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Tacos, Kids, and Mentoring Future Changemakers

I recently shared tacos with the legendary Danny Trejo at his Los Angeles restaurant aptly named, Trejo Tacos. When my friends and grandchildren heard about our dinner, they couldn’t help themselves:

“That’s Machete!”

“I loved him in Spy Kids!”

“He was amazing as Rancor in Boba Fett!”

Perhaps you have your own Trejo favorite considering he has been in more than 300 movies and TV series combined. What a career!

The reason we decided to have dinner together was that we share a love of tacos along with a deep desire to help support the future changemakers of our world, children.

Everybody Loves Tacos

During dinner, we sampled the incredibly diverse menu at Trejo Tacos from the bean dip (my personal favorite) to the cauliflower tacos, Baja fish tacos, chicken enchiladas, guac, and then the amazing mango cheesecake. We talked about our experiences in prison, mine as a security guard and negotiator, and his as a prisoner.

The food was great and we tried it all as we let the conversation flow.

Future Changemakers

Like myself, Danny spends much of his time mentoring children. First, he is working with kids growing up in high-risk areas to mentor them away from situations that could land them in prison. Danny explained that this work was inspired by seeing his own cousin do jail time for something that could have been avoided. He believes they need someone to see them, mentor them, and help inspire their own curiosity outside of the zip code they were born into. I couldn’t agree more.

In addition to his focus on at-risk children, Danny is focusing specifically on children who are on the autism spectrum and/or have a learning disability. He pointed out that people with an autism diagnosis, for example, may not be fully understood and may not have all of the skills to manage an interaction with law enforcement. In the worst-case scenario, their reactions could be misconstrued, and situations elevated unnecessarily.

Several years ago, I started the D-ONE Foundation to support D1 athletes to make sure that, along with an amazing sports career, they have incredible lives outside of sports. We focus on financial literacy, ethics, social media, and how to surround themselves with great mentors and have purpose in their life.

Instilling Purpose Around You

I have written about the importance of purpose and its impact on your life and longevity. Danny is full of purpose. He is filled up when he is in the community making a difference for children that need it most. And he might even find serving up the best mango cheesecake and bean dip in town helps a bit as well.

If you haven’t found that special passion in your life, take a moment to consider what makes you get out of bed in the morning, and what makes you tick. If you’re still stumped, consider a conversation with a child in your life. Ask them what they are most excited about when they wake each morning. Their answers just might inspire you in new ways!

And definitely grab a bite at Trejo’s Tacos the next time you’re in Los Angeles.

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