The sun will shine

Nationally-renowned motivational speaker shares powerful messages with students

Mero talks about the highs and lows of his past, including a stint as a professional wrestler.

“I wrote it into existence.”

Marc Mero says that writing down his goals, and keeping physical reminders of them around, is how he’s achieved the things he has.

Mero, a former boxer, football player, and professional wrestler, visited Warren on Thursday to talk to students at Beaty Warren Middle School about setting goals, as well as making the best choices to achieve them.

Now a motivational speaker, Mero said on Thursday that he started writing down his goals as a child in a notebook that he has to this day. Many of the goals he set were material. He wanted a black Cadillac and, after hearing his single mother cry herself to sleep in her bedroom in their apartment on the west side of Buffalo, N.Y., he wrote down he’d like to buy his mother a house.

Over the course of his life, he lived selfishly and fell into a life of substance abuse and bad choices.

“I lost it all,” he said at one point, “because of the choices I made.”

Now, Mero presents motivational messages to students around the world.

Marc gave two presentations at Beaty Thursday morning before moving on to Eisenhower. He was headed to New Bethlehem Friday.

The biggest issues Mero wanted to speak on for students were bullying, goal-setting, substance abuse, and most important to him, suicide prevention.

“It’s the second leading cause of death in young people,” said Mero, and for him, that’s unacceptable.

“Your words can kill,” he told students, relating how he was picked on in a small school during his childhood.

“Now imagine,” he said, the implications of social media, making a student’s bullying incidents accessible to an exponentially wider audience with no limit on the number of times it can be relived.

Mero said that even after achieving a number of goals, including making a comeback following 10 years of struggling with substance abuse, the money didn’t make him happy. Neither did achieving the goals of having the material things that he’d written in his goal notebook as a child.

Mero said that he lost his mother, his father, his sister, and his brother before he was able to realize what they meant to him when they were alive.

If he were able to speak directly to a student currently struggling with issues, especially suicidal ideation, he said he’d like to tell them, “we all go through storms in life. You are not alone in life, and after the storm, the sun will eventually shine again, and it will be brighter than you could ever imagine.”

Mero’s visit was made possible by the efforts of a mom, Alicia Gatto, who raised money from a number of local businesses and citizen donations. Gatto said that, with four school-aged children, she sees the struggles that students have and feels for them.

“Kids are feeling so bad about themselves,” said Gatto. “We don’t want that. We want to make sure kids are being kind to each other, building each other up.”