On Tour! MP Actor/Author Sal Vance Book Excerpt/Guest Post: Turning Struggles Into Strength
On Tour January 19th-23rd
Actor/Author Sal Vance
Sal is a native of the city know as ‘ Brotherly Love’, Philadelphia PA. He moved to Los Angeles CA after a promising basketball career and made a name for himself through various roles in films, commercials and music videos. Coming from a large family with five brothers and sisters, Sal has learned to communicate and interpret every obstacle in his life, as well as how he’s overcome them. Using his life experience to better his craft as an actor, Sal has also channeled the pain of a difficult past into highly rewarding work with troubled teens, creating pathways for brighter futures via avocation and mentoring of inner city youth.
Author Links: Website
Sales Link Amazon
About The Book
“I wake up every morning imagining what life would have been like if I had a somewhat normal childhood, a somewhat normal adolescence or just a stable environment. I was brought up with none of the above. As humans, we are equipped with the sole survival skills to be strong in order to survive.” Sal is a teenager on a journey from his unwarranted hardship and turmoil, to a dream of making it to college and having a better life while chasing his ultimate dream to play basketball. This keeps him going through the struggle and obstacles he faces such as abuse, homelessness, poverty and starvation, but he never gives up hope for a brighter day. Finding his savior through basketball, and finding God to guide him through with faith to achieve his destiny, Sal starts his journey from Philadelphia, coming across many inspirations along the rough road he has traveled throughout the country searching for happiness and a place to call home. Can a young teen from the urban city of Philadelphia find his way out and reach his goals to end up a success, or will he just be another statistic?
Taken from The Sundial
After waking up in the back of a truck with only mustard, ketchup and relish packets to eat, Sal Vance was determined to escape his state of destitution.
For several months, Vance had no place to sleep and little food to eat while living in Philadelphia. Once Vance reached out to his brother, Ralph, he took a bus to stay at his home in San Diego.
After moving to California, Vance began getting his life back on track by applying to various colleges. He was offered a basketball scholarship at CSUN and decided to enroll as a student. Vance played basketball for the Matadors in 2005. Switching gears, he decided to take a break from school and play professional basketball in Mexico and Guatemala.
Vance returned to CSUN at the age of 30, and is currently a senior majoring in communications.
“I started as a Matador and wanted to finish a Matador,” said Vance. “I love the campus and the people.”
This was just the beginning of the endeavors Vance endured on his road to success. After dealing with abuse, homelessness, poverty and starvation, Vance experienced a turbulent ride as he traveled through the country in search of happiness.
“My father was sentenced to prison when I was two-years-old for the murder of a man,” Vance said. “Growing up with a single mother who was not prepared for the situation she inherited, her frustration turned to pain, pain that myself and my family felt at her hands.”
Former NBA Celtics player and Vance’s cousin Leon Powe recognized Vance’s dedication to basketball and overcoming his impoverished lifestyle.
“He always worked hard every time I was around him,” Powe said. “He never gave up on anything, he always believed in himself and was always confident.”
On top of going to school, Vance recently completed his first book titled “Say No More.” The book entails his personal story of going from poverty to success.
Vance is also an active member of the Los Angeles community. His friend, Arielle Caputo, said he hosts charity events for homeless teens.
Since meeting Vance almost a year ago, Caputo says she watched him hold charity events and give back to underprivileged teens.
“He spoke to 120 youths at a homeless shelter just recently, sharing his journey and overcoming obstacles,” Caputo said.
Caputo said that you could hear a pin drop as she described what it was like when Sal spoke with the youths. She also said that there would be moments where laughter echoed through the shelter courtyard.
Caputo made it evident of how proud she is of Vance for successfully overcoming so many hardships.
“He is a very caring, compassionate and inspiring individual,” Caputo said. “There is talk of turning his book into a feature film, I know he plans on doing multiple book tours, where he plans to donate a lot of books to underprivileged youth.”
Not only does Caputo see Vance in this light, but Powe acknowledges his sensitivity as well.
“Sal comes off as a very strong individual, a very tough guy,” Powe said. “Really, he’s just like a big teddy bear, people don’t really know that when they first meet him but he’s really a nice, soft guy.”
Vance’s family members still reside in Philadelphia, but after his mother passed away in 2007, he lost contact with most of his relatives.
After overcoming such difficult battles, one might think it would create many emotional, physical, and financial setbacks. However, rather than wallowing in his pain, Vance used his disadvantages to bring him success.
“I overcame my struggles with hard work, faith and perseverance never giving up no matter how bad any situation was,” Vance said.
Vance’s mentor, Jermaine Hill, supports his ambition and sees great things for Vance’s future.
“I see a very bright future for Sal because of his determination,” Hill said. “He will not quit until he completes his goals. My hopes are that Sal continues to use his success to mentor and help others as he was mentored and helped along his journey.”
Vance is currently mentors troubled youth in Los Angeles, volunteers at homeless shelters, hosts charity events, writes, acts, models and coaches basketball.
“My future goal is to coach college basketball one day,” Vance said. “I feel that coming from my situation I have an understanding to recruit kids that have passion and hunger and to help kids out that are in situations like I was.”
Vance’s story is motivational and inspiring to many of the people that crossed paths with him. Hill spoke of how Vance has positively affected his life.
“He has demonstrated that anything is possible if you stay focused on God and your goals you will be able to overcome many obstacles along your journey,” Hill said.
After everything he endured, Vance came out on top with a positive attitude.
“If I can make it through the fire and become a success and achieve so much from having so little, anyone can,” Vance said.
His book “Say No More” is available for purchase on Amazon. For more information visit http://www.iamsalvance.com
“Say No More” – Sal Vance
Chapter 1. I Am
I wake up every morning wondering what life would have been like if I had a somewhat normal childhood, a somewhat normal adolescence, or just a stable environment period.
I was brought up with none of the above. As human beings, we are equipped with survival skills to be strong in order to survive.
My name is Salahudin Harun Vance, and I was born in Philadelphia, PA. It was always a struggle growing up in my house. I was the fifth out of six children in the family. My mother, Barbara Vance, was a strong woman; she was a little over the top at times, but she was strong. Being raised by my mother showed me the true meaning of loving someone unconditionally; loving “thy mother and thy father” no matter if they show you love or not.
Thinking back, I don’t remember ever hearing the words “I love you” from my mother until I was roughly 18 years old. I used to think that my mother hated the sight of me because I looked so much like her.
Getting beaten and tortured as a child gave me many nightmares growing up. My mother would always say “if you ever call child protective services on me I will kill you.” After witnessing my mother shoot my younger brother’s father, I believed every word. The thought of telling anyone about the abuse never crossed my mind after that fear that was instilled in me. Abuse in my family was a common occurrence; if you did not do the dishes right when you were told, you got lashes with an extension cord on your bottom and, if she missed, sometimes on your back. There would always be exactly 25 lashes. She would even make us count out the lashes as she gave them to us. My mother would make us lay on the bed as she gave us lashes on our backs and our butts, but then sometimes she would make us stand up and touch our toes. I think that she would come up with a different scheme every time to abuse us more, not even caring about what it would do to our psyches.
I recall one memory vividly. My mother handcuffed my older brother to the stairwell and stripped him naked. She then proceeded to lash him down his back and body until he couldn’t take it anymore. He tore the wooden bar from the stairwell and ran down the street naked to a neighbor who took him in for a day. Unfortunately that was not the end of it. When he came back home, my mother proceeded to repeat the same punishment but she handcuffed him to the strongest post on the stairs so he would not be able to break away again. All in all that was one of the most horrific moments that traumatized me the most.
My mother would also have these spurts of butt whipping tactics in which she would end our whipping with a “run past.” As we would run past her after our whipping, she would whip us one last time. I don’t know why she would do that. She never gave us any leeway. She would even tell us to run down the stairs at times and would miss our butts and whip us in the neck or face. One time she told me to run past her down the stair after a butt whipping. I faked my first attempt and literally cleared the whole staircase from the second floor to the first floor using the bottom of the staircase to brace my fall. After I cleared the stairs I started to look at myself as having athletic ability and began to think that maybe I would someday be a good athlete.
Growing up, all I used to do was either stay at home and watch cartoons or be out with my friends throwing rocks, dirt balls, or whatever we could find at cans and abandoned buildings.
I was tall and lanky with buckteeth and no confidence or coordination of any kind. Between the ages of 1-14, I was constantly being abused by my mother. I think that a lot of the abuse that was given was a result of the frustration she felt having to raise a family of 6 by herself. My father is incarcerated for life in prison because of a murder conviction, so she had no choice but to raise us on her own.
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