Champaign County missing sailor: ‘A lot of people’ care about him

Dayton native draws on tough urban childhood for motivational work

Program helping urban communities worldwide

Daniel Beaty made it.

The Dayton native, born at Grandview Hospital, grew up in a home plagued by drug addiction and incarceration. His father, a heroin addict and dealer, was in and out of the prison system 58 times.

But when Beaty turned 18, he headed to Yale University, where he earned degrees with honors in English and music. Twenty years later, he holds a master of fine arts degree in acting from the American Conservatory Theatre, has written multiple best-selling plays and poems, and performed them in places as far-ranging as the White House, Ghana and neighborhood churches, and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University.

He’ll share his story and more Friday during a visit to his hometown — part of a six-week national book tour of performances promoting his new motivational memoir, “Transforming Pain To Power: Unlock Your Unlimited Potential.”

“My work has always been about empowering people, getting them to take a stand,” Beaty told the Dayton Daily News this week. “My (written and acted) characters were always fighters, endeavoring to overcome, and I was often writing autobiographically.”

From LA to Capetown

The book offers practical tools, highlighted by excerpts from his plays, for helping people manage the pain of their deepest, most challenging experiences.

“Often, our deepest pain is the path to our highest purpose,” he said. His own path to success started when, as a child, he began reading his inspirational poetry to Dayton-area churches, then regional gatherings and eventually national conventions.

His new book is part of a larger “Transforming Pain To Power” project, sponsored by the Kellogg, Ford and Sherwood foundations, to provide a curriculum for communities struggling with poverty, violence and other issues. It’s currently being piloted in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, and slated for work in Boston and Omaha.

Beaty said he is working with officials in South Africa, where he sang, performed plays and did community work over the holidays, to bring the program to Capetown.

A chance to give back

“I’m really excited to come back to Dayton, and it would be amazing if Dayton would (offer the program) as well,” he said. A local sponsor is required. “It would be a dream to be able to do the work with the youth and families in my hometown.”

Although the book won’t officially hit shelves until March 4, Beaty will have some copies available Friday at his performance at Omega Baptist Church, off Salem Avenue northwest of downtown.

“It’s a chance for me to give back to the Dayton community that has held me in so many ways,” he said. “I wanted to share the tools that I knew had helped me and others.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Protesters demand removal of NYC statue hailing doctor who experimented on slave women
Protesters demand removal of NYC statue hailing doctor who experimented on slave women

NEW YORK — When Sharon Thompson was a girl, she used to get a bad feeling when she walked by an imposing statue of a man on the edge of Central Park near East Harlem.          On Thursday, Thompson learned the story behind the statue when a local news station produced a piece on it...
7 of the craziest, coolest places to stay in Hocking Hills
7 of the craziest, coolest places to stay in Hocking Hills

Ohio’s Hocking Hills region offers plenty of charming B&Bs, cozy inns and romantic cottages to choose from if you are looking to make a weekend out of your road trip. Here are a few options that are off the beaten path to grab a night’s rest in. Experience the magic and tranquility of camping in traditional Sioux Native American tipis,...
Our ‘brilliant’ cat’ sets a high bar
Our ‘brilliant’ cat’ sets a high bar

In the first week of February, this newspaper published an article entitled, “Are cats actually as smart as dogs? New study says so.” Japanese researchers found that just like dogs, cats could “retrieve and utilize information from a single past event.” Both cats and dogs recalled which food bowls they had previously eaten....
What are your joints telling you?
What are your joints telling you?

After sitting for long periods of time, do you feel stiff? Do you have joint pain that is limiting your movement? Has a past joint injury started hurting again and you are not sure why? “One common cause of achy joints is inflammation,” says Matthew Heckler, DO, of Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio. “When bones, tendons, and the cushions...
School means backpacks — be sure to use them safely
School means backpacks — be sure to use them safely

It’s back to school time, and for many students, this means wearing a backpack. While a backpack is a convenient storage place for books and school supplies, if overloaded or worn improperly carrying them can spell trouble over time. A study of pre-kindergarten through ninth-grade students found that changes in posture, particularly excessive...
More Stories