When Keshawn Dodd was 18, his best friend died from cancer. The loss was severe and catapulted him into what has become his life mission.
“I want people to understand that life is precious,” said the educator, community activist, life coach, husband, and father. He also wants them to know that, no matter what someone’s situation is, “there are people who believe in you, and your faith will carry you through.”
His career has included teaching in two Springfield elementary schools as well as working as an aide for former Springfield Mayor Charles Ryan. He is director of Greek organizations and advisor for the Student Government Assoc. at American International College. He is also a motivational speaker and author of three books and a play titled Who Is On My Side, which are produced through his company, 4King Edward Enterprises Inc.
“My focus with 4King is to develop the minds of youth in education, entrepreneurship, and life,” Dodds said. “I want to make sure today’s young people become better than our current generation. I am big on growth.”
His personal mantra, which he recites daily, “you are better than what you think you are.” He encourages others to adopt it, too.
“It helps me to put things in perspective and know that I can handle anything that comes my way,” he said.
His friend’s death propelled him to write his first book about a character (himself) who morphs into a superhero with overwhelming responsibilities and battles an evil character (the cancer). He read the manuscript to students at Homer Street School when he was teaching there, and their response was so enthusiastic, he ended up publishing it and writing additional manuscripts.
Dodds has been extremely active in civic affairs, is keeper of records for the Springfield Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and has won a bevy of awards, including the 2012 Springfield Cultural Council Artists Fellowship, the Springfield Public Schools Beacon Award, and the Boston Globe All Scholastic Award.