Changing the World: By Empowering Young People

IPride is unique in that its sole purpose is to provide tools to youth so they can learn to live peacefully in the moment and how to effectively cope with any hardship life may throw their way.




By Dennis Pitocco, BIZCATALYST360.COM


As Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of our award-winning global media digest & Chief Encouragement Officer of our affiliated pro bono social impact enterprise; GoodWorks 360° Foundation, I was delighted to have the opportunity to get better acquainted with Laura Gray, Founder & Executive Director of IPride, a self-esteem, empowerment program for youth. Learn more as you enjoy our inspiring Interview with Laura below ⤵︎


We’d like to hear about your professional journey before IPride.


Starting out with nonprofits in marketing and fundraising, transitioning into manufacturing sales for a Fortune 50 company where I moved into human resources for sales recruiting/training and into my current role with a professional services firm as Director of Business Development. From opportunities and experiences on the West Coast, East Coast, and back home to my Midwestern roots, I have been blessed to work in diverse environments with wonderful colleagues.


Tell us about IPride and the inspiration behind it.


IPride is a self-esteem-building program for youth, aligned, and designed with social-emotional learning standards, placing emphasis on mindfulness, creative thought, expression, and basic physical fitness. For twenty-six years, I’ve borne the dark shame and secret from my tormented childhood filled with sexual abuse at the hands of a close family friend. At the age of thirty-two, I found the strength and my voice to tell all that had happened to me. Little by little, as if peeling the greens away from an ear of corn, I discovered the sweet gold, my light, buried inside of me.


With a renewed sense of self, I rediscovered my gift of words and wrote poetry with regards to my trauma and three of my poems were published. During my late teens and early twenties, I suffered through bulimia, cutting, and an overall disdain for my body. At the age of thirty-four, I decided to get healthy and get certified in multiple areas of exercise and nutrition and began teaching classes at local fitness centers.


In 2011 two words came into my head. I Pride. The words were flashing, at first, like a crosswalk sign. In 2015, the light stayed on, I took a leap of faith and developed the initial curriculum for IPride.


Through my deepest wound and from my darkest days, I felt called by God to use my pain to propel my passion and life’s purpose; to provide kids with the tools to help improve their self-esteem.

What’s unique about IPride?


IPride is unique in that its sole purpose is to provide tools to youth so they can learn to live peacefully in the moment and how to effectively cope with any hardship life may throw their way.


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