A Hedge Against The COVID-19 Achievement Gap

Brave Enough To Fail is a student-focused educational nonprofit that provides free motivational presentations, scholarships, and other resources to high school students.

Our mission is to cultivate a new generation of leaders, creators, and achievers by raising student achievement and inspiring young people with the courage to pursue their dreams.

Our focus is closing the achievement and opportunity gaps between traditionally underserved, low-income, minority population students and their more affluent peers.  

We are fighting for the underdog, young people that are showing signs of disengagement and disconnection in high school. A population of youth who, in the face of this unprecedented pandemic, will need support and inspiration even more than ever.

When schools reopen, educators will need every tool possible in order to re-engage, inspire, and motivate students to invest themselves in their own education. Brave Enough To Fail is determined to be there to help.

Why This Is Important Now

Here is a quote from and op-ed published by Educational Results Partnership on May 5, 2020.

“Students in grades K-12 who lack the essentials at home to master online education are falling further behind their more affluent peers. If the impact of lost learning among these students is not properly mitigated, achievement gaps that have existed for decades will only get worse.

And, if this happens, an entire cohort of students could also fail to attain the skills employers need to create a productive economy. Economic success today, and even more so in the future, will require well-educated workers who have mastered a range of cognitive and analytical skills, as well as social and communicative ones, in the K-12 years.

If an entire cohort of students fails to attain these skills, the losses will be felt not only by them but by the overall economy. Major and costly social dislocations, such as rising crime and poorer health, might also occur under these circumstances.”

There are others sounding the warning as well

“Because of the COVID -19 crisis, achievement gaps between disadvantaged students and their more affluent classmates will almost certainly be wider than they’ve been in years.” Los Angeles Times Editorial Board April 2 2020   

“The disruption of schooling during the pandemic will have disparate effects across the socio-economic ladder. The achievement gap between children from poorer and richer families is bound to rise as long as school closures continue.” Matthias Doepke, Ph.D., and Fabrizio Zilibotti, Ph.D Psychology Today April 1 2020

The Achievement Gap Is ‘More Glaring Than Ever’ for Students Dealing With School Closures Time.com March 26 2020

The experts agree, this current crisis will generate long-term costs to the education of our youth and the training of our future workforce.

Brave Enough To Fail is committed to reaching as many schools and students as possible to help students become re-engaged, inspired, and motivated.

When we get to the other side of this current crisis, and we will, many of our poor and minority students in underserved communities are going to face an even steeper uphill climb to succeed in school and beyond. With your help, we will be there to remind our students that they are worth the effort

How You Can Help

Donate today and help Brave Enough To Fail build the capacity to reach more schools and to be there as a hedge against the COVID-19 achievement gap. Yes I want to Donate Now

Can’t donate?

Sign our petition of support to encourage foundations to support Brave Enough To Fail Yes I want to Sign Now

Visit our website and put Your School on our List to receive the Brave enough To Fail program and scholarships to inspire your students to engage in their education and pursue their dreams. Yes, Make My School A Brave School

Share this post! Help raise awareness and support for our students!

Wayne Winsley, founder and CEO of Brave Enough To Fail is a middle school history teacher, former radio broadcaster, and multiple-award winning motivational keynote speaker.

wayne@braveenoughtofail.org @waynewinsley @betf

Happy Birthday America, New Patriots are On The Way

As we celebrate the birthday of the United States of America on the 4Th of July, it is fitting that we remember those who worked so hard to found a nation based on the principle that all men and women are created equal and sacrificed so much to secure our God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

For many Americans the Independence Day celebration may be dampened by fears that America’s founding principles are in danger of being replaced by something else. With more voices speaking against those principles, more divisive messaging in our media, and surveys saying more young people than ever are open to accepting socialist ideas, those fears are understandable. How can we turn all that around?

We can turn it around by increasing the number of young people that have a sense of their own self worth. Historically, socialism, communism and other systems that have tried to make everything “fair” and make everyone “the same”, have always ultimately failed because it is impossible to totally stamp out the God-given desire for individual achievement. The Declaration of Independence says, “All men are created equal”, which is absolutely true… But, we are NOT all created the same.  We each have individual dreams and destinies that are endowed to us by our creator. We turn things around by reminding our young people about that! 

 Motivated people with the courage to pursue their dreams have always been a problem for socialists. Which brings us to another reason to celebrate. There is an organization who’s mission is inspiring such people.

 Brave Enough To Fail, America’s number one student motivational program, is a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides free presentations and scholarships to high schools. 

Our mission is raising student achievement by inspiring students with the courage to achieve their dreams. By doing that, we create a new generation of Leaders, Creators, & Achievers. Inspired and motivated young people who have the attitude of…Why settle for what the government might hand you, when you can get much more by using what God has already given you?

Individuals who are more likely to support ideas like fiscal responsibility, constitutional principles. and less intrusive government.

Since 2016 BETF has reached over 10,000 students many of whom are now new voters, and has scholarship winners currently attending great schools like Liberty University, Oral Roberts University, and North-Point Bible College.

We need the help of our fellow Americans because we absolutely cannot do it alone. You can help our mission to strengthen America by making a tax deductible donation today. Please give any amount, $5 $10 $25 $50 $100 $250 $500 $1,000

And this Independence Day, join us in saying,

Happy Birthday America, new patriots are on the way.

Wayne Winsley, Founder & CEO Brave Enough To Fail Inc.

Brave Enough To Fail and Kiwanis Celebrate Partnership

Brave Enough To Fail and the Kiwanis Club Foundation of Greater Danbury celebrated their successful partnership recently at the annual Kiwanis For Kids breakfast held at the Ethan Allen Hotel.

Left to right; Michael Doyle, Board Chair, Brave Enough To Fail, Doug Schmeltz, Danbury Kiwanis Club President,
Wayne Winsley, Executive Director, Brave Enough To Fail.

Brave Enough To Fail provides free motivational presentations and up to $5,000 in scholarships to high schools. Our mission is cultivating a new generation of leaders, creators, and achievers.

Being brave enough to risk failure is a NON-NEGOTIABLE requirement for success in any venture. That is our founding philosophy and the core of the inspiring message that we deliver to students.

Kiwanis Key Club is a student-led organization which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership.

Through the partnership, Key Clubs host the assembly style motivational presentations for the student body, typically the sophomore or senior class. The local Kiwanis Club receives co-branding on the event and scholarships as well.

Key Clubbers can host monthly Brave Enough To Fail career opportunity sessions with local business leaders and professionals.

Key Club members in the schools we serve, are now empowered to bestow their own, Brave Enough To Fail, Key to Success scholarship upon a student that they nominate themselves.

Norwalk High Key Clubbers & Wayne Winsley

Together, Kiwanis and Brave Enough To Fail are reaching hundreds more students and awarding thousands more dollars in scholarships. Key Clubs are energized and empowered to become even bigger difference makers in their schools and communities.

Brave Enough To Fail is extending this partnership to Kiwanis clubs and their Key Clubs nationwide. Join us by contacting us for more information. Message us here or send an email. info@braveenoughtofail.org

The College of Westchester Partners With Brave Enough To Fail

Brave Enough To Fail and The College of Westchester are extremely pleased to announce that they have joined forces to help cultivate a new generation of leaders, creators, and achievers.

The College of Westchester will provide up to ten $1,000 scholarships per year which Brave Enough To Fail will make available to students at schools that it serves.

The scholarships will be renewable as long as awardees remain full-time students in good standing. The first scholarships are available for the current school year and will be awarded in June 2019.

The College of Westchester offers several degree programs in Business, Health Professions, and Information Technology.

Robert Onorato, Dean of Online Education at The College of Westchester said,

“The College of Westchester is proud and happy to be working with Brave Enough to Fail and the students that BETF works with.   We look forward to a successful relationship.”

Wayne Winsley, Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail says,

“I’m honored and humbled to have the support of such a great institution as The College of Westchester. Together we are going to help place even more young people on the path to success.”

Brave Enough To Fail is a nonprofit student motivational program geared toward helping students succeed in school and beyond by inspiring courage and providing scholarships and other resources. 

Sowing Seeds Of Success


Success pic


A garden is a wonderful thing. It’s a labor of love from seed time to harvest but the end results are worth it! There’s nothing quite like sitting down in summer for a meal with a truly crisp, straight out of the ground fresh salad.

The wonderful aroma of sautéed veggies fills the air during barbeques and people are wiping the juice of a watermelon you grew off their smiling faces. It’s a satisfying thing to know that others are eating well because of the labor of you invested!

The decision to grow your own food poses many questions such as:
How do I plant a vegetable garden? Where should I plant it? When is the best time to plant? How much sun does my garden need? Which vegetables grow well together? And of course…where did all these bugs and pests come from? I never had single one of these around my house until I started sowing seed!

I’d like you to join me on my journey of growing my garden this summer because along the way I’ll share some gardening tips along with valuable lessons about success. Our lives are much like a garden and as you follow this series you’ll see what I mean. Principles for succeeding in life are all around us and I’m going to help you find those hidden gems. I’ll give you an example…Look closely at the paragraph above this one and see if you can find 6 principles a garden can teach you about success.

Did you see them? Look closely! I’ll give you the first one..

How do I plant a vegetable garden? The principle –
A plan. Knowledge helps you grow…or as I like to phrase it know-how gives you grow-how…oh wow…I better stop now!

Doing some research, reading, and reviewing some video on gardens will help you get greater results for the effort you put in. Learn those basics and then apply them…just like in life…


Knowledge Is The Foundation To The Life You Want To Build.


It will give you confidence. Let me explain.
I was never confident speaking about a subject that I didn’t know a lot about, BUT…get a topic that I did know a lot about and it was on! I spoke with confidence because of that knowledge.

In fact, the more I learned…the more I discovered about myself. My view of life began to change. I discovered something a lot of people live without – purpose.

I realized that knowledge is powerful and will raise you up to places that you’ll only dream of reaching if you don’t apply yourself.

Is the same true with you?

Plan Your Work…and Work Your Plan

As I thought about what I wanted to grow in my garden I decided that I needed to draw it out on paper. I wanted to have an idea what the end result will look like (and help me remember what I planted where)!

Setting goals and then breaking them down into smaller steps on paper always helps me stay focused and moving forward.

How about you?

If you want to be better at basketball you don’t sit around hoping it will happen do you? No, you study plays. You watch film. You train, and train, and train till every muscle in your body hurts…and then you train some more!

You don’t become an amazing pianist by sitting down at one do you? No, that’s only the first step. You have to learn how to read music. Listen to different techniques, get yourself a teacher if you can, and then practice, practice, practice until your fingers feel like they tied together…and then do it again!

The end result will be amazing!

Right now, you have the ability to achieve anything you desire to. You’re not just a game changer…NO!
You’re a world changer!

Research! Read! Learn all you can! Your future is the sum of the decisions that you make…choose to invest in your education! Knowledge Is Power!


I have much to share in the days and weeks ahead so stay on the lookout for the next post. I want you to succeed but I must ask you…Are you Brave Enough To Grow?!

Sowing seeds for your success,

Wayne Winsley

Brave Enough To Fail Awards $2,000 in Scholarships to Faith Preparatory School



Brave Enough To Fail has added yet another “Brave” school to it’s growing ranks.  Students at Faith Preparatory School in New Milford Connecticut received a big dose of motivation and inspiration to “Be The Boss of Their Dreams” along with some scholarship money help launch them toward success.

Jaclyn Mattison, principal of Faith Preparatory School said,

“We could not be prouder to be a Brave Enough To Fail school. We are beyond blessed to have this program and the scholarships made available to our students.”

New Milford based nonprofit provides motivational presentations and scholarships to schools nationwide at no cost to schools or students.  It is being called a new and innovative way to help narrow the student achievement gap.

Wayne Winsley, executive director of BETF says,

“A positive message can change the trajectory of a child’s life. I’m living proof of that, and its why this organization exists. To change children’s lives for the better.” 

A one thousand dollar scholarship will be awarded to a member of this year’s senior class and a second one thousand dollar scholarship has been designated for a member of next year’s senior class.

The Scholarships, which are paid toward expenses at any accredited college or trade school, are awarded based on financial need, grade point average and other criteria.

Please make a donation today. Support our mission to raise student achievement by inspiring kids with the courage to believe and trust in themselves.

Union Savings Bank Invests in New Effort to Narrow Achievement Gap

Bank promo


Union Savings Bank of Danbury has granted $6,500 in funding for a Brave Enough To Fail program and five $1,000 scholarships for Danbury High School.

The audience will be approximately 600 seniors who will not only get a big dose of motivation to pursue their dreams but also have someone actually sow into their dreams with resources to help them get started.

The mission of Brave Enough To Fail is to help students get better grades in school by inspiring them to pursue their dreams.

Wayne Winsley, founder and executive director of Brave Enough To Fail says,

“We are attacking the education achievement gap by working directly at the student level.” 

The event is April 12th at 9:30AM at Danbury high School in Danbury Connecticut.
Media is invited to attend.
To learn more about bringing the Brave Enough To Fail program and scholarships to your school Click Here

Nonprofits Team up To Motivate Students

Presser Shot

Brave Enough To Fail and Kiwanis Club Foundation of Greater Danbury are extremely pleased to announce our new partnership.

The two organizations will work together in providing motivational programming and scholarships to area high schools.

Area Key Clubs will be invited to sponsor BETF presentations at high schools in Danbury, Bethel, New Milford, New Fairfield, Brookfield, Redding, and Ridgefield.

Danbury Kiwanis Club President Matt Bartelme commented,

“We are definitely excited about this opportunity to work with Brave Enough To Fail. They are another nonprofit that is as passionate as we are about enriching the lives of children to build stronger communities.

Wayne Winsley, executive director of Brave Enough To Fail says,

“I’m honored and humbled to have the support of such a great organization as Kiwanis of Danbury. This partnership will strengthen our ability to raise student achievement and promote leadership through service.”

Kiwanis member Foster Crawford, a former assistant superintendent of schools in Waterbury and Stamford indicated that,

“Brave Enough To Fail is an excellent motivational tool to help students believe in themselves and to set and achieve high personal goals.

The goal is to begin presentations and award the first scholarships this school year.

to learn how your Kiwanis and Key Leader Clubs can work with us in your area contact:

Wayne Winsley wayne@BraveEnoughToFail.org

Learn more by clicking the link www.BraveEnoughToFail.org

How To Develop Your Next Generation Employee


We believe that there are companies that would gladly support a motivational program that inspires and challenges students in their hometowns and that points them to possible careers in local industry and manufacturing IF they knew the program existed.

We are doing just that, and invite you to join us.

Brave Enough To Fail Inc, is a 501 ( C ) 3 nonprofit. Our mission is to raise student achievement by providing free motivational presentations and scholarships to schools nationwide, and then point those inspired and motivated young people toward rewarding careers at great companies like yours.

Contact me, Wayne Winsley, Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail inc. to learn how your company can help develop tomorrow’s workforce today by sponsoring scholarships, materials, and school presentations.


This article was written by Peter G. Martin, Ph.D., vice president, business value solutions, Schneider Electric.

There has been considerable discussion of late about the mass retirements of baby boomers from the industrial workforce and the lack of appropriate talent to fill the gap. Many baby boomers believe that the younger generation—the millennial generation—is not up to the task and that young people have no interest in taking on the challenges. I believe the millennials are up to the task, but unfortunately I have to agree that they do not appear to have the interest.

I have noticed some very positive attributes of the millennials that align with the requirements of industry. They tend to be very altruistic. They are as technically savvy as any generation ever has been. They tend to like collaboration and are very comfortable with social media. All of these attributes are exactly what is needed in industry at this point in time. It is up to the soon-retiring workforce to recognize and capitalize on these attributes as the younger generation is assimilated into the industrial workforce.

The challenge of the lack of interest in industrial careers by millennials is much more daunting. Members of the younger generation who have a competency in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) seem to have a negative perspective of careers in industry. They see industrial careers as undesirable, dirty, and lower-tech and would much rather pursue careers in video-game software development.

Perhaps the solution to this challenge is focusing on the “altruistic attribute” of millennials. Millennials seem to desire careers that truly have a positive impact on the world. Industrial production is the key to solving many of the most challenging problems humankind is facing. It is through industry and industrial automation that world problems regarding energy, clean water, hunger, housing, and health can be improved and—in some cases—solved. What young idealistic person would not want to be part of that? Additionally, although in the past a number of industrial practices negatively affected the environment, today industry is seriously taking on the challenge and succeeding at cleaning the environment. It is up to us, those currently engaged in industrial careers, to start reaching out to millennials to share our accomplishments and the improvement potential.

With the effective use of automation technologies over the past three decades, careers in industry and industrial automation are as high-technology as any in the world. And the technology deployed in industry does real work to improve the condition of the world. Additionally, most industrial work environments are considerably nicer than young students believe, and with the further application of technology these environments will continue improving.

Engineers, as a group, tend to be among the most self-critical people I know. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in daily challenges that we forget to take a step back and look at the importance of what we have done and continue to do. Engineers are problem solvers. We have taken on some of the biggest problems society has encountered and developed very effective and clever solutions. We need to remember and communicate our contributions to the millennial generation. We must get them to understand the importance of what we do, so they will join us and produce even greater outcomes.

ISA; the Automation Federation; the Measurement, Control and Automation Association (MCAA); and others have joined to lead the effort of educating young students about the value of careers in industry and industrial automation. In fact, MCAA recently developed some videos to distribute to colleges and high schools across the globe with the intention of encouraging students to consider industrial careers. These are on the MCAA website. We need to continue and advance the great progress that has been realized, but can only accomplish if the most talented STEM students coming through the school system join the cause. Let’s start talking up what we have done, what we continue to do, and what the next generation of industrial automation professionals have the potential to accomplish. Humankind is depending on us.

About the Author
Peter G. Martin, Ph.D., is vice president of business value solutions for Schneider Electric. He holds multiple patents, including patents for dynamic performance measures, real-time activity-based costing, closed-loop business control, and asset and resource modeling. He authored or co-authored four books, most recently The Value of Automation. Martin received an ISA Life Achievement Award.

A version of this article originally was published at InTech magazine.

Contact Wayne Winsley, Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail inc. to learn how your company can help develop tomorrow’s workforce today.





Poor, Black, & Unreachable At 14

By Wayne Winsley

Founder & Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail Inc.

At age 14, I was living in an orphanage in Cleveland Ohio, had failed eighth grade the previous year, and basically given up on school. I was a poor black kid who, the experts would say,  had given up on my future and was too set in my ways to be motivated to change. I was destined for one of two places, behind bars or dead.

One day, a friend of mine’s dad was disappointed with his report card and began to lecture him. Without intending to, without even realizing that I was in the room, his dad said the words that changed my life forever.

Always strive for excellence no matter what you do. Excellence will overcome, poverty, prejudice, and adversity every time. Just be excellent at whatever you choose to do.”

That simple message motivated me to make the choice that saved my life.

I chose to go back to school and do the absolute best I could. Because of that choice, I didn’t wind up behind bars or dead. Instead I went on to serve my country honorably in the United States Navy which honed my discipline, self-confidence, and work ethic. Those tools gave me the courage to pursue my dream of being a standup comic which in turn led to a two decade career as a radio broadcaster.  The communication skills I developed over that time prepared me to become what I am today, a teacher, and a multi award-winning motivational speaker 

I know first hand that even without intention, a word can change a child’s life.

That is why I’ve dedicated the rest of my life to delivering a message of inspiration and motivation to as many young people as possible through my organization.

Brave Enough to Fail Inc. is a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides motivational programs and scholarships to high schools.

The mission is to raise student achievement by inspiring kids with the courage to achieve their dreams and to help students see their education as a way to get what they want from life. To narrow the education achievement gap by focusing on the student end of the equation with a message of courage, hard work, self-discipline, and determination.

High schools nationwide are requesting this message for their students.

This  summer we have received unsolicited requests for the Brave Enough To Fail program, for the 2017-2018 school year, from schools in over ten states. (See the list below)

Rather than saying, “No we can’t help you.” We are taking a leap of faith and committing to raising the funds needed to deliver the message to the thousands of students at these schools that,  Their Dreams Are Important And Achievable!

There are other young people out there who just like I was, are one positive message away from overcoming the poverty, prejudice, and adversity that is standing between them and achieving a better life for themselves.

That is why I am asking the questions,

Is there at least one corporation in this great nation that would like their brand to be known for motivating and inspiring youth across America?

If you are that corporation, please contact us at info@BraveEnoughToFail.org

Are there fellow citizens willing to sow seeds of success into the youth of our communities? 

If you are that citizen, please make a donation here. 

Partial list of schools that have reached out and requested Brave Enough To Fail

Crest High School, Shelby NC.

Cathedral High School, New York NY.

Urban Assembly of Media Studies, New York NY.  

 Whitestone High School, Delta Junction Alaska

Sultan Sr High, Sultan Washington

Cicely Tyson High, East Orange New Jersey

St. Timothy’s School, Raleigh NC

Briar Woods High School, Ashburn VA.

Ferndale High, Johnstown PA.

Scottsburg High, Scottsburg IN.

Little Rock Arkansas School District

Martin County School District, Stuart Florida

Integrated Arts Academy, Chaska MN.

Frederick Banting School, Ottawa Ontario


Wayne Winsley