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Alumnus’ new book aims to inspire people to their ‘breakthrough’ moments

Charles Thomas, MS'09, EdD'14Creighton University alumnus and Alpha Sigma Nu Magis Medal honoree Charles Thomas Jr., MS’09, EdD’14, is out with his second book, a collection of inspirational stories and wisdom inspired by struggle and survival at the personal and professional level. A book signing will be held Sept. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Creighton Bookstore during Homecoming weekend.

Breakthrough: Stories of Resilience, Tragedy, and Triumph is out now from WestBow Press, a follow-up to Thomas’ first book, a memoir titled Scars, Exile, and Vindication: My Life as an Experiment. In both books, Thomas has sought to encourage and inspire through stories of coming face to face with trial and tribulation and winning through by refusing to give up and to seek life’s beauty and hope by living to the fullest.

“As a concerned citizen, I want to share stories that embolden people to enjoy the journey and break through whatever is holding them back from being the best version of themselves,” Thomas said. “I wrote Breakthrough because I want people to know there is never a reason to suffer in silence and walk alone.”

Thomas, who was also honored with the Creighton Graduate School’s 2016 Outstanding Service to the Community Award, is a writer, social entrepreneur, educator, radio personality and community leader born and raised in Flint, Michigan and now making his home in northern Virginia with his wife and children.

A standout basketball player for the University of Notre Dame, Thomas recalls a moment in his high school years when he and a friend, Akil Goodman, were sitting in a restaurant pondering their futures and were approached by a stranger. The man told the high schoolers that one of them would be dead by the time he was 25 and the other would be in prison by 35.

“We just kind of looked at him and said, ‘Whatever, man,’” Thomas recalled. “And he walked off, and that was it.”

But the stranger’s prophecy held true, tragically and ironically. Goodman was shot and killed at the age of 24. Thomas, in a twist, ended up in prisons by the time he was 35 — not as an inmate, but as an educator and motivator with Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources (OAR) of Fairfax County, Virginia, helping incarcerated people rebuild and prepare for a life outside prison walls. He is now the chairman of the OAR Board.

With memories of that night in the restaurant and Goodman’s own dreams of his future, Thomas has persevered to live out their shared dreams and inspire others to make the most of what time they have.

“I want to encourage people and let them know their breakthrough moments are near,” he said of his new book.

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