Inspirational Subject of The Blind Side, former NFL Player & Founder of Beat the Odds, Inc.
Michael inspires audiences to see their greatest challenges as opportunities. “As I look back, it’s crazy how I got here,” he says. “But it didn’t seem tough at the time. I just lived day to day, did the best I could.”
Michael Oher knows what it takes to beat the odds. As a child growing up in the Hurt Village public housing development in Memphis,Tennessee, he began life with all the cards stacked against him. Violence, neglect, and near constant hunger were the ever- present backdrop of his childhood. He and his siblings were in and out of foster care and, at times, homeless.
“Kids like me usually don’t get to see their dreams come true,” Oher said, “It’s sad, but it’s true. Happy endings just don’t happen in the ghetto unless you’re willing to make them yourself.”
From the time he was small, Oher was determined to do just that, but he knows kids like him need more than a vision and the determination to reach it. They need caring adults to come alongside them in practical ways to help turn the odds in their favor.
That is why today, after a successful career in the NFL, Oher has created Beat the Odds, Inc., a foundation dedicated to empowering kids from hard places like Hurt Village to break the cycle of poverty and realize their dreams.
Oher played football for The University of Mississippi, where he was an All-American athlete. He graduated in 2009 with a degree in Criminal Justice and was drafted into the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens that same year. He started all 16 games his first year, helping the Ravens into the playoffs. The next season, Oher and the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
After five seasons in Baltimore, Oher played with the Tennessee Titans, and then the Carolina Panthers, for a total of eight seasons in the NFL.
Michael Oher’s incredible story of leaving Hurt Village behind to play football at The University of Mississippi is the subject of Michael Lewis 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game (W. W. Norton & Company, 2007). His storyline in the book was subsequently adapted for the film, The Blind Side (Alcon Entertainment, 2009).The movie was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category.
He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness, To The Blind Side, And Beyond.
Oher has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, and The View.
Most recently, he has created the Good Deeds App, designed to quickly and easily connect families with practical needs such as clothing, baby formula or household items with their neighbors who are ready and able to meet those needs.
Oher believes that together we can help vulnerable kids like him reach their full potential. “We can’t help the circumstances we’re born into, and some of us start out in a much tougher place than other people,” Oher said. “But just because we started there doesn’t mean we have to end there.”
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Behind The Blind Side
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What Happened to Michael Oher from “The Blindside”?
CNN Official Interview: 'Blind Side' football player, Michael Oher tells all
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