The pain Keith Edmonds has endured is written on his scarred face, giving him street cred with the students all over the country he’s trying to reach.
On Nov. 18, 1978, while living in Flint, Michigan, his mother’s boyfriend got angry one night when the then-14-month-old toddler wouldn’t stop crying in his crib. He held Edmonds’ face to an electric heater, horrifically scorching 50 percent of the toddler’s face with third degree burns. His abuser was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
As he grew older, Edmonds started down a troubled path fueled by substance abuse to cope with his emotional pain. But he had a moment of clarity on his 35th birthday on September 9, 2012 — while on yet another drinking binge — when he says he realized he wanted to be a better person.
Keith became self-destructive, which brings on disruption to others in your life. It was a long path and he felt like he was a horrible person. He was looking in the mirror and not comfortable about who he was. Though his upbringing was far from easy – coping sometimes meant shoplifting or alcohol – Keith is a survivor of the horrors he was forced to face, and is resilient not just in spite of them but through them. “Everyone has scars,” he says. “Some wear them outwardly, while some wear them on the inside.” Through Keith's perseverance, he now feels the rewards of wearing both inside and outside scars.
Bearing one’s scars with pride takes courage. No matter what scars they may be, Keith is living proof that no matter the obstacle, there’s a way to smile through them.
Keith has changed his life and decided he needed to help others change their lives as well. Keith has been sharing his story for the past five years but officially started his non-profit foundation in 2016 to help empower abused children. His stories about overcoming adversity, substance abuse, and giving back to your community have inspired countless students around the country.
Keith makes a commitment to audiences to deliver his story with honesty and humor while delivering a message which can lead to personal and community empowerment. As he shares with you, you will learn about Keith's CODE. This CODE can renew your spirit, teach you about resiliency, inspire you to help others, and give you a new perspective of yourself.
Keith is a proud graduate of Central Michigan University. He has been the subject of features in People magazine, CNN Headline News, and CNT segments. He is a sought after speaker and travels across the country changing the course of students through the sharing his personal story. It empowers them to use their experiences, gifts, and skills to improve the lives of other people.