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Jeff Eakins, Sean Covey, Tom Pepin, Lauren Pepin, Tony March

Tony launches the PIBF Leader In Me initiative

April 12, 2019

A few of Tony’s greatest passions came together today: education, working together, and paying it backward!

At Tampa’s annual Education is Key Breakfast, Tony was thrilled to appear with business guru and keynote speaker Sean Covey, to publicly announce the goal of creating ten Leader in Me schools in ten years.

He did it in typical Tony style, with a $25,000 check for Ovett Wilson, principal of Carter G Woodson K-8 School, which is the first school the Pay It Backward Foundation will support.

“We want to inspire kids growing up in the same situation I did, to be bigger and better, the best they can be,”   Tony told the exuberant audience. “This program teaches every individual student that they are the champion of their own cause, and that there’s a future for every single one of them.”

The Leader In Me Program was created by Covey. It helps schools to create well-rounded students by developing the “soft skills” (such as public speaking, problem solving, and global awareness) required to be confident individuals and effective leaders.

Thousands of schools in more than 50 countries have implemented the system.

Earlier in the week, Tony gave Lanear Elementary School administration a $2,000 check. It has offered the Leader In Me Program to its students for years.

“I’ve been to Lanear many times,”   Tony says. “It’s the first Leader In Me school I ever visited, and I just love how they run the program.”

He also stopped by Carter G Woodson School with Thaddeus Bullard, who is partnering with Tony on this Leader In Me initiative.

“This program teaches kids how to encourage those around them, and institutes a sense of confidence,”   says Thaddeus, also known as WWE superstar Titus O’Neil. “They’ll break free of a generational lack of education, and also generational poverty. I’m happy to put my money, my time, and my resources behind this.”

This Leader In Me initiative is only the latest investment in education that Tony has made over the years. He’s big believer in the power of strong schools and excellent teachers.

“When I was a child, living in poverty, school was my place to be safe,”   he says. “More importantly, school was my place to shine. The confidence I developed in school is absolutely the reason I’ve had every single success of my life. Education changes lives.”

Congratulations Carter G Woodson and Lanear! Welcome to the Pay It Backward family!