• Anne Royse

For those who cheer for the underdog!

Dante and I used to bump into each other around the office from time to time. We’d talk about art, music, and dancing, among other things. We laughed when he expressed genuine surprise that I know the legend that is Tupac. But I mean, come on! It’s Tupac!

One day Dante got wind that I had written a book.

“Would your book appeal to someone of my demographic?”

“I don’t know. Let’s find out.”

I told Dante, that at the end of the day, the overarching message of my memoir, LOVE, ME, is this:

No matter your lot in life, there’s a reason you’re here.

I told him about how my parents were advised to turn away and not even consider adopting me as a baby, because of a deformity. They gave me a second chance at life. Years later my birthfather wanted a second chance with me. But I had never wanted to meet my birth parents. That could get messy.

And then I learned he was a severe addict in prison. He robbed a bank. But he was also an educated man with the soul of a poet. I was drawn in by his beautiful writing, and we ended up corresponding anonymously for eight years. He found his purpose behind bars. He taught grown men to read. One prisoner wrote that because of my birth father, he can now go home to read to his little girl for the first time.

I figure if an alcoholic in prison can find purpose, there’s hope for the rest of us.

Through a series of magical events, I found myself working with millions of kids around the world to find their purpose to help others. My favorite stories were the underdogs. The kids everyone else counted out. I had the joy of working with students from an inner-city school that often made headlines for drugs and shootings. This time, they made front page news when they raised over $20,000 in just two weeks, plus a car and a home renovation for a family about to be evicted because the single mom lost her job while caring for her son with leukemia. The principle said the students were walking tall. They were being recognized for their heroic efforts. Whether you come from humble means, disability, or whether you’re battling addiction, or have made mistakes in the past, you can still put something good into the world.

Dante nodded thoughtfully as I shared all of this.

“I did not expect that. Not one bit,” he said, “Now that’s a book I’d like to read!”

“Thank you, Dante, you made my day! May I get a picture of us and blog about our


“Let’s do it some place iconic,” he said, “Let’s take it in front of Ghandi.”

Dante and Anne with a little inspiration from Ghandi

Dante and I may look a little different on the outside. You and I might, too. But I think there are a whole lot of us who just want to feel like we matter. Everyone matters. Let’s leave the world better than we found it in our own special way.

Thank you, Dante, for listening, and for believing that this story matters.

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