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Keith A. Somers    

Founder and COO of Keith A. Somers International Foundation, Actor, Voice Over Artist, & Motivational Speaker

Keith A. Somers, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Keith A. Somers International Foundation, was born in the 60’s and raised in the suburbs of Southeastern Pennsylvania, thirty minutes outside metropolitan Philadelphia and just two hours away from Lancaster County, PA, also known as "Amish Country.” Somers' community was predominately Jewish with smaller clusters of Italians, Germans, Poles, and a very small enclave of Afro-Americans.

He was raised with traditional, Catholic family values in an all-American household complete with biological mother, father, and an older brother. His childhood, judging from the outside, was basically unremarkable. Somers participated in all sorts of extra-curricular activities, such as Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts. He was a Cadet in the USAF-Civil Air Patrol, he played trumpet in the Stage Band and High School Marching Band. He turned professional photographer by age 12, working free-lance for the Philadelphia Bulletin and Ambler Gazette Newspapers.

Yet internally speaking, his reality was not so idyllic. Being the byproduct of the multi-ethnic union between his Afro-American father and his Italian/East-Indian mother, Somers had to endure significant ethnic and class prejudice from his peers, and his community at large. He battled many deep seated, emotional issues throughout his childhood and on into his teenage years, at which time Keith found relief from his demons through drugs and alcohol consumption.

After years of being a teenage celebrity and working as a professional performing artist (singing, dancing and acting), Somers decided at the age of 21 to turn his dreams into reality and moved to Southern California.

Needing to survive while simultaneously pursuing his dream of becoming a successful actor, Somers began work as a security guard. Becoming quickly disillusioned with that job’s prospects, he sought employment elsewhere, and quickly converted vocations within the security field as a trained, licensed and bonded Executive Protection Specialist (aka: body guard).

After nearly six consecutive years of working as a body-guard to the rich and famous, Somers landed his most lucrative contract in November 1992. The very next day, he decided to go out and celebrate his good fortune at a popular restaurant/nightclub on the infamous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

At 2 o’clock the next morning, Somers and his friends left the restaurant/nightclub, and shortly thereafter, he was the initiating party in a multi-car collision which resulted in the death of another young man and multiple injuries suffered by the survivors.

Somers was charged and convicted of Second Degree Murder, and given a life sentence in the State Prison. Determined to come to terms with the magnitude and gravity of his actions, Somers embarked on lifelong quest for complete spiritual and physical recovery. While incarcerated on his life term, Somers availed himself and benefited from every available form of rehabilitation inside or outside the prison walls.

Then, after 18 1/4 consecutive years of model behavior and after nearly a half-dozen parole hearings, Somers was finally released from state prison on parole.

After serving nearly two decades and making a successful re-entry back into his community, Somers is determined to take every ounce of experience, strength, hope, and wisdom that he gleaned through his "trial by fire” and give back to the world at large by paying it forward through all of his remaining days.

His life’s mission is to effectively change the future of our world beginning with the piece of our society most responsible for our future: the youth of today.

Speech Topics

Bullying, Suicide, Depression and other Anti-Social Behavior:

Keith’s story empowers today’s youth who, on a daily basis, are struggling with crime, bullying, gangs, suicidal thoughts, depression, and other harmful/anti-social behavior. Researchers note that bullying escalates in the later years of elementary school, peaks in middle school, and then dissipates by high school. They also note that 6th grade is the worst year for bullying.


Academically gifted students, especially those with high verbal aptitude, are often bullied and are more likely than less gifted students to suffer emotionally. In 2007, the five worst states for bullying in kindergarten through 12th grade were (1) California, (2) New York, (3) Illinois, (4) Pennsylvania, and (5) Washington.

Every day, 160,000 students skip school because they are afraid they will be bullied. Thirty percent of students who say they have been bullied said they sometimes had brought weapons to school. While teachers say they intervened 71% of the time in bullying incidents, students report that teachers intervened only 25% of the time.

Leading up to this incident was the devastating Columbine High School massacre (often known simply as Columbine), where two senior students, Eric Harris and Dyland Klebold. The two students involved were described as gifted students who had been bullied for years.

These two unhappy students embarked on a shooting spree in which a total of 12 students and one teacher were murdered. They also injured 21 other students directly, with three further people being injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair then committed suicide. It is the fourth-deadliest school massacre in United States history, after the 1927 Bath School disaster Bath School disaster, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and the 1966 University of Texas massacre, and remains the deadliest for an American high school.

These and so many other senseless crimes can be preventing when youth are exposed more positive processing to help change their outlook on life.


Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents, accounting for a greater number of deaths than the next seven leading causes of death combined for 15- to 24-year-olds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2006a). Almost 1 in 12 adolescents in high school made a suicide attempt, and 17% of adolescents seriously considered making a suicide attempt, in the calendar year 2005 (CDC, 2006). Nonetheless, there are differences among ethnic groups in the rates and contexts within which adolescent suicidal behaviors occur.

Risk factors for suicide among the young include suicidal thoughts, psychiatric disorders (such as depression, impulsive aggressive behavior, bipolar disorder, certain anxiety disorders), drug and/or alcohol abuse and previous suicide attempts, with the risk increased if there is situational stress and access to firearms.


Over 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent. Depression affects nearly 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 24 million people. More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (17 million), cancer (12 million) and HIV/AIDS (1 million).

Drug & Alcohol Abstinence:

Research has shown that the key risk periods for drug abuse are during major transitions in children’s lives. The first big transition for children is when they leave the security of the family and enter school. Later, when they advance from elementary school to middle school, they often experience new academic and social situations, such as learning to get along with a wider group of peers. It is at this stage—early adolescence—that children are likely to encounter drugs for the first time.

When they enter high school, adolescents face additional social, emotional, and educational challenges. At the same time, they may be exposed to greater availability of drugs, drug abusers, and social activities involving drugs. These challenges can increase the risk that they will abuse alcohol, tobacco, and other substances.

When young adults leave home for college or work and are on their own for the first time, their risk for drug and alcohol abuse is very high. Consequently, young adult interventions are needed as well.

Having evolved from being a drug and alcohol abuser himself, Keith is uniquely equipped to not only speak from the perspective of an alcoholic and addict, but more importantly having amassed nearly twenty-four (24) consecutive years of unbroken recovery, Keith instructs at-risk youth how to make the proper life choices and to abstain from both drugs and alcohol.

Distracted & Impaired Driving:

Keith looks to achieve four (5) fundamental, and interrelated objectives when speaking on this subject matter. 1) to educate youth about the risks and consequences of impaired and distracted driving. 2) to identify the mentality and mindsets that are the ancestor to every irresponsible decision to drive while distracted and/or impaired. 3) to provide youth with safe and healthy alternatives to both distracted and impaired driving. 4) to implement effective support systems by yoking youth to both, respected community leaders and crisis interventionists, to achieve profound and lasting change in attitude and behavior by discontinuing to drive while distracted and/or impaired, and 5) to also be shown how to ambassador and shepherd other youth into the same morally conscious behavior which they learned through S-DAP

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