Testimonials 2017-03-11T13:36:25+00:00

Read what others have to say about Chaz’s speeches and workshops!

“Chaz Barracks’ talk at the University of Richmond rocked my socks! I’m constantly amazed at the speakers Common Ground brings to inspire students. As a first-year student, I’m really glad I came out to hear Chaz speak.”
Student, University of Richmond
“Chaz truly understands the power of a story, for both the storyteller and the story listener. Chaz shared this wisdom with our Change the World RVA students, showing them the potential for healing and illumination that their stories carry. For so long, I have hoped that they could understand that their stories, even when they are filled with pain and struggle, have the capacity to change their own lives as well as the lives of others.

We have all enjoyed getting to know Chaz and including him in our “community of caring adults.” I have especially appreciated his generosity and gentleness of spirit, and his desire for all young people to realize their full potential. Both of our workshops were fun and uplifting for all of us.”

Natalie May, President, Change the World RVA
“Chaz’s style and enthusiasm is so captivating. He suggested that we do a hands-on activity with our participants. This was something that was impressive and intriguing because our organization always tries to think outside the box to engage people and get them to learn and think.

Chaz’s presentation gave insight into who he is as a person and how he has become who he is today. Chaz encouraged participants to become more aware of what events in their lives have shaped who they are as people today. This was particularly helpful for our participants as most of them can be identified as parents of children on the Autism Spectrum.

Through an interpretive series of movements, participants were asked to define the some of the best and worst moments of their life and to think and reflect. At first some participants were wary or skeptical of what might occur, but once they got comfortable, they opened up and embraced the idea. By the end of the exercise the participants were positively affected by the experience.

Participants found Chaz to be energetic, encouraging and unique. RAIN plans to ask Chaz to speak at other events in the future and appreciates his unique perspective on life and the items that shape and form people and decisions. RAIN would recommend this presentation to any organization that is looking to think outside of the box.”

Executive Director, Richmond Autism Integration Network (RAIN)
“Chaz’s speech helped bring my own life into perspective. We all have aspects of our lives that are negative, but Chaz’s inspirational speech helped me to continue to see the positives. Chaz has the ability to strike a chord with his audience. You laugh, you cry, and you think. All three are characteristics of an amazing speaker. I feel honored that I had the opportunity to hear him open up about his own story, so I can continue to write my own story of life.”
Gail, A Richmond Mom
“I enjoyed having Chaz as a guest speaker at Virginia State University. His story and the exercise that we did helped me understand that its ok to go through different obstacles and not worry about the negative. There is always a positive result to every situation, you just have to understand what it is. Chaz is an amazing person and people like him need to be known to the world. There are so many people who can be inspired by Chaz just like I was.”
Student, Virginia State University
“Chaz came to speak to the Friends School in Baltimore and was absolutely amazing. He was generous in sharing his own story and in this way he touched many who listened. His comments about what it was like for him as an athlete got some of our student athletes talking about how they could be better allies to their LGBTQ peers. He talked about what it means to be a real friend and students came back to his examples over and over again over the course of the year. His talk inspired students and faculty to tell their own stories during a panel discussion of what it is like to be LGBTQ in our community during a presentation the following spring.
Chaz was equally engaging with the parents who came to his evening talk. Chaz was absolutely fantastic. He is a natural speaker and teacher. Kids and adults alike found him inspiring and engaging. He was one of the best speakers I have brought to my school.”
Felicia Wilks, Director of Diversity, Friends School of Baltimore
“We had the wonderful opportunity to have Chaz visit our weekly Youth Support Group of 20 or so LGBTQ youth. Chaz and I worked together before the group met to discuss the best ways for this particular group of youth to tell their story, which I really appreciated. For the group meeting, Chaz led the youth in a ROSMY ballet, where each youth identified five specific locations in the room and five particular movements with five different events in their lives. As the youth worked through trying to figure out a location and movement for each event, they gradually got into their groove and began to lose themselves in the space, seeming less and less aware of the other youth around them.

Eventually, it felt as though we were all moving individually, but as part of a greater whole, like one organism with a hundred different movements and events and experiences, all moving together. It was really powerful to experience and to witness.
We have all enjoyed getting to know Chaz and including him in our “community of caring adults.” I have especially appreciated his generosity and gentleness of spirit, and his desire for all young people to realize their full potential. Both of our workshops were fun and uplifting for all of us.”

Jessica Rathbun-Cook, Youth Programs Director, ROSMY

Add your own comments below, or use #IAMMYLIFEtalks on social media!

“I Am My Life was such an amazing experience! I loved being able to connect with people over the common medium of storytelling. Regardless of where you’re from or where you’re going, you have a story to tell. Though we looked within ourselves, we created something together out of our different experiences that have hurt us, healed us, and shaped us. It was a genuinely remarkable, touching experience. I would do it again x a million. You all were awesome mentors through it all! Thank you so much for an incredible weekend that I will carry with me for a long time.”
Kate, St. Catherine's High School

One Comment

  1. Denise Barracks March 17, 2015 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    I read and must say so proud of you Chaz ,

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