Over the past 17 years that I have served as the coordinator of the Elwood/ John Glenn High School Natural Helpers Program and the Long Island Natural Helpers network of schools, no other motivational speaker has touched the hearts, minds, and souls of young people as has the character education presentation of Officer Paul Failla. Students and teaching staff who have had the unique opportunity to listen to Paul are consistently uplifted by his positive message about the resilience of the human spirit and by the power of people to make lasting changes in their lives.
Learning to cope with difficult emotions such as fear, despair, anger, doubt, anxiety, and guilt is no easy task, but Paul’s inspirational life-stories, his sense of humor, and his degree of comfort with self- disclosure speaks to every person in the room. The total silence within a large audience of teenagers is their testament to this man’s genuineness about sharing the challenges in his own life, and creates the magic that breaks down the walls that typically divide us.
Paul is a living lesson in what is the universal search of all people- the search for love, companionship, belief in oneself, and the quest for inner peace and happiness.
Each year when I ask my peer leaders for suggestions about speakers who can deliver the message of hope, respect, and caring for each other, their response is the same-“we gotta get Paul back”!!! As a psychologist and peer educator of nearly thirty years, there is no higher honor than this.
We in the Natural Helper’s community are thankful and very appreciative for the friend we have found in Paul Failla. Every teenager, teacher, and school administrator in America should be gifted with the memories and personal challenges that Paul leaves behind. Do NOT miss this presentation!!!
Anthony Pantaleno, PH.D.
School Psychologist Natural Helpers Trainer
“Paul Failla’s students centered presentations teach tomorrow’s future to make good decisions in life. His vigor and verve taps into each teen’s basic goodness, beckoning the individual to lead enthusiastic altruistic lives. Mr. Failla’s personal anecdotes from real life situations and experiences encourages high schoolers to believe in themselves and to develop trust in significant others they admire and love. His message is one of inspiration and hope which cannot help but be taken to heart by everyone in his audience. He has performed such miracles in the lives of my students for well over a decade. His vision is timeless and is deserving of every student in America. I applaud his tireless energies and life mission to help teens successfully transition themselves from childhood to adulthood. President Theodore Roosevelt’s words ring in Mr. Failla’s performances. “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” In both worlds, the world of dreams and hopes, and the real world of responsibilities and expectations, Failla’s message is the same; “Always try to do the right thing, and if you do not know what that is, ask for help from those who do.”
Patrick J. Cauchi
Teacher and Administrator
Longwood Senior High School
Middle Island, New York
I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Paul Failla since I began my career as an educator in 1987. During this period of time, I have hosted Mr. Failla’s student presentations as a classroom teacher, high school assistant principal and, in my current role as a middle school principal. Through the years Mr. Failla has proven to be a dynamic and gifted speaker who can captivate his audience. Whether speaking to a class of twenty five students or at a school assembly, he is the rare individual who can make the students think and learn while enjoying themselves at the same time.
Mr. Failla’s experiences as a Suffolk County Police Officer and professional actor complement and enhance his ability to address one of education’s most vital topics—character education. Through role- playing, characterization and interactive discussion, students learn skills to improve their leadership, communication, and decision making abilities. Also, by addressing issues that are engaging and relevant to today’s youth, Mr. Failla is able to teach students about values, diversity, tolerance, responsibility, respect and interpersonal relationships while stressing the importance of family. After successful completion of one of his workshops, students leave with the coping skills necessary to avoid destructive decisions regarding drugs and alcohol, weapons, and violent behavior.
My personal knowledge of Mr. Paul Failla allows me to say with confidence that he is a man of integrity and an excellent role model for the students. He has become a fixture at our annual Anti-Violence Week campaign and comes with my highest recommendation.
Charles D. Morea, Principal
Ronkonkoma Junior High School
Through dedication and a continued commitment to our students, Paul Failla uses the power of education to transform young people. In speaking about issues concerning prejudice, bigotry, intolerance, family struggles, stereotyping and race, Paul inspires students to achieve and live their lives in a positive way.
Longwood High School
As an educator, I rely on many outside sources to supplement my courses. Paul Failla has consistently been a reliable resource for all of my classes. His character education programs are diversified, riveting and stimulating. Students learn invaluable concepts with respect to tolerance, respect, appreciation, and character development. I have witnessed Paul Failla’s program in a variety of classroom settings and am amazed at how he imparts information in such an unconventional yet impressionable way. I will continue to grant my students the opportunity to engage in such a gripping program and feel honored to participate in these workshops!!!!
Nancy G. DiMonte
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Paul Failla approximately four years ago at a workshop he gave for parents in a school district other than my own. After Paul thoroughly mesmerized and emotionally drained the entire group for an hour and a half, I knew that this man had a special message that needed to penetrate all the school districts and be heard by students and their parents alike. It became my mission to make sure my children’s school district and our entire community received his workshops. The school administration knew immediately that this man could make a difference and our children and parents needed to hear his message on a consistent basis.
Paul Failla has an ability to take hold of our heartstrings, to make us cry, laugh and gain intense insight into ourselves and help us become better human beings. His knowledge and experiences as a police officer, his value system and devotion to making each person the best they can be, his sensitive nature and his talent as a theatrical actor, make each workshop incredibly memorable, thought provoking and life altering. He has his audience on an emotional rollercoaster throughout the entire workshop. Our students are at impressionable ages and incredibly receptive to Paul. He does not lecture them but thrives on their interaction and participation. Paul creates emotional contact with each student and parent who attends his workshop. He relays true stories that captivate everyone’s attention; teaching lessons that help foster character development and positive decision-making
Paul Failla is committed to helping us help ourselves to build strong family values, show respect for others and ourselves and make healthy, safe and smart decisions in all areas of our lives. This man is one of my heroes for his devotion and passion to his cause.
There certainly is a reason why we keep bringing Paul back to speak to our middle school students. From the first presentation I had the privilege of observing over 15 years ago to his last performance just recently, it is clear that he has the energy to convey with passion such topics as character, respect, morals and values. He is the consummate entertainer who has the street experience that students can relate to. In all these years he has never failed to make a connection with our students. Every year after his presentation many students seek Paul out to tell him how impressed they were with his message. I have seen Paul captivate an audience of almost three hundred 8th grades for over two hours with his powerful message delivered with humor, honesty and intense passion.
As always, I look forward with anticipation to future performances by Paul. In over a decade and a half, I have never yet been disappointed with his workshops. By far, Paul is the only artist/performer that we have had return so many times to our school. I can recommend Paul Failla without reservation, to any middle school administrator who wishes to bring a high quality, student receptive program on character education to their school.
Terry S. Earley, Ph. D.
I have had the opportunity, on numerous occasions, to hear Paul Failla address Middle School and High School students regarding topical subject matter which has a significant impact on today’s youth. I can’t stress the importance of his program. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Paul establishes an immediate rapport with his audience. His wit grabs their initial attention; his knowledge gains their admiration; his experience gains their approval; his intelligence gains their respect; and his compassion touches their hearts. They not only hear his message, they experience the significance of his message as they listen, laugh and at times, cry. Paul is a dynamic speaker and whatever the topic, his powerful and emotional program will impact his audience and cause them to think, not just during the presentation, but afterward as well. In the words of students I’ve spoken with, Paul has received their highest praise, “he’s awesome”! Well, not only is he awesome, but as a parent I truly believe that Paul Failla gives our children an invaluable gift…the ability to consider the consequences of their actions. I highly recommend that all students be given the opportunity to benefit from the message of Paul’s program.