, it definitely was the best assembly we've had in a long time. thank you again for coming, your speech was definitely the best speech I've ever heard. you are a true inspiration.
taylor.ann18thank you very much for coming to speak at our school and sharing your story. I think it all made us take a step back and look at what reality actually is. Your speech taught us all a lot even though we all still have a lot to learn. you are so inspirational and I hope you keep sharing your story so everyone will learn more than what we know. thank you for taking the time out of your day to come talk to our school. have a wonderful day! by the way, my future starts today