Who is NGI?

NGI – Next Generation Institute is a not-for-profit and a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) organization. Our headquarters are located in sunny Central Florida not far from Disney World.

Our passion is to see a generation of young people raised with a sense of purpose, living with moral character, growing up with a strong sense of worth and value, prepared to live their lives with significance, purpose and joy.

How it all got started

Our family keeps expanding…I remember where I was standing when I got the initial vision, the first ideas in my head for what would become NGI and the parenting resource known as Shaping Your Family Story.

I was in my office talking to Hal Donaldson, the president of Convoy of Hope, (an amazing disaster response and humanitarian organization).  Hal was recruiting me for a position and I was saying, “…but that’s not what I really feel called to do.” And Hal asked me, “Well what do you want to do?”  In that moment, my life changed.

I didn’t know it at the time, but without thinking I started outlining to Hal this vision for a relevant, helpful, authentic organization that would talk in everyday language giving parents some helpful insight and direction based not just on theory but time-tested results.

I knew that most every parent felt at some level like they were screwing up their kids.  Let’s face it, when it comes to being a parent, there’s no “Owners Manual” and we all wrestle with insecurity.  And yet, most of the time we don’t ask for help.

I suspect we just don’t want to be judged and we certainly don’t want to get a list of more things to do that we just don’t have the time or energy to take on.  That only makes us feel worse.

No, I wanted NGI to offer helpful, even common sense wisdom and insight in a way that an overworked, overwhelmed mom or dad, grandparent or caregiver could receive.

June 2014I envisioned not just a book but a network of parenting groups meeting all around the country where parents could be honest, open and learn from each other.  I knew that these small group communities of parents would be the backbone of what NGI could offer.

But in my head I also saw evening events hosted in cities that would actually be fun and entertaining while still imparting a spark of vision and hope.  I saw short radio spots being played on stations and even a parenting show that would dispense, again in fun and practical ways, some valuable truths.

That initial vision that I blurted out to my friend Hal, I knew had a “divine spark” to it.

Then a short time later, I was sitting in a church service when I felt I received the next piece of the puzzle; parents wanted simple direction that made sense.  I got five parenting pillars – foundational principles around which we could offer a wealth of practical direction and insight.  Here they are:

  1. Reflecting
  2. Directing
  3. Protecting
  4. Correcting
  5. Connecting

These five parenting pillars formed the basis of what became the book Shaping Your Family Story – How imperfect parents create hope and promise for their children.

As I was working on the book, I met Dr. James Coffield, a gifted psychologist and counselor who I discovered has a tremendous heart for parents as well.  We agreed to team up to make this foundational parenting book even better.

Once we had the manuscript drafted we had to wrestle with what to title it.  I wanted to call it “How to be a Winning Parent”.  I mean, after all, who doesn’t want to “win” at being a great parent.  But that name just didn’t connect with people.  It felt too “judgy”.  Jim and I felt stuck – until we came upon this concept of every family represent a potentially great story.

And did you know there are five core elements of every great story?  Here they are:

  1. Character
  2. Plot
  3. Setting
  4. Conflict
  5. Theme

And wouldn’t you know it, those five core story elements, lined up beautifully with the five parenting pillars I already had.

Well, the rest is history.  NGI was birthed and our initial parenting resource, Shaping Your Family Story was too.  Now Jim and I both continue to offer parenting training and support in addition to making practical, helpful resources available to you and other parents who like you want to see an incredible family story be shared with the world.

And the best is yet to come…


P.S. Would you like to become part of our story?  Perhaps you have some incredible parenting insights you’ve discovered that you’d like to share.  We want NGI to be a vibrant, supportive, sharing community.  You can be part of that simply by sharing a concern you have or a technique you’ve learned.

P.S.S.  Not ready to share but maybe just soak up some encouragement and support? Request either of our FREE PARENTING Ebooks. or purchase a copy of our most helpful parenting resource Shaping Your Family Story.