From the moment Extended Family Program Leader Cary Weaver navigates his wheelchair to the front of the room, whether it be a small classroom with three students or a gym with hundreds of students waiting, he has their attention.  They are captivated as he begins to tell his story, “When I had my wreck in the fall of 2008, my life changed forever.  I thought it was over.  But, as I was having my pity party, I felt that God was telling me, ‘I didn’t save your life so you could feel sorry for yourself,’ so I thought to myself, ‘You may not be able to walk, but you still have a PURPOSE!’”

The challenge for Cary then shifted from dwelling on what he couldn’t do to figuring out what he should be doing.  Not being able to walk could have remained an obstacle, as he often explains to the students he addresses, but not letting anything stop you from having the life you want is how you turn obstacles into challenges.

Cary initially thought landscaping was his purpose, and he still enjoys working outside today, when he isn’t leading groups.  Even though using a wheelchair makes the job take longer, Cary is not satisfied until the work is done.  It was during his lunch break from his landscaping job one day that he met Jerry Clemons, who saw Cary climb out of his dream truck, a 2013 Chevy Silverado, and admired his resilience.  Not long after, Jerry introduced Cary to his wife, Laure Clemons, the Founder and Executive Director of Extended Family, a not-for-profit, community-based organization that provides support and programs for families of the incarcerated.

Cary remembers that day vividly, “I met Laure and she wanted me to come speak to a group of kids.  For the first time in my life, I knew right then that this was my purpose in life, and what God wanted me to do!  I love what I do each and every day and the kids respond to me very well because I can relate to some of them and have been in the same place they are in now.” 

Cary tells his story and then challenges the kids, “Try and think of something I can’t do!”  Kids of all ages, even some adults, throw out all kinds of answers and Cary answers each one candidly.  His openness about how his choices have shaped his life draw his groups in and he is able to reach them with his message, “No matter what we have thrown our way we can never give up in life!  With God and a good mindset and attitude, we can do anything!”

Schedule Cary Weaver to come and speak to your group by calling 256-927-3038.  For more information about Extended Family programs and services, find us on Facebook or visit our website,

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