Looking into a child’s eyes you can see a world of possibilities.  But, North Carolina children face some challenges. According to the 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, North Carolina ranks 34th in overal child well-being. The ranking is a composite index of four key areas including 1. Economic Well-Being 2. Education 3. Health and 4. Family and Community.  Furthermore, U.S. Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey, more than a half million North Carolina children, or 26% live in poverty.  At-risk children face many challenges like food, clothing, shelter, safety, parental support, healthcare and education needed for normal childhood development. When children are at risk, they may never reach their potential physically, socially, emotionally and mentally.  Each of us has the ability to make a difference in a child’s life. Doug Hodges, a PGA Performance Coach and Mental/Emotional Game Mentor, is doing just that through mentoring and for that, he’s our LEAPforLife focus.

The Media Pro  is committed to showcasing people who LEAPforLife… that is, they are Living Passionately and Enthusiastically for Life Doug Hodges is a deeply private person, full of grace and humility. It’s difficult for him to open up about his childhood, “I grew up without a lot of opportunity.  It wasn’t a healthy place,” Hodges says, “and I want to make sure that I help children have healthy, safe and secure lives.”

He discovered mentoring on the golf course when someone introduced him to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Hodges became a BIG and that changed his life.

“I was never able to be present for myself or anyone else until I became a Big Brother,” said Hodges. “Mentoring filled a void and it gave me the ability to trust that everything would be ok. If it hadn’t been for this experience, I wouldn’t be able to commit to relationships.  I wouldn’t be able to be present for my wife or my kids.”

Today, he’s focused his life’s mission on making sure that every child is loved and that each child knows what love feels like.  Hodges is using his passion for golf and creating mentoring relationships between adults and at-risk children.  He’s created  SwingPals, Inc., an organization designed to give underprivileged children in North Carolina and other locations the opportunity to fully realize their potential and to lead confident, productive and enriched lives. SwingPals events foster trust, self-esteem and confidence.  “I want to ensure that every child has the opportunity to explore their potential, to be unencumbered by the challenges in their lives,” said Hodges.

Doug Hodges congratulates a SwingPals participant

Hodges knows that mentoring changes children’s lives.  “It makes them have more self confidence, more self-esteem, more self-awareness. I want them to have the ability to choose healthy responses. I don’t want them to see themselves as victims. I want them to have a healthy perspective to see the world differently than I did.”

According to Youth.gov, 8.5 million youth do not have caring adults in their lives who give them support and provide lasting relationships. The Benefits of Mentoring Young People shows that children who are mentored experience the following:

  • Increased high school graduation rates;
  • Lower high school dropout rates;
  • Better academic performance;
  • Healthier relationships and lifestyle choices;
  • Better attitude about school;
  • Higher college enrollment rates and higher educational aspirations;
  • Enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • Improved behavior, both at home and at school;
  • Stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers;
  • Improved interpersonal skills;
  • Decreased likelihood of initiating drug and alcohol use;                                          

What if Hodges wasn’t doing what he loves?

“I couldn’t imagine not living my passion, I can’t imagine how to answer that. It is incomprehensible.  I used to live a passionless life until I was 30 or 31 – that life was empty—I’d still be in that  same space.   I am so far removed from that former life.   I came to America with $100 in my pocket, got a job,  earned money as a commodities trader, but becoming aligned with my passion essentially ended my career. I soon lost interest in that way of life. The measure of success isn’t about making money. It’s about being authentic, being able to share my feelings.  It didn’t create anything. It was only buying and selling, there wasn’t any meaning. Mentoring became a measure of my success.”

You can see the joy on his face and hear it in his voice.

“It’s immeasurable to the degree of happiness I feel—nothing is more fulfilling than being able to help others and give back. When I give back to other kids I become more complete.”

SwingPals is part of the curriculum at three Durham, North Carolina schools, Neal Middle School, Brogden Middle School and Lowe’s Grove Middle School.  Each year, 100 children from each school are introduced to golf during 6th grade PE. In the spring, 36 children (12 from each school) get to go for additional training and interaction at a local golf course. Those children who continue with the program are then invited to continue with SwingPals for two times per week in 7th and 8th grades. Currently, SwingPals has 15 active matches through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Doug Hodges, PGA Performance Coach and Mental/Emotional Game Mentor, is also the founder of ThinkWorkPlay and is the Ravenscroft Girls Varsity Golf Coach in Raleigh, NC. To become a SwingPals mentor visit www.swingpals.org


When you hear the word rockstar, a lot of images pop into your mind– some good, some bad. In the case of Beaux Foy, founder of the independent rock band, Airiel Down, he’s a rockstar who’s really going places, literally and figuratively. With his megawatt smile, his electric personality, and his amazing joie de vivre, Beaux Foy is inspiring others to dream big, live big and leave the world a better place  than it was when we got here.  There’s no question that Beaux Foy, our latest LEAPforLife honoree,  is Living Enthusiastically and Passionately for Life!

I got the pleasure of meeting and working with Beaux when I worked with Breakiron Animation&Design to create  Airiel Down’s Animated Music Video GorillaWhat I’ve learned since then is that there’s absolutely no stopping Beaux and if you want to catch up with him, you better run fast because he’s not one to be idle — ever! He’s one of the most passionate people I know. But that’s just the tip of who Beaux is. He’s inspiring, he’s creative and he’s humble. But at the same time, Beaux isn’t afraid to go after what he wants and to ask for and often get what he needs to make the next project succeed.

“Never take yourself too seriously, but take what you are doing very serious,” said Beaux Foy, “I like to look at life from a positive perspective even when things are tough. Live, love, laugh for sure, but when it’s time to get serious and bear down, get serious, but always enjoy the ride!”

Beaux Foy surfing the crowd at an Airiel Down concert for the military

Beaux Foy surfing the crowd at an Airiel Down concert for the military
(Photo by Hunter Lee Elliot)

Enjoy the ride, indeeed. Sometimes you’ll find Beaux surfing the crowd at an Airiel Down concert…

Beaux Foy Snowboarding in Whistler, BC

Beaux Foy Snowboarding in Whistler, BC (Photo by Hunter Lee Elliott)

Sometimes you’ll find him snowboarding the highest peaks…


Beaux is a Level 3 Certified, Freestyle Accredited, Children’s Accredited and Trainers Accredited Snowboard Coach.  He was asked to go to Vail this past winter to train and prepare instructors for their AASI Certification exams. In case you’re not up on your snowboarding certifications, that means that Beaux is able to snowboard at the highest level in all terrain. Not bad for someone raised in the South.

But, you’ll always find Beaux choosing to embody a joyful spirit. “My childhood was a bit miserable at times,” Beaux confesses, “I made a pact with myself that I was going to be happy in my adult life and I was not going to do something that I was miserable doing. You can’t control a lot when you are a kid but you have complete control as an adult with the choices you make. I was going to make damn sure I chose a path that was the essence of my soul. And that’s why it’s real!”

Music definitely feeds Beaux’s soul, but it provides him many connections, too. “I’m a people person. I really am,” said Beaux, “When I started writing music, it was to share with people. Otherwise, I would have just sat in my living room and sang my songs for the pictures on the wall. I always wanted to be more than just a musician, so I strive to find a way to make a positive impact on people whether it’s by direct connection or through the music. It is a powerful force. I think everyone is drawn to it in one way or another. It transcends language, culture, gender… I try to follow it’s lead and find common ground to develop something positive, no matter how small, with just about everyone.  Not everyone digs Rock and Roll. But we have found that mostly everyone reacts to positive energy. And that is natural for us. High octane rock and roll that isn’t negative. It’s what brings us all together.”

The 37-year-old rocker is extremely driven. “I’m not interested in mediocrity. I don’t necessarily compete with other people. I compete against myself. I’m trying to get the best out of me everyday and I’m my own worst enemy, if I allow it. I have to keep pushing myself to be the best I possibly can. I won’t be a mediocre me. I will be the exceptional me. Ordinary or extraordinary? Decide.”

Beaux Foy at Dian Fossey International Gorilla Fund, Bisate, Rwanda Africa

Beaux Foy at Dian Fossey International Gorilla Fund, Bisate, Rwanda Africa (Photo by Hunter Lee Elliott)

Recently, Beaux’s been traveling the world for causes he believes in like the Dian Fossey International Gorilla Fund, where he met with the Trackers who are doing all they can to catch gorilla poachers and protect the Silverback Gorilla in its habitat.

Another cause Beaux believes in is the TOMS Shoes, One for One campaign that gives shoes to children around the world who need them.

Beaux Foy in Yida Village, China

Beaux Foy in Yida Village, China
(Photo by Peggy Jiao)

This past year, Beaux spent time in Rwanda and China meeting with the kids who received some of those shoes. “I share the objective of every organization I partner with,” Beaux said, “That is how I decide to be apart of the campaign or not. However, I also enjoy smashing the stereotype that people in Rock and Roll are all lazy, into drugs, abuse alcohol and condone other negative shit. I never thought any of that was cool. Rock and Roll to me is an attitude, and I have bucket fulls of that.”

Beaux Foy at a Rwanda School

Beaux Foy at a Rwanda School
(Photo by Hunter Lee Elliott)

Beaux often goes against stereotype around the world and in his home state of North Carolina. On every tour, Beaux schedules time to meet with aspiring musicians, or sets up talks at local high schools, universities and community colleges. He inspires students by encouraging them to stay in school and strive to be their best at whatever they want to do.


And how many rockstars do you know actually promote reading? Beaux is helping to promote North Carolina libaries with the NC Smartest Card Campaign.  

“A diesel mechanic once told me, ‘Keep living your dream no matter what!’ It seems like such an elementary statement but I found it so profound and impactful,” Beaux said, “No matter what! That’s gold to me man. Don’t let ANYTHING stop you. No matter what!”

Fans of the NHL Carolina Hurricanes are familiar with Beaux and Airiel Down’s music, even if they don’t realize it. Airiel Down’s Hurricane Warning is one of the team’s anthem’s.

In 2011, the USO of North Carolina honored Beaux for its first ever Heart of a Patriot award. When asked about Foy’s award, USO of North Carolina President, John Falkenbury, says, “Beaux is determined, passionate, has an understanding of community and is committed to giving back. While his passion is music, his mission is to serve and give back to those that sacrifice for our freedom.” USO chapters across the nation annually recognize recipients with awards, but only two other entertainers, actor Gary Sinese and actress Karrie Turner have been recognized with the Heart of a Patriot award.

“Just as crippling as fear is doubt. Don’t be afraid of anything and never doubt yourself. Prepare diligently for whatever challenge you will undertake and then confront it head on” said Beaux Foy, “You will never fail, if you never quit. You’ll win! I know it. We are all together in this thing called life. If we take and never give anything back, how can this earth or race survive? We all have to put something back in the pot. It’s like Paul McCartney and The Beatles said, ‘In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.’ The life of a musician is not a glamorous one, but one of service. We are here to entertain people and bring people together to share a moment. If you understand that, your head will never get too big, even with all of the so-called accolades.”

Beaux Foy at Great Wall of China

Beaux Foy at Great Wall of China
(Photo by Phil Arntz)

Beaux has advice for others about living enthusiastically and passionately for life. “I believe the impossible is possible,” he said, “From day one I knew the dream was going to be a hard line, but never impossible. Remember, it’s not enough to just chase your dreams, you have to catch them.  And if you do that with a resilient passion and enthusiasm, nothing is impossible. Nothing! I encourage people to learn more about themselves. Push yourself beyond what you ever thought was possible. You think you know your limitations but the fact of the matter is, there aren’t any!”

Beaux is currently working on developing a documentary series designed around his diligent work ethic to accomplish the seemingly impossible. He hopes to inspire others through stories of motivation,  persistence, sacrifice, and aspirations for excellence.