Personal tragedy catalyst for Mission that has helped thousands of youth nationwide
As part of the work of the Foundation, Ken travels the country conducting seminars on youth leadership. He was awarded the Florida Today, "Citizens of the Year Award" for his work with teens from Florida, and was the recipient of the 2007 University of Illinois Alumni Humanitarian Award. The J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation is all about teaching our young people leadership skills so that they, in turn may reach out to other teens and their peers with help that might make a life-saving difference down the line. "JKB is dedicated to providing these leadership skills so that other families don't have to ever face the tragedy of losing a son or daughter the way that I did," said Ken. The leadership training fulfilled a promise Ken made to himself after his only son, Kyle, took his life in 1994. Ken had been living in South Florida, where he worked in construction materials. Kyle played football for his high school. His suicide was blamed on an episode of rage caused by performance-enhancing steroids. After a few weeks of numb existence, Ken conceived of the idea for the non-profit foundation as a way to help prevent other families from enduring such pain. The leadership program aims to impart life skills to teens, who then would serve as leaders in their schools and communities. More than 3,000 youth completed leadership training at the ranch in the 20 years since Kyle's passing, participating in activities designed to foster teamwork, interaction and self-discovery. High school sophomores - the year Kyle was at the time of his death - were selected based on nomination and formal application process that included a defining project that would help school or community. Each went through two-year program, only part of which was spent at the ranch.