JOSEPH’S INCREDIBLE STORY BEHIND THE FFD EVENTS MISSION
THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS by Joseph James
We came to The Woodlands from San Antonio in November 2021 so that I could do a contract job for an oil and gas company. The money from this temporary job was to help me get my tour going better. The job fell through right after we got here, so we were stuck at the Homewood Suites in Shenandoah without any extra money. I found out later how good of a community we were stuck in. If you’re going to get stuck anywhere, this is one of the tops to be in. Amazing!
I decided to go back to driving for LYFT seven days a week in the Houston area just so we’d have a place to live and food to eat. The hotel found out that I was a recording artist and asked me to play my songs for their Wednesday night Social Hour. I had 3 music albums and 8 books out at the time. In exchange for playing, we got one free night stay each week. That was one day I didn’t have to drive a week, a huge break from the up to 300 miles daily driving in the Houston area traffic. I did 54 shows in 2022 as we stayed over a year at the hotel. Total Miracles! Check out my Itinerary Page on my tour site. I had so many guests thank me for caring enough to share some about suicide prevention, too. Some really needed the encouragement. It really impacted me more than them, I think, just to hear their stories. My songs are a mix of country/folk/soft rock and are patriotic, romantic, and some challenging from real life stories.
THE NIGHT THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
I was asked by the hotel sales director if I would like to play a show on May 24, 2022 for The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce New Members Meeting. This was the night that changed everything! This was the night I met the INSTIGATOR, Royce Brooks, Sales Director of the Chamber!
THE CYNTHIA WOODS MITCHELL PAVILION?
Over the course of several meetings afterwards, Royce asked me if I would do an event here in The Woodlands. Our focus up until now with my music and tour was suicide prevention, which I had mixed in with my music performances at the hotel. I asked him where he thought I needed to do this event. He nonchalantly replied, “The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.” That blew me away! I had never been inside the venue, nor played at that large of an event before, and in front of 16,000 people. I thought I was dreaming. So, I started praying and asking the Lord how me, a basic nobody in the music realm, with no money, was going to be able to do this. We were already having to survive on daily miracles!
Royce invited me to a couple of business networking meetings and the Kiwanis and I started meeting some affluent people in the community. With all of these introductions, I began to ask questions. I was also able to share the vision at a few events. Then, I heard about Judge Wayne Mack, so a friend and I went to meet him at his office. He was all for the project and He said I needed to form a non-profit to make it work. He asked me to join his task force, Montgomery County Behavioral Health & Suicide Prevention, BHSP, so I did. There are lots of amazing people on that task force and they have become a front-runner in the nation. I continued to meet more and more people. Stacy Harris, NIA The Woodlands, invited me to her free Coffee Connection at The Kitchen every Friday morning. This meeting has been a lifesaver for me. The Crossing Church has been as well, Randy Harvey.
INSTIGATOR & TROUBLEMAKER
That was Summer 2022. I kept asking Royce questions, ’cause he seemed to know everybody here. If he didn’t, he knew folks who did. That was when he started calling me, “TROUBLEMAKER.” That’s when I responded to him, “Well, you’re the INSTIGATOR,” and we laughed. So grateful to have some good friends here. It’s been really lonely out on the road over these past 12 years traveling through 37 states, Canada, to Alaska. We were reaching out to folks with my wife’s true story of miracles, counseling, and my music.
FAMILY FUN DAYS™ EVENTS IS BORN!
So, I started calling lawyers everywhere to see how to do this 501(c)3 thing really cheap, but everyone wanted money that I didn’t have. I thought about doing it myself because I had figured out how to file my own patent, but the Lord told me specifically, a big, loud “No”! Then, one day, Royce told me to call David Weygandt, a lawyer who had heard me play for the Chamber that one evening. David liked my music and helped me with the non-profit. Wow! So Amazing! I found out later he was called “the Singing Lawyer,” because he plays the piano and sings. Hopefully, we get him to do a few songs at the events. Yes!
Over the course of the next year, the Lord showed me a vision of how to do this venue with no money out of pocket where EVERYONE WINS, the whole community, and the best part is that we can do these everywhere. This is when I formed FAMILY FUN DAYS™ Events. Meanwhile, I kept driving LYFT 40 hours a week and working another 40 hours a week putting this all together. I was exhausted daily, but I knew I couldn’t stop. Too many people were giving up on life and that was just wrong for America! 2024 was going to be an election year and we needed to help as much as we could for there to be peace and kindness spread to everyone.
What might a FAMILY FUN DAYS™ Event consist of? Check out FFD EVENTS Page. Each event can be created and tailored specifically to each community, as well as creating their own special theme. Make it your own or even add it to another event you already do. It doesn’t have to break the bank. Everyone In!
THE NEXT BIG SHIFT
Then, I happened to give a LYFT ride to the leasing agent at the Enclave Luxury Apartments on 1488 in Conroe. Long story short, we did a Free Micro FFD Event on August 26, 2023 in the huge common area between the 4 Apartment complexes, 300,000 sf of outside space. Next, I spent 300 hours of my time learning how to be an Event Planner and doing it because I couldn’t find anyone to help, but we got it all done. Then our Yukon AC went out at the beginning of August, so I couldn’t drive LYFT anymore, so I focused on the event because we didn’t have the funds to fix it. Somehow, we made it through this time financially. Next, someone tried to sabotage the event in the last two weeks before it by sharing false, negative information. Thankfully, my main speaker and non-profit didn’t buy the lies. She contacted me to find out the truth. Becca Cary, Hands of Justice, you are amazing! The work you are doing is, too. We had a friend helping us with the event who offered to film it. Watch a short video of the event. FAMILY FUN DAYS™ Enclave Conroe Event
I had been able to raise some of the funds we needed for the event through networking and selling some of my wife’s biographies, but we still lacked major equipment to do it. In that last week, we had some businesses that I had been networking with, step up and help. One let us use his brand new 13kw generator that had never been started. On the day of the event, we found out that the apartment complex, who asked me to do the event, didn’t invite their tenants until the night before. It was supposed to have been 8 weeks earlier. The day before the event, they told me we couldn’t use the air conditioner that had been promised. We were able to get an air conditioner the morning of the event from Home Depot. Some of the tenants, who had apartments next to the common area came down and/or opened their windows, doors, and watched from their balconies. The attendance was light, but we had so much fun getting to meet each other.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
SPECIAL THANKS to the following to these who went above the call to help make the event a success!
Terry Lewis – Concrete Floor Designs | Lance Beauchamp – Marketing Consultant | Michael Yanock – Multiversal, LLC | Adriana Wells – Amazing Giant Flowers | Jeff Daggs – Schooley Mitchell | Kyle Mraz & David Mallory – DMA Marketing | Mike Mogel – Clean Sweep Office | Cody Watson – Texas Laser Worx | Randy Lovelace – Paragon Independent Insurance Agencies, Inc. | Clint Walton – Impact Leadership Lab
Everyone involved in the event showed up anyway and it was successful. We really didn’t know what to expect. We were going to do a raffle so that we could recoup some of our expenses, but due to the low number of turnout, that wouldn’t have worked.
It was a success! It was so cool having vendors there! The non-profits that spoke got to be a part of something new. They met each other for the first time and made new friendships, as well. I was able to see how I could share my songs in between each speaker. We even had games for the children and a food truck. We learned new things and made new friends! EVERYBODY WON!
GCU EVENTS – GAMECHANGERS UNIVERSAL
In the 8 weeks leading up to the event, David Weygandt and his wonderful team, helped me form the non-profit and GCU Events was formed. GCU stands for GameChangers Universal, which is the name of our production and publishing company. They put the whole thing together for me in a package we could do.
We will be using local talent as we are able, so the community can see who all they have nearby. If we know who is local, then we can help local before having to go elsewhere.
Then I created the GCU EVENTS WEBSITE, GOFUNDME, and PATREON Projects to help us with expenses so that I can focus all my time on this huge project. Become a part, help us and get your name out there too! EVERYBODY WINS!
9-8-8 NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE NUMBER
During all of 2023, I was passing out 1/4 page flyers, that I had created and printed, to my riders and also had signs on the back of my seats for them to read if they wanted. A big thank you to the OfficeMax on Six Pines for all of your print help and support. Dale, you and your people are awesome. On these prints were info about the 9-8-8 National Suicide Prevention Hotline Number and how to use it and info about how to get help concerning Human Trafficking. I did a survey from 500 of my rides. Out of these 500, only 4 individuals knew the 9-8-8 number and that was because they were in that field. That, my friends, is UNACCEPTABLE! We have a lot of work to do.
I started talking to my riders about breaking the stigma of suicide when I started driving in Colorado Springs. Out of all 10,000 rides I’ve given in Colorado Springs, Fort Carson, US Air Force Academy, Pueblo, Denver, San Antonio, Houston, The Woodlands, and Conroe, I’ve had about 50 riders talk to me about suicide and their pursuit of it. I’ve coached and prayed for a lot of folks. I’ve had the privilege of giving a second ride to two of them here in The Woodlands and got to see their lives change because of just a short, simple, LYFT ride. One rider goes to one of the high schools here. I gave a ride to another one just a while back and shared this story with her and it helped her. Sometimes, it’s really easy to save a life! Now, I need to do it from the stage and reach more people at a time, maximizing our efforts.
BREAKING THE STIGMA!
We need everybody on board in this country. Suicide and Human Trafficking know no borders! It affects us all! Each suicide affects an average of 160 other people! For every actual suicide there are at least 25 others who attempted! You don’t have to understand it to help folks. Sometimes all they need is a smile, an acknowledgement that they exist and matter, some encouragement and hope in order to break the stronghold over them in that moment. I’ve done it! It works! Some bartenders have saved more lives than they realize! Check out my wife’s true story and our upcoming movie project, SENTENCED TO DEATH, DESTINED FOR LIFE, The Movie!
UNITED WE STAND! FIRM! FREE!
The more we are divided as a nation, the more harm comes to everyone. First off, we are Americans, next our state community, city community, and then local community. Many paid dearly for our freedom to be able to pursue our God-given dreams. We need to get back to helping one another. The very person we help might know someone who can help us, or might be able to help us. They might become our best friend. We won’t know if we never reach out, will we?
THE BOATS & THE HELICOPTER
It reminds me of the guy who asked the Lord to send him help in the flood he was trapped in. Over a short period of time as the waters got deeper, two boats and a helicopter came by to help. He waved them away thinking the Lord was going to answer His prayer, personally. He drowned and went to Heaven and asked the Lord why He didn’t save him. The Lord told him that He sent 2 boats and a helicopter, what else did he expect Him to do. Those folks next to us that we don’t like could even be angels on assignment to us from Him. Dare we find out? We gave someone a ride out West in the early 90’s and dropped them off. When we looked back, they had disappeared. Yes! On our travels over the years, He sent us numerous places around the country where we had Divine Appointments and helped individuals. I asked Him once if there weren’t folks in their community that could’ve helped them. He said there were, but no one would go. He’ll send someone to the other side of the planet to help, if necessary. That’s how much we matter to Him.
2000+ PEOPLE IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY
I have now shared that I am putting this event together with over 2000 LYFT riders here in Montgomery County alone, not to mention those who were from other states and countries. Everyone is excited about it and wants to see it come about. They told me that we need something like this.
Special Thanks to all who are mentioned above and the following! David Weygandt; Megan Meaux, Event Coordinator for The Woodlands Township; Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, Board of Director for The Woodlands Township; Nick Wolda, President of Visit The Woodlands; Judge Wayne Mack & BHSP; Becca Cary, Hands of Justice; Terry Weaver, Reflective Media; Edward & Diane Reynolds, Matthew’s Light; Philip Wendt, Casualties Of War; Kimberlee Moayed, AFSP – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; Trey Diller, Inspire Productions; Woodforest Bank. I look forward to whoever else is interested in helping make it a free event. If I’ve left anyone out, please let me know. I am only one person, so I can really use some help!
These FFD Events must be Of the Community, By the Community, & For the Community for them to work. All entertainment must be encouraging and in some cases, challenging folks to live. Everyone who is a part, even just a spectator needs to win! We’ll be featuring those who are in the community to help those in need, where to go to get help! It’s a FREE EVENT paid for through Business Advertising and Sponsors, digitally, booths, & in print. We can and we will do this and create the prototype for the rest of the country and maybe the world. After what we’ve all been through these last few years, we need this! Love and acceptance!
Psalm 139 says that God has written a book in Heaven about each of our lives and the wonderful plans He has for us. Jeremiah 29:12, “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” In His Kingdom, His plan includes all of us working together and helping each other succeed. “No man is an island unto himself!” AND, there is enough for everyone when we help one another! WE THE PEOPLE rule this country and it’s about time we start joining together to do so! AMERICA, Land of Dreams Fulfilled!
If you want to check out my 8 Books, they are available on my tour site, as well as my 3 Music Albums and 5 New Singles, WHAT’S YOUR STORY Podcasts, and the SDDL Movie Project. THE LIBRARY, is actually the title of Book 5 of my ISLANDS IN THE SEA Fiction Book Series. Everything we do is to help encourage each individual to discover, pursue, and realize their God-Given Dream! Can we do this together, America? I believe in our generation, that we will stand up and do what is written about us in our books in the Library in Heaven!
WAYS TO HELP US
I had a slight setback on 12.31.23 with a seizure, but I am healed with only a little bit of pain left in my back. Praying for total healing of that, too. I’m not going to stop. This setback cost us dearly, but folks came through to help us. We do have the fundraising and advertising set up for GCU Events to help us. Folks can donate directly to the GoFundMe and Patreon and get rewards. They can also put an ad on the website under sponsors for $25 text ad or $50 for video ad per month, or yearly to save 2 months. See the OUR SPONSORS Page. We’ll be adding to our list of Critical Help Non-Profits on the WE SUPPORT Page.
We are working with Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on a date for at least 4 months out so that we can match a date with Town Green Park. Praying for a miracle here! It’s an all day event. Can you help us? Do you have any contacts? We accept national sponsors as well as local.
I AM AVAILABLE TO…
I am available to speak at venues, to schools, to businesses, etc., as well as play my music, and/or to mix them with my AMERICA DARE TO DREAM TOUR. I can do outside/inside venues, too. We can also do Micro FFD Events in smaller communities and towns, similar to the Enclave Conroe Event we did in August 2023. It’s our communities. We make them what we want them to be. I would like to start with the Micro Events in the Houston/San Antonio corridor first and then go further out as we are able financially, but we will go wherever needed and welcomed.
We have need of a home/home base, and some others things at the moment. See the OUR NEEDS Page for some of the things or contact us directly on our CONTACT FORM. Send us your phone number and we can talk if you want. We don’t have the staff right now to answer all of the phone calls if we shared it publicly. I hope you understand.
FAMILY FUN DAYS™ EVENTS
WE WILL BE SHARING CRITICAL COMMUNITY INFORMATION!
WE WILL BE ANSWERING QUESTIONS!
WE WILL BE BRINGING HELP AND/OR SHARING WHERE TO FIND IT!
WE WILL BE SHARING LOVE, HOPE, AND ENCOURAGEMENT!
GO FOR YOUR LIFE DREAM! THIS IS THE REAL AMERICA!
Thanks for taking the time to understand the events. If you’d like us to help you do a similar event yourself in your community, let us know.