The following is a letter that mother Michelle Fouad wrote as a reference for other skeptical or concerned parents / families. Michelle originally objected very strongly to Brandon working with Southwestern Advantage, however as the letter explains in detail, she eventually became supportive and is now one of Southwestern’s biggest fans.
Dear Caring and Concerned Family,
As a parent, we want to protect our children at all costs. When my son Brandon Abernathy told me about a summer internship with Southwestern Advantage selling books, I was very skeptical. I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea of allowing my son to go to a different state and stay and work with strangers. My first thoughts were, “what if these people treat my son bad, hurt him, or steal from him?” Not to mention, I was discouraged of helping my son financially nor could I be able to talk to him much. Secondly, I thought “sales?!!” How can this be lucrative? No way was my son going to go “door to door” where I wouldn’t be able to protect or comfort him whenever I felt I needed to. I wasn’t comfortable with him carrying all that money or being out by himself all day long. I was so scared, because anything can happen.
Virgie and Audrey (two of Brandon’s managers) spoke with me about the program and what their expectations were and how well they invested in and monitored each student. This helped me feel a lot better. Signing the parent support letter made me feel even more skeptical, however I soon realized that this was my own fear that I was dealing with. I did a lot of thinking about everything and came to the realization that I couldn’t protect my son from everything. I had to step back and allow him to be an adult. So, I signed the consent form and decided to support my son rather than give him permission.
During the summer, my son’s first few weeks were a little bit rough, but I started to notice significant changes in him. Even though he was struggling at first, his attitude was so positive! I thought, “how can he be so positive even though he wasn’t making TONS of money at first?” My son explained to me that the intense emotional training that Southwestern invested into him was what had helped him. “Never give up”, he would say, “because when one door closes, another one is waiting to be opened.”
Southwestern teaches our children about “life” through selling books. Everyday in everyone’s lives we have good and bad days. It is how we perceive it and what we take from it that ultimately matters. I learned this through watching my son grow into a new person, better than before. Believe in yourself and you can do anything. Southwestern helped me grow and learn how to be better within myself and I thank them for that. My son is completely responsible, and is extremely motivated. He takes on each day with a positive attitude and no matter what happens, he does his best to make anything negative into something positive. Southwestern is like a family, and I am apart of that family now too. Please allow Southwestern to mold and shape your child to be the best “them” they can be. Open yourself up for the growth just as your child is trying to do. You will not regret it. If you have any questions or just want to talk, please contact me.