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Project Footprints
André Norman

Andre Norman, motivational speaker, inspirational coach, and author.

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Biographical Sketch of Andre J. Norman

Andre's life is a story of the seemingly impossible, the remarkable, and the unbelievable. Born into a large inner-city family that struggled to stay above the poverty line, Andre was the child who got lost in the shuffle. As a result, he was neglected forced to raise himself in a hostile environment. With little supervision or attention, Andre suffered from illiteracy until he was nearly eight. With the help of his 3rd grade teacher, Miss Oliver, he learned how to read, and finally got out from under the brutal teasing he endured at the hands of neighbors and even his own family.

Without guidance and structure, Andre began his slow descent into the netherworld of crime, starting with shoplifting and escalating to armed robbery and assault, all while still in high school. One ray of light was his selection as his inner-city high school's first exchange student. He visited London, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. However, this new world was not enough to stop Andre from the path that he was already on. Andre's crimes led him to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons for an 18-25 year term. While incarcerated, other charges --including attempted murder --were added to his resume.

In the early 1990s, Andre made a fateful decision that he would leave prison, attend college, and work with youth. This contributed to his radical transformation from one of the worst inmates to one of the system's best. Andre's work with youth began during this time as a result of prison programs with which he became involved. His transformation took a spiritual turn in the late 1990s when an Orthodox Jewish rabbi befriended and mentored him. His journey continued in the spring of 1999 as a result of an encounter with the Roman Catholic Church's Cursillo program. As a result, Andre became a Christian. Two Roman Catholic nuns became additional mentors. Andre devoted the rest of his time to continuing to work on his attitude, developing self-discipline, and his Christian walk.

On November 15, 1999, Andre left prison focused on staying in Christ and fulfilling his two goals of attending college and helping youth. He is studying at Boston College and has continued to work with young people. Although he became involved in a Protestant church, Andre has maintained his strong links his Catholic and Jewish communities.

Since his release, Andre has dedicated his life to using his story of triumph over tragedy to reach those in need, whether they are behind bars or sitting in boardrooms of Fortune 500 corporations. For nearly five years, Andre has worked with and consulted for various organizations that work with high-risk populations. Incorporating social, interpersonal, and analytical skills into his work, Andre has developed innovative programs for high-risk youth, adults, and corporate executives, done street outreach and mentored ex-offenders, inner-city, and suburban high school students. His program development skills and dynamic speaking abilities have been recognized by academics, elected officials, and other institutions in cities such as Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, London, and elsewhere. Andre has worked with former Attorney General Janet Reno and Washington DC, Mayor Anthony Williams. He has been profiled in the Boston Herald, National Public Radio, and various news media. His lectures have taken him to Harvard Divinity School, MIT, Northeastern University School of Criminal Justice, public schools in Compton, CA, Atlanta, GA, Boston MA, Brooklyn New York, Cohasset, MA and many more schools, adult prisons, youth detention centers and corporate training programs through London Business School. Beginning in the fall, Andre will be a visiting lecturer at Tufts University, where he will teach a course on the U.S. prison system.

He is currently writing his autobiography, Footprints, Andre's message of hope, transformation, and how to turn obstacles into opportunities has inspired countless people to think differently about their lives and purpose. In his spare time, Andre enjoys travel, coaching basketball, playing chess, and watching movies.