Victor Woods’ life had taken a turn for the criminal worse, but now rehabilitated, he tells others how not to go down the wrongful path he had taken.
For that reason Franklin County Director of Schools Rebecca Sharber and Sheriff Tim Fuller welcomed motivational speaker and nine time felon back to speak with students at Franklin County High School and to the inmates at the jail.
Woods, by the age of 19, had already been to prison when an upper middle class home never assured he would become an excellent citizen.
A young life of crime landed Woods with a decision that would change his whole outlook on his life.
“I was very rebellious in prison and went into the hole [solitary confinement] several times,” he said. “I stayed in the hole for nine months and got sick and developed an infection in my eye and almost went blind.
“It was there that I got my internal vision and had an epiphany — God had a better plan for my life.”
Subsequently, he began to give uplifting speeches to inmates cheering them not to succumb to the vicious cycle that entraps so many of the nation’s young men and women.
Woods set himself on a course to change his life and make a positive lasting contribution to society.
His advice to the high school audience was simply put in one powerful sentence.
“If you do not have a plan, you plan to fail,” he said, seemingly catching most of the crowd’s attention.
When Woods came to Franklin County in May, he spoke to the student population but did not expect the response he had received from the class.
“I have had hundreds of kids from Franklin County contact me throughout the summer asking me for advice,” Woods said.
“Everything from, I’m 15 and pregnant to I am addicted to drugs, it touches me that I made an impression on these kids and maybe what I told them got through,” Woods said.
During his second visit to Franklin County, Woods spoke to inmates at the jail.
Talking about past experiences and what caused him to change his life captured the inmates’ attention.
Many had questions about changing and doing better for themselves.
Woods graciously handed them cards with personal phone number and address information on them.
The inmates happily accepted these as a token of appreciation and understanding.
Woods explained that people have to do something about their lives before it is too late.
He addressed inmates in the jail’s “D pod.”
“You have to do something about your problems now.” he said. “You have to want to change for yourself, do better for yourself.”
Woods has spent more than 20 years correcting his mistakes by speaking to students, churches, organizations and correctional facilities about the choices that are made and which road leads to nowhere and which one leads somewhere.
Fuller arranged for inmates to have Woods’ motivational published books as reading material.
“We have these people here we might as well at least try to get them on the right track.” Fuller said. “If you put the work into the inmates and give them the tools to succeed, the majority will run with it.”