In 2011, Jordon Rooney sat in his college dorm and tried to think of a marketable way to change the minds of young people in our society. He took his personal motto along with his idea and created an organization called, “Never Fear Being Different” (NFBD).
Do you remember being young and feeling pressured to follow the crowd? I know I did. We tried to be exactly like other people or did what was popular in the moment, despite the fact that it didn’t really make us happy. Rooney, 27, of Union Township, PA set out to change that.
While playing professional football in Serbia, he took a shot at turning his idea into a business and partnered with his best friend, David Wright, launching NFBD. It’s an organization/media company that focuses on triggering a social change, and their target audience ranges from teens 13-19, but people of all ages can benefit from the team’s inspiring messages.
Rooney speaks at high schools and college campuses in attempt to help kids become more comfortable in their own skin. Their outreach has sparked some pretty impressive responses. Rooney says, “In each school I go to, I give students an opportunity to admit one thing they are insecure about in front of their whole school. By owning fears, they take a step to being more confident over it. We have had kids talk about depression and suicide, we had someone come out of the closet, some admitted insecurity over their looks, and others conquered their fear of public speaking.” He adds, “It allows for truly powerful moments.”
NFBD has been to 6 states, 4 colleges, 50 high schools, providing workshops, assemblies and mentoring. They also continue to spread their message of positivity to young teens and adults online through their social media pages.
When asked if he could give one piece of advice for someone, what would it be? Rooney replies, “Learn about yourself first. Think through everything. Don’t escape reality. Confidence and the ability to overcome adversity come from within. The more you know yourself and the more familiar you are with your thoughts, the more prepared you are for the emotional battles you will face.”
Want NFBD at your high school or college? Check out their website at www.nfbd.org or follow them on social media at @NFBDmovement.