Stedman Graham brings message to mall

NILES – Oprah Winfrey’s beau and a slew of anti-bully activities worked to send a message to every generation Saturday afternoon at the Eastwood Mall.

Stedman Graham signed copies of his newest confidence-boosting book, “Identity: Your Passport to Success,” for many excited fans outside BAM! Books.

“Focus on what you love that is always key advice,” Graham said.

That’s just what several of his fans said they plan on taking to heart. Torenne Wilson, 29, of Warren, stopped by to get her book signed before heading to work in Boardman. She said her passions are for helping people and fashion.

A Kent State University student taking the semester off, she said she is hoping the book will help springboard a combination of her passions.

“Maybe I’ll see if I can pull them together,” she said.

Youngstown State University sociology and psychology major Steve Hallas, 28, came to get his book signed after attending a speech by Graham on Friday at the university.

Hallas said his mind is already spinning on how to take his love of voice impressions to the next level. He said he will be researching professionals and trying to find contact information for them online before posting a video of his impressions to YouTube.

Stedman’s advice reaches several age audiences and his previous works are geared toward high school students and adults.

“What makes us equal are 24 hours. Everyone has 24 hours. The question is how to use those 24 hours,” he said.

Ruth Dancey was encouraged by Stedman’s tips, noting that she is retired and he told her that she should never stop pursuing her identity and dreams.

For the younger ones, Stedman said identity seeking should begin with parents.

“It should start with the parents finding who they are and then with the children from there,” he said.

Meanwhile in the mall’s center concourse, magicians performed and children made crafts or got their faces painted as part of the mall’s family fun day with an anti-bullying theme.

“For me, it’s very important for then to learn the right thing as soon as possible,” Jenn Meyers of Girard said as her 2- and 3-year-old daughters painted gingerbread man cutouts.

Morgan Templeton, 9, with cousin Tiffany Hull, 10, and their grandmother Anita Templton came out to the event from Sharon, Pa. As they dressed up in bright boas and sunglasses, Morgan Templeton shared what she’s been taught about bulling.

“I think it’s not good. You have to stand up and tell an adult or a teacher at school,” she said.

The girl’s would surely agree with Graham’s words of wisdom: “Instead of letting the world define us with labels we need to define ourselves.”