Interview News

Shana Washington Speaks Life into the Nation’s Youth

by Shriya Raja

“Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you, doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone.”

– Lisa Olivera

Mental health is an extremely broad topic and can affect people in many ways. Talking to Shana Washington, the CEO of Shana Speaks Life, gave me an entirely different perspective on how our nation’s youth are affected by these mental health issues, especially in racial minorities.

Shana Washington was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is married and has a 16-year-old son. She has two degrees in business management and is very passionate about helping young women discover themselves.

As a teenager, Shana had trouble processing her mental health. She felt as though no one could understand what she was going through. Being a part of a minority, it was looked down on to get help or go to therapy. Those who sought help were considered weak or fragile like they couldn’t handle life. In reality, however, it was the complete opposite. Those who are brave enough to share their experiences and their mental health are strong. Going to therapy should not be looked down on.

People that are a part of minorities tend to think that they have no one to turn to. However, there are always people around them that are probably going through the exact same things they are. By talking with Shana, I discovered the importance of sharing your experiences. Mental health issues can seem enormous and impossible to recover from when you’re alone, but when you have the ability to talk to someone that understands, it may seem a little less daunting.

Shana Washington is a role model for women around the world. She has experienced the struggles of dealing with mental health issues and has risen above them to help others who feel as though they have no one to talk to. She is a role model, a mentor, and a friend to anyone who needs one.

(Article also available in July Newsletter)


WFAA 8 Interview

Lori Hoff sits down with WFAA about National Youth Week.

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Morning Cup of Joe Interview


Fox 32 Chicago Interview

Fox Chicago interview with Mike Caplan


Fox 5 Vegas Interview

Fox Vegas interview with Monica.


FocusAtlanta Interview

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Valder Beebe Show

Lori Hoff talks with Valder Beebe.


Dallas nonprofit to spearhead National Youth Week in June

Just about any person who spends time with teenagers is likely to say their issues today are more intense, challenging, and even life-threatening than in earlier decades.

Dallas resident Lori Hoff is leading a multicultural, national crusade to equip young people to deal with conflicts, temptations and dilemmas that could derail them as they struggle to grow up whole and healthy.

Hoff wears many hats as both a professional and volunteer, including communications executive, faith minister and youth counselor. For a few years, she has been moving methodically toward launching her first national youth crusade, which is set for next month.

As founder and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Outreach Ministries Inc., she will spearhead the first National Youth Week, June 13-19, in various cities.

The week is designed to teach youths skills for coping with the modern pressures of their lives, including bullying, drugs, sex, gangs and peer pressure. The week also will involve the youths in positive outreach projects that help them see their value to society as they help others and make a difference in the world.

“There are so many negative comments and stories about our young people today,” Hoff said in an interview. “We want to take time out to celebrate their potential and promise. We want to give them tools and action steps in that week that they can continue throughout the year.”

Participants will go to workshops and embark on projects that include visiting the elderly, cleaning parks, and helping food banks feed the hungry. Counselors also will instruct youths on how to ferret out appropriate role models and mentors. And the youths will do activities designed to help them learn to talk to, share their feelings with, and support each other and their peers.

Hoff, who was born in Washington, N.J., says challenges she experienced growing up equipped her to identify with what society calls “at-risk” youths — those whose lives could easily be wrecked by struggles they face. The adults in her life were unstable, emotionally absent; and her one caretaker died. She ended up living alone as a teenager with no support system. But she encouraged herself, earned a master’s degree, and honed her professional and volunteer activities.

“I was in a very dark place,” Hoff said. “I never want anyone to experience what I went through. It made me an advocate for young people.”

Hoff wrote the book Teen Code: A Rock-Star’s Life as a resource book for teenagers and people who influence them, including faith leaders, schoolteachers, and family members. The book shows youths how to gain the satisfaction of living the idealized rock star’s life by using their natural abilities to serve others. The book also presents some biblical principles as basic guidelines for successful living.

The former Big Brothers Big Sisters board chair in Middlesex County, N.J., said the week also will feature the launch of a cellphone app that youths can download, then enter their ZIP code and gain around-the-clock access to area counselors to help them through dilemmas and stressful situations. Future goals include giving adults tools to be better parents, reducing violence toward and among teenagers, and empowering them to move upward “when no one is encouraging you,” Hoff said.

To learn more, visit, call 844-469-9872 (844-4NY-WUSA), or email

By: Norma Adams-Wade, Special Contributor

Original: Column Post


KMET Radio

Lori Hoff talks with Aaron Sanchez from ABC 1490 AM KMET.



Author Lori Hoff’s Interview on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by Brian Feinblum.

Teen Code: A Rock-Star’s Life

1 What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book? I feel that parenting is a lost art, raising children takes time and energy and one thing I have always said to my youth is one wrong decision can affect you for the rest of their life.  In my teen years I had no one to help me with decisions and wound up homeless and with no one to turn to for help.  I would always give advice to my friends about parenting and talk about the importance of helping the youth of this generation and they really encouraged me to write the book. I had the idea for over 10 years so this is long time coming.  I have always spoke in short bullets so I decided it would be good to share these hints with our youth today so no young person has to go through what I went through in my younger years.

2 What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? The book is about life skills lessons on topics that are young people are looking for answers about Friends, Anger, Bullying, Gangs, etc.  I believe there are many audiences: starting with all young people 11 years of age and up, foster teens up to age 20, parents looking for talking points to connect with their youth, mentors, teachers, counselors and anyone working with young people to help empower them to be great and become a productive member of society.

3 What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? They will have necessary tools to make a difference in their communities when they are faced with choices. They will have the information to make the better choice. In the words of one of my readers Gloria “Teen Code is an excellent book filled with great advice on how to deal with school, love and friendships.  It shows young adults you aren’t alone and there are many teenagers going through the same thing.”

4 What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? If you are passionate about a subject and you feel your writing can help, don’t WAIT!!!  Start writing and don’t stop no matter what challenges your face until your voice is heard.

5 What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? I think we are definitely trending towards e books and the spirit of teaching people to empower yourself to be the Change. I think the publishing industry is heading more towards self-publishing like I did.  I just got lucky that one of the young girls I mentored when she was 15 is now an editor and helped me with my projects but there are a lot of resources for people to self-publish.

6 If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? Our youth are our present and our future.  Youth are loving the wisdom this book gives — it answers the troubling questions you have and if you are looking to connect with youth it will give you that bridge you need to start the conversation.  Everyone needs a conversation starter.

Lori Hoff is the CEO and founder of OMI (Outreach Ministries Inc) a nonprofit helping at risk youth. OMI is leading the first National Youth Week for across the US on June 13th. Hoff  was the Board chair for Big Brothers Big Sisters and established a food pantry for the working poor in Middlesex County.  She also worked with the State of NJ as a therapist for at-risk youth helping them to stay in school and become productive members of society. Along with her nonprofit work she is also a full-time Manager in the Technology And Engineering space for AT&T in Dallas, Texas and was the  National Mentoring officer for Women of AT&T for 4 years. Connect with Hoff on: Facebook,, Instagram,  Twitter or consult:

Original: Blog Post