Organization helps others achieve changes
By Sean Barron
When it comes to helping mainly young people tap into and use their innate talents and strengths, you might say that Jeffrey M. Magada aims high.
“They use this program as a bridge for where they want to be,” said Magada, referring to Flying High Inc., a nonprofit community- service organization he established in 1994.
Flying High, 238 S. Meridian Road, has helped thousands of youngsters and adults develop and enhance their skills while steering them toward changing their lives, minds and actions in positive ways, explained Magada, founder and executive director.
He also is the author of a book titled “The Good Life: You Can Walk in God‘s Perfect Will” (Destiny Image Publishers Inc. of Shippensburg, Pa., $15.99).
Magada spoke recently about the 207-page book and Flying High, which has five full- and part-time employees.
Prominently displayed near his office is a Wall of Achievement, which has more than a dozen photographs of local youngsters who went through the program and listed their primary hopes, goals and accomplishments.
One boy mentioned having gotten his driver’s license; others’ goals and achievements included wanting to be a film producer and getting a job at a local Home Depot store.
Working with young people is nothing new for Magada, who served as a probation officer, worked with many local schools and spent time helping minor offenders in the Austintown Police Department’s juvenile diversion program.
“It was a way for us to intervene at an early age and help parents re-establish authority and get kids connected with positive things,” Magada said of the program.
About 10 years ago, he resigned from the police department and thrust himself fully into Flying High, which initially used mainly sports programs as a platform to teach character development. Eventually, though, Magada realized many of those he was trying to help wanted to work, so the focus shifted more toward job-skills training, he recalled.
“Your job is to take your talents and develop them into skills,” Magada continued, adding that he believes people should use their God-given abilities to profit themselves and others
For example, Flying High meets with prospective employers while stressing to youngsters the importance of having certain technical skills and being reliable. The program helps them develop better life and social skills, Magada said, adding that he also works with adults, including those who have lost longtime jobs and need to reinvent themselves.
Flying High offers other programs such as Access to Recovery, which aids people with limited financial means with finding treatment and support services for alcohol and drug addictions, he noted.
The primary reason for the book was because many people are hurting and “need hope that tomorrow will be better,” Magada explained.
“The Good Life” uses many personal testimonies and biblical references to focus on attitudes, principles and lifestyle changes needed to live the kind of life God has designed for each person, he noted.
Magada calls his book “a war manual,” meaning that people constantly face numerous distractions and barriers when trying to find the right relationships, making positive choices and maintaining selflessness and a pure heart.
To obtain a copy call Magada at 330-881-9876 or write to him at P.O. Box 4740, Austintown, OH 44515.