Robert Streater, III was told as a child he would never walk again. His life would be very different. Despite that decree over his life, Streater never lost hope.
At age eight, at his childhood home in Richmond, Va., Streater was playing in a pile of leaves on a crisp autumn day. His uncle, who was unaware Streater was nearby, set fire to the leaves and Streater’s legs were severely burned.
While hospitalized for more than a year, Streater endured pain caused by skin grafts and other surgeries. After a spell in a wheelchair and leg braces, Streater improved.
“I never questioned why this happened to me or accepted what the doctors told me,” Streater said. “I just focused on when I was going to walk again.”
Streater’s faith left no room for negativity. He was encouraged to push beyond anyone else’s expectations. Those lessons serve as motivation for his latest initiative, TalkFusion, a mentorship program to help young entrepreneurs raise money via video email. It allows college students with entrepreneurial interests the opportunity to earn extra income through the convergence of technology, while continuing their studies.
“I am excited for the future,” said Streater, 50, of Tallahassee.
In high school, he began running and caught the attention of track coach Harry Shopper, who encouraged Streater to join the long distance running team. Streater received a long distance running scholarship to George Mason University. He was the first in his family to attend college.
Older people have always played a key role in Streater’s life. One afternoon, when he was still a young boy, an aunt drove him to a local station and took him inside. After a little encouragement from her, Streater eagerly embraced the field of communications.
At George Mason, he pursued a degree in broadcast journalism and for the first time found his passion for giving back to the community. He became a community mentor and interned at a local television station in Virginia.
Streater’s career path later took him overseas. He served in the U.S Army as a medical and public affairs specialist and was stationed in Europe for three years. He met his wife, Malverna, while doing an internship at a radio station after he left the military.
The television and radio broadcaster later earned his master’s degree from The Center for Biblical Studies in Tallahassee and is an ordained minister.
“Do not be afraid to encourage and mentor other students,” said Streater, who is also a motivational speaker. He also encourages students to find guidance through a mentor because his mentors reinforced his aspirations.
One of his goals is to influence youths and strengthen families for a stronger tomorrow.
“Get to know as many people as possible and always be personally accountable,” Streater said.
Streater and his wife have four children and operate, Team Streater Seminars and Services, which is a grassroots organization that promotes healthy marriages and fatherhood. In 2007, he and his wife published their first book, “26 Healthy Marriage/Relationship Tips.”
“He is constantly working on encouraging special needs families and promoting healthy marriages,” said Joyce Thomas, regional director from the federal administration of children and families.
Streater said he would like to write a children’s book about overcoming obstacles with faith and never giving up. He said it is important for children to learn this concept early in life.
“Imagination is a pretext and crystallizes what you will become in the future,” Streater said. “Memory is just a past recording of what you have done, so don’t keep rehearsing bad memories, look ahead.”
Those who know Streater said he remains humble despite his success.
“I believe he has his priorities in the correct order: God, family and education,” said Vera McIntyre, a colleague of Streater and founding president of United Families of America.
To learn more about Streater and his outreach, visit teamstreater.com, call 850-553-4334 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register for TalkFusion, visit www.jointalkfushion.com/1860313.