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Quadriplegic Beauty Entrepreneur Shares Story of Homeless Photographer Genius

Francesco Clark and Mark Reay understand adversity in a way that others may not. In this premier episode of the new HooplaHa original series "Stories That Inspire", Francesco Clark, President of Clark's Botanicals and a quadriplegic, talks with actor, photographer, and model, Mark Reay about his past homelessness and together they share the positive side of adversity!


Clark's Botanicals was born when founder and president, Francesco Clark, suffered major central nervous system injuries when he accidentally dove into the shallow end of a swimming pool, unable to walk again. With a 19 percent chance to live, the odds were not in his favor, but that didn't deter his motivation. "My life didn't just go on.. it got better", said Clark.

Mark Reay, who was a featured subject on 60 Minutes and in the award winning documentary Homme Less, speaks out about the 6 years when his home was a rooftop in New York City's East Village… after going broke living the fast life of a fashion photographer in the South of France. Mark Reay's advice to us all is to "give to others." Living on a rooftop didn't stop Mark Reay from volunteering his time to others and in fact, winning awards for his efforts.

Together, Francesco and Mark share their stories of adversity and the obstacles they've faced in overcoming them. And they teach us that with courage, strength, and determination anything is possible!

This video was produced by Lucia Nazzaro, shot by John Houghton and William Trotta, designed and edited by Denis Troi.

To see Francesco Clark's incredible personal story click here and to see more inspiring videos like this, check out our Youtube Channel!

Paralyzed Beauty CEO Still Fearless at 40 - Fearless Like Me (E2)

Very few of us are born fearless, but some ascend to that state from a seminal moment in their lives. In this episode of "Fearless Like Me", Francesco Clark recalls when he faced that moment, lying paralyzed in a hospital bed after a pool accident. "I was told by my surgeon that I would never talk, breath on my own, or move my arms ever again," he recalled. "I learned to become fearless at that moment when I felt my life had been robbed of who I was."

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81-Year-Old Priest Revives Tough Boston Neighborhood

For the past 10 years Father Richard Conway has been a fixture on the streets of Dorchester, a tough neighborhood south of Boston which has seen its share of gang violence and upheaval. He doesn't wear a bulletproof vest or carry a weapon, but what he does have is much more powerful and meaningful to his community – a warmth and charisma that is building bridges between the residents, local government and the police to bring positive change to his troubled district.

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Helping the “Unhoused” One Shower At A Time

What is universally despised in large, modern, metropolitan areas more than its public transportation, and in particular, the city bus? Slow, crowded, unpleasant – it mostly reminds us of lean times of struggle. However, a creative group of folks from San Francisco have come up with a brilliant idea that repurposes this inner city workhorse, converting it from a people mover to a mobile oasis where unhoused neighbors can seek comfort.

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Brow Guru Beats Adversity Time and Again – The Ramy Gafni Story

Ramy Gafni did not start out with a burning desire to be in the beauty industry. While growing up in Queens, New York, his parents always encouraged him to choose his own path and find the thing that made him happy. Ramy thought that law school was where he would thrive but after a year he had doubts that this was his calling. On an impulse, he traveled to Australia to attend Beauty School and after the first day, he knew what his future would be.

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A Sanctuary For Rescued Chimps

Some scientists spend their lifetimes in medical research in order to cure the world's most dangerous diseases. While we regularly celebrate their tireless work that saves thousands of lives around the world, we often forget about the animal subjects essential to this research, many of whom were bred for this role and spent their entire lifetime in lab cages. In 2014, an organization was founded by animal welfare advocates to address at least one aspect of this issue. Project Chimps was born with the mission to end the use of chimpanzees in medical research and to provide lifelong care to former research animals at its 236-acre forested sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia.

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Using Music and Art to Build Friendships on the Border

In a small, brightly decorated building only a stone's throw from the border wall between Mexico and the USA, 50 to 100 children a week come to do hands-on art projects, learn a musical instrument, or just socialize with others. In this special place, Director Gretchen Baer's mission is to show kids that anything is possible if you think creatively, no matter who you are or where you came from.

Nonprofit Studio Mariposa is a free transformative art center for kids in Naco, Mexico, along the Arizona border. For the past three years, kids come to the small studio once a week where Gretchen and her volunteers set up art projects and music lessons. The art projects include painting, making bracelets, mosaics and weaving on a loom.

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Sharing Books and Building Communities Through Little Free Libraries

** To celebrate National Book Lovers Day (AUG 9), OGTV is re-sharing this story about an idea that has sparked the love of books for millions readers around the world. **

When Todd Bol's mother died in 2009, he wanted to honor her in a special way. She was a dedicated teacher and an avid reader, so Todd built a small model of a one room schoolhouse, filled it with books and put it in the front yard of his home in Hudson, Wisconsin. His neighbors loved what he'd done, so he kept doing it.

When Todd saw how much of a positive impact this had on his community, he decided to keep it going. Advocates in other towns picked up on the idea and Little Free Libraries began to expand across the country. There are now over 75,000 of them, in all 50 states, and even in 85 countries across the world.

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Asperger Actor Finds His Audience! (With A Little Help From Mom)

Jodi Murphy is a marketing specialist, lifestyle journalist and out-of-the-box thinker who works daily to promote self-acceptance and understanding for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. She is also Mom to son Jonathan Murphy, who was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 13, but has gone on to become a Bay Area actor, a voice over artist, and a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).

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