Neighborhood Awards: Meet Stan Richards

Every day this week, JET introduces you to a nominee from the Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards “Best Community Leader” category. Come back tomorrow to learn about another individual dedicated to improving the lives of those in their city and beyond.

Today, meet Stan Richards, a true example of “started from the bottom.” From growing up poor and on public assistance in Washington, D.C. to graduating high school with the reading level of a sixth grader to driving buses for 18 years, Richards initially didn’t see a way out. It wasn’t until 2006 that he discovered his purpose in life and went into the direct sales business with his wife, Chereace, and catapulted into multimillion dollar success.

Hoping to inspire others with his come-up story, he released an inspirational book “From the Bus to the Bentley: No More Limits” in 2011 and shortly thereafter The Richards Group Foundation was born. Through this organization, Richard’s goes back into the hoods of the nation’s capital and empowers the inner-city youth to see beyond their circumstances, tap into their God-given talents and discover their purpose.

Going from attending the Hoodie Awards last year to actually being up for a Steve Harvey Neighborhood Award this year is a feeling that Richards describes as nothing short of “amazing.” And if he takes home the honor, the first thing he plans to do is give back to the hood that raised him. In memory of the apartment his mother raised him and his six siblings in, he wants to start an organization called “Project 1335.” His first order of business for “Project 1335” will be a back-to-school launch at his old projects, where he’ll speak to children and give away backpacks and school supplies.

Although Richards story is far from a fairy tale, he says “you can make your dreams come true” if you’re willing to do these three things: “Take action. Face your fears. And learn how to fail forward and fail fast (meaning that if you fail enough, eventually, you’ll reach success).”

To his fellow community leaders, Richards’s advice is simple and straight forward: “Stop talking and start doing.” “Set small goals and take action, because those small goals lead to big things.”

The winner of the Community Leader award will be announced during the Neighborhood Awards ceremony on Aug. 11 in Las Vegas. JET magazine, the official media sponsor, will be on hand for the festivities. Check back here every day this week to meet the other leadership nominees.