Felon who turned life around will bring message of perseverance to Lyndonville community

Staff Reports Posted 25 August 2015 at 12:00 am

Victor Woods

LYNDONVILLE – It would be easy to judge someone like Victor Woods. He’s a convicted felon. He spent time in a maximum-security prison after masterminding a $40 million credit card scheme.

But his message is stronger than any assumption someone can make about him: There is nothing more powerful than a dream.

Woods is set to bring his message to Lyndonville and share it with parents, families and community members, along with staff and students. All are invited to the Stroyan Auditorium on Thursday, Sept. 3 from 6 to 7 p.m. as part of the school district’s annual Back to School Night.

Woods will speak to staff on Sept. 3 and will return to speak with students on Sept. 9-10.

“When young people hear my story, I am able to draw them in and tell them how I put those skills to use to change my life around,” said Woods, speaking about the skills that landed him in prison but later became the transferable skills needed to become a national speaker and best-selling author.

Woods served 6 1/2 years in prison for a $40 million credit card conspiracy.

He is the founder and CEO of Success International Incorporated, a former radio talk show host of “Real Talk with Victor Woods” and is currently negotiating movie deal based on his life story.

He also worked tirelessly for over seven years to obtain a major book deal. After receiving 70 rejection notices, he self published, marketed and sold 50,000 copies of his book, A Breed Apart. His diligence paid off and he eventually caught the eye of Simon and Schuster and closed a major book deal chronicling his life story.

“You can have someone come in and tell a kid that you shouldn’t do this and that, but it is different hearing it from someone who didn’t graduate from high school, got a GED, got into an armed robbery ring,” he said.

Woods has been speaking to groups for over 19 years, sharing his story and empowering those who feel like there is nowhere to go. He spoke last year at a superintendent’s conference and that’s where Lyndonville Superintendent Jason Smith found out about Woods. After hearing Woods speak and being captivated by what he had to offer, Smith started working on bringing Woods to Lyndonville.

“I want them to hear from someone new and different,” Smith said. “I want Victor to share with the students, staff and families the power of community and how we can work as a team.”

His visit is made possible with the help of two groups. The Lyndonville Area Foundation is sponsoring the event on Sept. 3 for parents and the Lyndonville Lions Club is helping to subsidize his interaction with the Young Entrepreneurs Club on Thursday, Sept. 10.

“When you start talking about life, it doesn’t matter if you are in the Appalachian Mountains or the city, we’re talking about the kids,” added Woods.