JT Thompson’s gift for spreading positivity led to a successful career as a motivational speaker.
After years of posting brief upbeat talks online, he’s getting steady gigs as a speaker at Cape Cod schools. Earlier this year, he finalized nonprofit status for JT’s Chronicles, which he says will allow him to raise funds to reach and inspire even more kids.
It all started with pep talks for his son Daryan’s youth football team.
“I would always get the kids pumped up,” he said. “I would lead chants and all these six-year-old kids, seven-year-old kids are jumping up and down and holding hands. The other team would be like, ‘What is going on over there?’ I just helped them become a family. We would talk about different things, and some things had nothing to do with football. It was about how to be a better person, how to get up today and make your day a little bit better.
“It continued as Daryan was going through different grades. One day one of the other team’s coaches asked, ‘Can you come talk to my kids about school and life?’ By that time, my son was at DY [Dennis-Yarmouth Regional] High School. I started to put some talks together and people told me I was good at it. Sometimes you need other people to help you see you’re good at something.”
He enjoys speaking to children as young as fifth grade, “because they’re open, they’re figuring stuff out and they’re sponges.
“I remind them that they know right from wrong. ‘You can be a better person and what’s going to happen is you’re going to attract like-minded people.’ We talk about everything from bullying to loving yourself – real stuff. One kid wrote to me and said, ‘I wish you could come back every week because the bullies weren’t mean to us after you left.’”
Having nonprofit status will allow him to reach new geographic areas with his talks, he said.
“The plan is just to be out everywhere, wherever I go is my community. From Plymouth and Wareham to Boston and just keep going to New York and Chicago.”
JT continues to post his daily inspirational video, “JT’s Chronicles,” which can be seen on his Facebook page and YouTube channel
“It doesn’t matter your religion, it doesn’t matter your race, it doesn’t matter your age or how much money you have – every day, it’s all about positivity.”
There are a lot of other ways people know JT.
As a nurses’ aide at Cape Cod Hospital, JT assists the operating room staff, but perhaps his most important role is his direct interaction with patients.
“I come in early so I can visit the open-heart patients and get them comfortable,” he said. “I’m kind of like their adopted child for the time being. Sometimes we pray, sometimes we sing, sometimes we just talk and get to know each other, and it puts them at ease.”
He was the MC for the first few years of Dancing With the Docs, a fundraiser for Cape Wellness Collaborative. In 2019, he shifted gears and was the dance pro who guided hospitalist Dr. Mary-Amanda O’Neill to victory. He was also recognized that year by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus during Black Excellence on the Hill, a celebration of Black culture, excellence and achievement in Massachusetts.
In the early days of the COVID pandemic, JT, who was part of an ’80s dance group called Young Generation, posted a video on Facebook, where he showed off some dance moves to the theme from “Footloose.” The video went viral and drew a response from “Footloose” actor Kevin Bacon.
“This guy HAS THE MOVES,” Bacon wrote on his Facebook page. “I hope this brings you as much joy as it does me. Also we’re so lucky to have so many special folks like him working so hard to keep us safe and well during this time.”
“I felt pleased, happy, overjoyed, blessed,” JT said. “I want my message – one love, one family, one community – to be heard and that’s happening. I’m just trying to pass on positivity.”