Functional Training Centre

EP085: The Impact of Mentoring and Guiding Youth and How to Build Social Change into Your Business w/ Marcus Harden

On this show I bring on Marcus Harden who is not only an OG at Vigor Ground Fitness and Performance, but also an incredible human being. Marcus has worked in eduction and with youth for close to two decades. He inspired me to start the Vigor DREAM program. A scholarship program that I am working with Marcus to develop that will mentor, guide and support young men and women through accountability, coaching, fitness and performance. Essentially, it will be the mentorship program that I could have used when I was knucklehead and getting into trouble growing up.

Marcus Harden is the co-founder of ACE Academy, a non-profit that serves young men of color – specifically African American males and other historically marginalized young men of color. ACE Academy is part of the initial cohort of School Foundry and looks to open as a school model in Fall of 2019. Marcus is in his 15th year in education, having served at multiple levels, including educational policy, school-based counselling, Community Engagement Management for WA Charters, and currently as a Principal Intern completing the University of Washington Danforth program. Marcus is a proud Southeast Seattle native, the voice of Rainier Beach High School, a proud mentor, parent, son, karaoke legend—in his own mind—and aspiring Superhero.

We talk about the lessons of being a great mentor and coach, how to go about creating your own programs for the kids in needs, and how to cook them into your business to create more of an impact – while also connecting yourself and your business to something meaningful. 

Let’s go.


  • How Marcus ended up getting into youth education despite his belief that he didn’t like kids or want to do anything with them
  • The lessons and impact of adopting 4 kids at the age of 26, where it led Marcus, and what you can learn from it
  • How going to 21 funerals for kids in 4 years changed him and what it’s made him take action on
  • The 2nd and 3rd order consequences of your decisions and how are they showing up in your life in a negative way
  • The MOST important thing to do when mentoring youth and coaching that most people miss
  • The big step of taking on the responsibility of a mentorship and the reason why you may be stuck (you’ll be surprised at the answer)
  • What the “love-ful pedagogy” is and how you can apply it to your business and life to make both a lot better
  • The biggest problems in the education system and the solutions that can change how you make a difference
  • The “Champ Of The Day” exercise and how you can use it in your life and business
  • Why you’re not your brother’s keeper, but rather your brother and what this concept means for you
  • The story of how belief changed a whole class of kids from the worst to the best, and why you shouldn’t look at anyone’s “file”
  • The lesson of the “13 year old you” and how it will help you drop labels, get curious, and treat people with no judgement or labels
  • The AAC model (Affirmation, Accountability and Correction) and how you can use it in coaching, leadership and when mentoring youth
  • How to develop a impactful program in your business that will create change as well as differentiate you to help build a more profitable business 


ACE Academy:

Marcus Harden Instagram:

Vigor Ground Fitness and Performance:

Vigor Life Podcast (iTunes):

Luka Hocevar YouTube Channel:

Luka Hocevar Instagram:

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback that you’d like to share? Leave me a review on iTunes.

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