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Bio

Brenda grew up in a middle-class family, but fell into a bad crowd, began using drugs and dropped out of school. During her darkest days on the streets, she endured unspeakable trauma, including being beaten, shot, stabbed, raped and burned with cigarettes. It took hitting rock bottom for Brenda to find the strength to turn her life around, praying and seeking forgiveness and help. Brenda set her sights on education.  As a single mother of her son, Mycole, who suffered a massive stroke at birth, she juggled three jobs while earning her B.S., M.Ed, and Ed.D. Brenda shares her story with a variety of audiences. Her journey has received national coverage, including an article in Reader’s Digest, interviews on CNN News and NBC’s “Today Show”

I woke up in an alley with no shoes; that day my life changed, My goal is to help others by sharing my story of overcoming 10 years of homelessness and addiction. Finding My Shoes !

Brenda grew up in a middle-class family, but fell into a bad crowd, began using drugs and dropped out of school. During her darkest days on the streets, she endured unspeakable trauma, including being beaten, shot, stabbed, raped and burned with cigarettes.  It took hitting rock bottom for Brenda to find the strength to turn her life around, praying and seeking forgiveness and help. Brenda set her sights on education.  As a single mother of her son, Mycole, who suffered a massive stroke at birth, she juggled three jobs while earning her B.S., M.Ed, and Ed.D.  Brenda shares her story with a variety of audiences.  Her journey has received national coverage, including an article in Reader’s Digest, interviews on CNN News and NBC’s “Today Show”.

BRENDA R. COMBS

Biography

Brenda Combs is a symbol of inspiration and perseverance to all who meet her. Only fifteen years ago, she was a homeless crack addict, a petty criminal, a gaunt and hopeless wreck who had been shot, beaten and raped during the endless years when she lived under a bridge in the worst part of Phoenix. It took hitting rock bottom for Combs to find the strength to turn her life around, on a blistering summer day.

As a woman who at one time could not help herself, Combs now spreads a message of hope wherever she goes. Her journey has not been an easy one, however. Growing up in a middle-class family in Northern Arizona, she fell into a bad crowd, began using drugs, and dropped out of school. Her life continued on a downward spiral, leading to her serving jail time and becoming homeless. During her darkest days on the streets, she endured unspeakable trauma – physical, mental and emotional.

Her journey, which has been called “From Homeless to Hero” by local and national media, has received tremendous coverage, including an article in Reader’s Digest and interviews on The Today Show and on CNN. She has also appeared on radio talk shows across the country, and accepted invitations to sing and share her message on stages across the globe, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

“If I can do it anybody can do it. I believe in myself and my ability to do my best. I’m intelligent and I’m capable of achieving greatness. I think every person has inside of them what it takes to succeed. The day I woke up on the streets and someone had stolen the shoes off my feet, was the day I knew I had to change my life. I knew God had a better plan for my life than this.”

Combs began taking major steps to re-enter society as a productive individual. She entered rehab and worked hard to overcome her addictions. While living in low-income housing, Combs took a part-time job at a school located in an at-risk neighborhood not far from the streets that had been her “home.” As she worked with these special children, she knew she had found her life’s calling – to teach and to inspire by sharing her own story of overcoming tremendous obstacles.

Once she set her sights on becoming a teacher, there was no stopping her. As a single mother of a young son who suffered a stroke at birth, she juggled three jobs while earning a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. She taught at a school for children with special needs and continued to pursue her education at Grand Canyon University (GCU), where she earned a master’s degree in Special Education in 2007. And in May 2011, Brenda received a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Education under a scholarship presented to her by GCU – thus, becoming one of their first doctoral graduates. Professor Combs is now a full-time member of GCU’s faculty and she also spends many days of the year traveling around the country educating others about the plight of the homeless community. She shares her story with a variety of audiences, including colleges, professional organizations, youth groups and churches.

Dr. Combs is the founder of Finding My Shoes, a charitable organization that serves the homeless and underserved communities – people for whom she frequently lobbies. Additionally, she and her husband run a transitional program for women who have been incarcerated called Making Things Better Sober Living. Her success rate for this program is an astounding 99%. Dr. Combs sits on the advisory board of Children Mending Hearts, a foundation dedicated to inspiring underserved children through the arts. She also serves as an advocate for Domestic Violence Awareness and, in 2009, Combs was named a National Ambassador for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s “Power to End Stroke” campaign.

1.  I love to dance

2.  Play that funky music by Wild Cherry is my favorite song

3. The beach is my favorite place to relax

4.  I am fan of all things 70’s

5.  Popcorn is favorite snack followed by any type of seafood

The Audience for Finding My Shoes with Dr. Brenda Combs

Brenda Combs’s story has a number of themes that will resonate for readers, reviewers, feature writers, and organizations:

  • homelessness and homelessness advocacy
  • drug addiction and recovery
  • domestic violence and abuse
  • single parenthood and raising special-needs children
  • faith and hope lost—and then triumphantly regained

 

The many facets of Brenda and her story will appeal to a broad variety of market segments: church groups, recovery groups, women’s groups, schools, corporations, African-American organizations, and reading groups.  Her special gift is to make each reader feel as though she is speaking directly to them.

As a middle-class girl who fell in with the wrong crowd and descended into homelessness and addiction, Brenda is uniquely able to offer middle-class readers an intimate, personal look at a world that many of us see only at an uncomfortable distance.  As someone who grew up in the middle-class world but lived for years on the streets, Brenda’s perspective on that experience will be similar to that of a large segment of the book-buying public, yet she will be able to share with us an insider’s view on homelessness, prostitution, drug dealing, and addiction.

Brenda takes full responsibility for the choices she made and the mistakes that had such dire consequences for her.  At the same time, she’s able to show us the genuine difficulties of overcoming homelessness, getting off the streets, and finding a job, especially when addiction is also a factor.  As a sympathetic narrator with whom we’ll identify, Brenda offers a broad readership a unique opportunity to learn more about a world that we may find both fascinating and a little frightening.  For both reasons, we’ll be eager—and grateful—to have Brenda as our guide.

Other potential audiences for Finding My Shoes include:

Readers of Inspirational Memoirs.  As Brenda says, “If I can do it, anybody can do it.” The distance she has traveled—from destitution and desolation to personal and professional success—will inspire readers to overcome obstacles they previously thought insurmountable.

Readers of Stories about Triumph over Adversity. From A Child Called It to Blackbird to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, American readers have shown an unending interest in first-person stories of people who triumph over difficult circumstances. Brenda Combs’s candor, grace, and lack of self-pity make Finding My Shoes perfect for this readership.

Readers of Stories of Faith.  Brenda grew up in the Baptist church.  Even during her darkest days as an addict living on the street, she tried periodically to find her way back to the faith of her childhood. Ultimately, it was her revelation that God had not given up on her that allowed her free herself from her addiction and leave life on the streets behind.  Spiritual seekers, Christian readers, and readers of all faiths will find comfort and sustenance in Finding My Shoes.

Readers of Addiction Narratives.  From Drinking: a Love Story to Beautiful Boy to Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man, readers who have experience of addiction—in their own lives or those of loved ones—are drawn again and again to honest stories that show how difficult and yet rewarding the path to sobriety can be. Brenda Combs’s refusal to sugarcoat her story, or to portray herself as a victim, makes hers a particularly compelling example.

Readers of African-American Narratives.  Brenda is never a victim and always takes responsibility for her choices.  Yet her identity as an African-American woman plays an integral role in her story.  The strength she drew from her family, faith, and upbringing buoyed her in some of her darkest moments.

Dr. Brenda Combs has overcome many things and now is sharing with the world her journey and her inspiration to others. The book release and signing event are just one of many successes to come.

PHOENIX – Nov. 6, 2015 – PRLog –

On this special day, friends, family, supporters, fan followers and more are coming together to celebrate, Dr. Brenda Combs, the woman behind the book and to highlight her major accomplishment.

Event: “Finding My Shoes” Book Signing Event & Party
Date: November 15, 2015
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: Live on Central @ Club Palazzo 710 N Central Ave, Phoenix AZ 85004

Dr. Combs survived 10 years of homelessness, addiction, being shot, stabbed, raped, burned with cigarettes and turned her life around to become an inspiration of hope to others sharing the message that you can overcome, survive, and succeed. She will be sharing at the event her newly released book which describes her incredible transformation called, “Finding My Shoes”. The book is currently available for purchase on Kindle for $4.99 or paperback $20 from http://brendacombs.us or at Amazon.

The “Finding My Shoes” Book Signing Party will begin at 6:00 pm with red carpet interviews, and will include comedy and musical performances, dancing, a shoe Fashion Show, raffle, introductions of special guests, a presentation to the Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia Foundation, Dr. Brenda Combs presentation, and book signing, as well as ending with a Soul Train night.

Brenda has pulled together a strong team of supports to help carry out the full program for the night. The team highlights are Co-producer/Creative Director/Special Events – Jeffrey Lazos-Ferns; Emcee (introduction/welcome) and comedy performance from T.A. Burrows; Red Carpet correspondent for interviews – Eva Louis; Video coverage provided by Andre Stephens; Photography coverage from Elena Thornton; DJ Nelson J Irizarry will be providing the musical sounds supporting the event; songs will be performed by Tiadra Mickels and Amanda E. Hendrix; Spoken word performance by Tara Armstead; Shoe Fashion show BLAZING CURVES & Kathy Blaze Jefferson; Dance performance by Bella Denise Ceballos-Vee;Prayer by Pastor Collin Spencer; Event coordinators Tony Carter and publishing coach ‘Barb Anderson.

Other notable guests expected to be in attendance include Raven Valdes, Patti Stoltz, Zalene Miller Garcia, Kim Langbecker, Shawn Lamb, Dr. Soki Meza, Angela Cookman, Family members Dwight & Sharon, and Dr. Brenda Combs’ son – Mycole.

An additional highlight to the event with be the presentation to the Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia Foundation by Dr. Brenda Combs on behalf of her sister who is affected by Lymphoid Leukemia and is currently on a waiting list for a donation.

For more information on the event, guest and team highlights you can visit the Facebook Event at https://www.facebook.com/events/751607034944020/

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Dr. Brenda Combs

Living proof that the human spirit can overcome the toughest of obstacles, Dr. Brenda Combs’s motto is: “If I can do it, anybody can do it.” With a life story dubbed “from homeless to hero” by the media, Dr. Combs overcame a cocaine addiction and an unrelenting life on the streets to attain a master’s degree in special education, earn a doctorate in organizational leadership, and become a teacher of at-risk youth – all while raising a young son on her own.

Dr. Combs has been listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and featured in Reader’s Digest and has appeared on CNN News and The Today Show. She created the Finding My Shoes event in Phoenix to help the city’s homeless during the winter and is an advocate for domestic violence awareness.

She received her PhD in organizational leadership at Grand Canyon University, where she was the school’s “Ambassador of Inspiration and Achievement,” sharing her story with youth groups, churches, and professional organizations nationwide. Says Dr. Combs, “I believe in myself and my ability to do my best. I’m intelligent and I’m capable of achieving greatness. I think every person has inside of them what it takes to succeed.”

Media Contact
Chronic Behavior LLC – Eva Louis
***@chronicbehavior.com

Book Synopsis

Finding My Shoes is an inspirational book in the tradition of Iyanla van Zant, in which Brenda Combs weaves incidents from her own remarkable life story with material from her successful speaking career.  The result is a unique vision of hope, self-affirmation, and service from an African-American woman’s experience, but with extraordinary crossover appeal. Part of what made luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey or Steve Harvey accessible was the fact that they shared their personal stories of pain and overcoming, Brenda draws a universal message from her personal experience, using her harrowing and hopeful story to inspire a broad audience.

Brenda has codified her hard-won lessons into uplifting stories, suggestions, and advice.  Finding My Shoes is shaped around nine of those lessons, each of which combines Brenda’s current understanding with a compelling vignette from the past.

Finding My Shoes Book Sample

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Part I
Chapter 1: Homeless at Home
Chapter 2: An Odd Shade of Black
Chapter 3: Let the Music Play
Chapter 4: Me, A Drug Addict?
Part II
Chapter 5: A Whole New World
Chapter 6: In the Danger Zone
Chapter 7: Living On the Streets
Chapter 8: You Can Lead an Addict to Rehab
Chapter 9: Mobbin’ and Robbin’
Chapter 10: Losing My Shoes
Part III
Chapter 11: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Chapter 12: Potholes on the Yellow Brick Road
Chapter 13: No Way, Jose
Chapter 14: Back to School

Chapter 1

“Homeless at Home”

Those who had met me at my worst – in the late 80’s to mid-1990s – probably saw me as not much more than a drug addict who relied on crime and guile to support her crack cocaine habit. They might have assumed that I had been raised in poverty, perhaps by a single mom in a community rife with violence and drug abuse. They might have assumed I had dropped out of school early and never held a regular job. That I grew up never feeling loved, nurtured, or safe.

Those assumptions would have been pretty accurate when applied to most of the people I met during my time on the streets of Phoenix.

But that wasn’t my experience.

I grew up in a good home, with two loving attentive parents who sacrificed to provide a safe and stable childhood.

And yet, somehow I never felt I belonged. I cannot really point to any specific reason that I would feel strangely disconnected from that loving family, which included my parents and a younger sister and brother. Yet even as a small child, surrounded by my parents and siblings, I felt as though I was somehow on the periphery of the family.

I wonder sometimes if it is possible to be born with amnesia. It seems like most of my life has been a struggle to find out who I am. If you don’t know who you are, you can’t know where you belong. And to me, the definition of home is a place where you feel you belong. For that matter, I think I’ve been homeless most of my life.

I was born on August 23, 1962 in Bentonia, Mississippi and my parents, who never married, when their separate ways soon after I was born. When I was about two years old, my mother moved to Flagstaff, Arizona – she had an aunt who lived there. My biological dad moved to Los Angeles at roughly the same time.

Soon after the move, my mother married a man the father who legally adopted me when I was five. Although I still consider my biological father a part of my family, my Daddy Payton Combs has – and always will be – my daddy, and a very good daddy at that.

Our family soon included not only my mother and me, but my brother Dwight, and my sister Sharon. Dwight is three years younger than me; Sharon is four years my junior. Our daddy worked extremely hard to provide for all of us. He had no more than a high school diploma, but he had a great work ethic. Most of my school years he worked two jobs.

Flagstaff had a population of about 30,000 when I was a child there. The town was built on tourism – it is the place you stay when visiting the Grand Canyon or ski at Snow Bowl – and education. Flagstaff is home to Northern Arizona University (NAU).

During the day, my dad worked at the dining hall on campus. At night, he would clean office buildings downtown. Although he had little time during the week, he was an attentive father, who devoted his weekends to us. My mom worked as a cook at a restaurant just a few blocks from campus. Although the pay wasn’t great, the hours were a perfect fit for a working mom. She worked from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., which meant she was there to get her children off to school in the morning and back home before we arrived home from school.

Most weekdays my brother, sister, and I would come home after school let out, eat a snack, and do our homework. Sometimes after we finished our schoolwork, my mother would sing with us. I loved these times. Mom put all her heart and soul into her singing. “Amazing Grace” was her favorite composition. Her powerful voice was alto soprano, a cross between Aretha Franklin and Shirley Caesar, was so laden with emotion, it never failed to send chills down my spine. 

Weekends were devoted to family. Because ours was a very spiritual household, much of my social life revolved around church. My mother sang in the church choir and my dad served as a deacon and church treasurer. I grew up singing in church, too. 

When I was 5, my mother decided to learn piano. Each week, her piano teacher would help my mom as she tried to master “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.’’ My mother would practice playing the tune over and over. But each time she would arrive at one part of the tune and mess up. Over and over, she would move through the tune and then hit the troublesome passage and fail miserably.

One day as she struggled through the tune and failed yet again at the critical moment, she turned to her teacher and said, exasperated, “Let’s go have some tea.’’

As the women went into kitchen, I climbed up on the piano stool and began to play “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.’’ It was a flawless performance. When I finished, I looked up to see my mom and the piano teacher standing in the doorway. They had tears in their eyes.

When I was just a little girl, my favorite TV shows were “American Bandstand’’ and “Soul Train’’ and Saturday mornings would find me sitting in the front of the TV transfixed, imaging myself as one of the teens dancing and singing on the shows. I was especially fond of “Soul Train.’’ After the show was over, like most young girls, I would retreat to my bedroom where I would practice my dance moves and sing into my “microphone,’’ which was a hairbrush.

Soon, I began picking out the tunes I had heard on “Bandstand’’ or “Soul Train,’’ by ear on our piano. When I was about eight years old, I began playing the piano during church services. My mom, a deeply spiritual woman, was especially proud of me when I played the piano at church and she encouraged me, paying for piano lessons so that I could learn to read music. Although leaning to read and play music was often drudgery for a young girl, insisting on lessons was one of the best gifts my mom ever gave me. (Thank you Mama).

My parents bought a little house in the predominantly ethnic south Flagstaff for $6,000 in 1966. They worked hard, saved money and, about 10 years later, moved into a nicer home in a nicer area of town. It’s the typical American dream, I guess. They devoted their lives to building a better life for their family. They lived conservatively and dreamed, conservatively, too.

They didn’t smoke, drink, go out dancing, or even out together as a couple for date night. Everything was about working, paying the bills, and taking care of the children. Their dream for each one of us was for their children to have a good education, and when we grew up, to hold a job with benefits, own a car, and a house.

Now that I am a parent, I can appreciate the challenge that all parents face in raising children. Parents want to provide a safe, happy home for our children. And most of all, we want to protect them from influences that will cause them harm.

My parents were no different.

Let me be clear on one important point: I do not blame my parents for the horrible course my life would take. But I do sometimes wonder if my life might have turned out differently if a few things in my childhood had been different.

I didn’t grow up in an abusive home, nor was our home unhappy. But my parents did have some very definite views on child-rearing and the rules they established from my perspective served to alienate me from my peers. They were extremely overly protective. I understand it now, but not back then.

Sleepovers were not allowed. When my friend Mimi from NAU invited me to her birthday slumber party, my mother said no. “The seldom you visit, the better friends you’ll be,” she told me. I never once spent the night at a friend’s house during my childhood.

In junior high my friends Viola, Liz, and Christine invited me over to their houses after school, but I was not allowed to go.

I was not allowed to date as a teen. I could attend school dances, but was required to leave by 10 p.m., about the time the dances were really getting started.

Just about anything we did outside of the home we did in the company of family. I never really got to know many of my classmates outside the narrow confines of school.

Young girls, I am convinced, learn about themselves through their friendships. But when I look back on my childhood, I realize that I never developed the type of close friendships most girls dream about. I had friends but I also had trust issues even back then so I never had that close friend with whom you can share your deepest fears, insecurities and dreams.

Without those friendships, I withdrew into myself. With no one to confide in, I soon began to feel that the self-doubts and insecurities that a young girl feels were unique to me. Left alone with those fears, I began to develop a poor self-image.

I would listen to the other girls talk about the places they went, things they had done, the sleep-overs and dates and house parties and I realize that I had nothing to share. What’s more, the girls seemed to have an air of confidence about them. Going to parties and dances enabled those girls to be comfortable around boys in social settings. Me? I was painfully shy and awkward around boys, so I didn’t get much attention from them. At least not from my point of view.

It was the close, best-friend relationship that I most desperately wanted, though. Let me be clear I had friends. Friends to hang out with at lunch, in between classes, school dances, and I was grateful and appreciative of them in my life. I also had casual friendships. These never developed any real close bonds. I found that it was much easier to stay to myself. I felt ugly and strange and unlikable. I was different. I hated being different. Most kids do.

When I turned 16, I was able to convince my parents to let me have a birthday party. To me, the party represented a chance to really connect with my peers socially. Our family had just moved from the south side to the north side of town. House parties were what my friends were used to. So when we planned it, I asked my parents if we could have a cake, some chips, and some punch. My parents’ notion of a party turned out to be as sharp contrast to what I had envisioned. Essentially, the party they planned would be the sort you would throw for a 12-year-old.

Early on, I remember one of the girls plopping on the sofa and muttering, “This is so boring!’’

Everyone made some excuse to leave early. I was crushed. I was humiliated and embarrassed. I went to bed early and cried myself to sleep.

I’m certain my parents didn’t impose these rules out of cruelty. I think, for them, the rules – rigid though they might be – were intended to shelter their children from the dangers they saw all around them. In our neighborhood, you didn’t have to look far to find teens that were using drugs or getting pregnant or committing crimes.

My parents were determined to protect their children from those dangers. Now that I am a parent, I can appreciate those fears.

But in my case, at least, their efforts to shelter me served also to isolate me. I also think that, to a large degree, the problem was a matter of personality.

From my earliest memories, I was always the one in the family who loved adventures, who loved to try new things. That curiosity, I think, was a natural byproduct of my creative nature. Dwight and Sharon, much like my parents, seemed to find comfort in the familiar. But for me, the rules were a prison, keeping me away from everything new and exciting.

My parents never really understood that. To them, my desire to explore the world outside the narrow confines of home, family and church were the mark of a rebellious spirit. My parents preached humility, church, and family. But I wanted to be in the spotlight. To them, that represented a lack of humility, a flaw in my character that could only be corrected through strict adherence to uncompromising rules.

When I was 12, my mom told me that about my biological father. She told me my biological father was a man named Walter Bell, who was now living in Los Angeles with his wife, Hazel.

Over the next couple of years, I re-connected with Walter and his family, which by then included two half-sisters, Jackie and Pam.

The more I learned about Walter and his family, the more intrigued I became. Walter and  Hazel unlike my parents, whose lives revolved around family and a small circle of friends, traveled in much larger circles. They worked hard, and raised their family, but they also went places, socialized, smoked cigarettes, drank, and had house parties. Compared to my very conservative parents, Walter and Hazel lived exciting lives, constantly being exposed to new people and new experiences in a big city.

When I was 14, I ran away from home. My plan was to go live with Walter and Hazel in L.A., the city that had Hollywood, concerts, comedy shows, fashion, and celebrities. How much more interesting it would be than Flagstaff, with its one roller rink, movie theater, and modest mall. I thought I was being so clever the day I snuck out of the house bright and early, headed to the Greyhound bus depot, bought a ticket, and headed for L.A. I made it as far as Phoenix before I got caught. 

I realized that if I couldn’t physically escape, I could escape in another way. More and more, I retreated into my own fantasy world.

When I was a sophomore, I stumbled across a book called Two Girls from New York. It was the tale of two teenage girls living in a world of glamour and glitz. I must have read that book twenty times or more. Before long, I began to see myself as one of the characters in the story, living in a big city and pursuing my dreams. I saw myself in limousines and fancy clothes and fine restaurants. In my fantasy, my name was up in lights and people wanted to know me, and to be my friend. How different that would be from my real life.

“Stop dreaming,” my mother said to me over and over each time I voiced my hopes of one day singing on Broadway or even on TV, maybe even living in New York City or L.A. I can remember her telling me over and over again while she was driving the three of us in the car, or during the times the whole family was sitting at the kitchen table, or as she and I worked in the garden together. “Stay in school and get an education, so you can find a good job with benefits.” Both of my parents were practical people.

After a while, I learned not to share my dreams. 

 

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Grand Canyon University Doctorate Graduation

Grand Canyon University Doctorate Graduation

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2015 Sexy Women Calendar Miss August

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Samaritan Feet International Gala 2014

Samaritan Feet International Gala 2014

Blazing Curves Launch Party July 2015

Blazing Curves Launch Party July 2015

Speaker One Sheet

2875-brenda-combs

Brenda Combs

is a symbol of inspiration and perseverance to all who meet her. Only fifteen years ago, she was a homeless crack addict, a petty criminal, a gaunt and hopeless wreck who had been shot, beaten and raped during the endless years when she lived under a bridge in the worst part of Phoenix. It took hitting rock bottom for Combs to find the strength to turn her life around, on a blistering summer day.

As a woman who at one time could not help herself, Combs now spreads a message of hope wherever she goes. Her journey has not been an easy one, however. Growing up in a middle-class family in Northern Arizona, she fell into a bad crowd, began using drugs, and dropped out of school. Her life continued on a downward spiral, leading to her serving jail time and becoming homeless. During her darkest days on the streets, she endured unspeakable trauma – physical, mental and emotional.

Her journey, which has been called “From Homeless to Hero” by local and national media, has received tremendous coverage, including an article in Reader’s Digest and interviews on “The Today Show” and on CNN. She has also appeared on radio talk shows across the country, and accepted invitations to sing and share her message on stages across the globe, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

“If I can do it anybody can do it. I believe in myself and my ability to do my best. I’m intelligent and I’m capable of achieving greatness. I think every person has inside of them what it takes to succeed. The day I woke up on the streets and someone had stolen the shoes off my feet, was the day I knew I had to change my life. I knew God had a better plan for my life than this.”

Combs began taking major steps to re-enter society as a productive individual. She entered rehab and worked hard to overcome her addictions. While living in low-income housing, Combs took a part-time job at a school located in an at-risk neighborhood not far from the streets that had been her “home.” As she worked with these special children, she knew she had found her life’s calling – to teach and to inspire by sharing her own story of overcoming tremendous obstacles.

Once she set her sights on becoming a teacher, there was no stopping her. As a single mother of a young son who suffered a stroke at birth, she juggled three jobs while earning a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. She taught at a school for children with special needs and continued to pursue her education at Grand Canyon University (GCU), where she earned a master’s degree in Special Education in 2007. And in May 2011, Brenda received a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Education under a scholarship presented to her by GCU – thus, becoming one of their first doctoral graduates. Professor Combs is now a full-time member of GCU’s faculty and she also spends many days of the year traveling around the country educating others about the plight of the homeless community. She shares her story with a variety of audiences, including colleges, professional organizations, youth groups and churches.

Dr. Combs is the founder of Finding My Shoes, a charitable organization that serves the homeless and underserved communities – people for whom she frequently lobbies. Her success rate for this program is an astounding 99%. Dr. Combs sits on the advisory board of Children Mending Hearts, a foundation dedicated to inspiring underserved children through the arts. She also serves as an advocate for Domestic Violence Awareness and, in 2009, Combs was named a National Ambassador for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s “Power to End Stroke” campaign.

Most Requested Topics:

  • From Homeless to Hero: Overcoming Trauma & Changing Your Life: A little over a decade ago, speaker Brenda Combs was a homeless crack addict and criminal who had been shot, beaten, and raped. Today, having completely turned her life around, the media has lauded her journey as being “from homeless to hero.” A single mother who successfully obtained a doctorate in organizational leadership, Dr. Combs motivates others with her inspirational story of perseverance. “If I can do it anybody can do it,” she says. “I think every person has inside of them what it takes to succeed.”

  • I Believe in Myself: A dynamic keynote speaker, Brenda Combs addresses larger groups in this one-hour presentation on self-esteem and motivation to turn any life around. Dr. Combs can also facilitate a 45-minute interactive program designed for smaller groups, in which she works individually with each person to help create a vision and life goals.

  • Maximize Your Net Worth: In “Maximize Your Net Worth,” speaker Brenda Combs provides an inspirational talk on how to use one’s gifts and talents to create your own success. Dr. Combs can also facilitate a 45-minute interactive program designed for smaller groups, in which she works individually with each person to help create a vision and life goals.

  • From Rags to Enrichment: “From Rags to Enrichment” is Brenda Combs’ personal story, which can touch on such topics as domestic violence, the importance of education, stroke awareness and prevention, rebounding from divorce, single parenting, and drug and alcohol abuse and recovery. Dr. Combs can also facilitate a 45-minute interactive program designed for smaller groups, in which she works individually with each person to help create a vision and life goals.

Contact

Booking/Speaking request please contact: 

Laura Schultz Holden
The Butler Lappert Williams Firm
250 Park Avenue
7th Floor
New York, NY 10177

(212)572-4842 Office
(212)658-9500 Fax
lh@blwfirm.com
www.blwfirm.com

Upcoming Books

Finding the Right Shoes

100 Days of Inspiration


Letters of Inspiration