“I can relate to the feelings of so many young people in the world today,” says award-winning educator and author, Devan Blackwell. “Growing up, I didn’t know what my potential was, let alone what was possible for me. Looking back, I see that I had the wrong mindset,” he continues. “Fortunately, I was able to change that mindset. Now I want to inspire young people to build something greater in their lives.”
That’s the mission. Today, Devan (also known as Devan Be) is putting that mission in motion with Be Unlimited. As the creator of and the Curriculum Developer for Be Unlimited, Devan develops a wide range of educational products that help young people develop the mindset, life skills, and tools essential for confidently reaching their highest potential, making a difference in their communities, and having a positive impact in the world around them. He has inspired audiences in places as far Japan and India, encouraging youth to see possibilities in life, not limits. Devan has given lectures and keynote addresses at universities, presented school assemblies and motivational speaking engagements, and been a featured guest on television and radio talk shows.
Social media has created another opportunity for the educator to expand on his mission. “The Be Unlimited blog was created to provide young people with ideas, information and inspiration to work towards becoming their best selves,” Devan explains. “I also created the Be Unlimited blog as a lifeline for those in need of help. It is a roadmap for those in search of direction. It is the positive affirmation that all young people need, but many never receive.” The blog debuted in January of 2012. Since then, feedback has come from readers in places as far away as the UK, New Zealand and South Africa. “Human issues are universal,” the educator goes on to say. “Everyone wants to be better. Everyone wants to feel inspired. Everyone needs to believe that they are unlimited.”
Devan is the author of The BE Philosophy: 36 Ways To Unlimited Potential, a workbook that provides students with the life tools essential for reaching their potential. As an author of young adult novels, Devan has found another way to reach his audience. His co-authored novel Blood Is Thicker (Scholastic Books) from the wildly popular Bluford High series has earned great reviews.
A graduate of New York City’s New School University (MA, Media Studies), Devan also explored his lifelong passion for film by writing, directing and producing the 2013 short film The SPE@K Project. The inspiring drama places the young adult experience center stage, as it tackles issues (bullying, dating violence, mental illness, LGBT teen homelessness, substance abuse, etc.) relevant to today’s youth. The SPE@K Project won two major awards at the 2013 Atlantic City CineFest (Best Short Film; Best Ensemble Cast) and screened in the Ofﬁcial Selection / Short Feature category at the Teaneck International Film Festival that same year. The film has also screened at high schools and colleges.
For his efforts in youth advocacy, Devan has earned recognition from The National Campaign for Tolerance. For his contribution to education, Devan was named Governor’s Teacher of the Year; honored by The State of New Jersey’s Department of Education; received an Award of Congressional recognition, Special Senate Recognition, a State Assembly Commendation, a State Legislative Commendation; and, received the Atlantic City NAACP’s Teacher of the Year Award.
Educator. Author. Filmmaker. Motivator. Visionary. Devan Blackwell has erased the limits from what he can achieve. Now, he wants to inspire others to follow that example and be unlimited themselves.