It began with 100 + students, shuttled 10 miles from Tulsa’s Northside on a summer day. With temperatures reaching nearly 100 degrees, it was hot, it was humid and the dense air weighed upon their shoulders like a blanket soaked in brine. And yet, compared to the nightmare of substance abuse, child homelessness and gang violence that had become their world, the heat was a comfort to them. These students were at-risk, and in danger of losing themselves; becoming prisoners of their environment. The benefit event that they had the chance to attend may have been their only moments of relief, or of rescue. On May 1st, 2008, the students came expecting fellowship and fun with friends, but they left with so much more. What they expected to be a night filled with fellowship and friends, became so much more.
The 2008 Amped benefit event changed the way that Coach Joshua Eze sought to improve the lives of at-risk youths and adults in his community. He witnessed countless youths re-dedicating their lives to education, instead of drug abuse. He witnessed youth re-dedicating their lives to social injustice instead of gang violence and in 2009 he decided to go forth and fulfill the call that was on his life to build people, to build relationships and to build communities.
Coach Josh, the founder of UNPLUGGED debuted his first book titled UNPLUGGED in 2009. The motivational piece discusses the top struggles that keep people plugged into negative influences and provides insight for ways to UNPLUG from them. It was during this time that Coach Josh also launched UNPLUGGED’s YouTube channel with over 1200 life coaching videos ranging in topics from Overcoming Substance Abuse, Coping with Insecurity, and cultivating healthy relationships. These videos enabled UNPLUGGED to reach an international audience. Subscribers were diverse in age, gender, racial/ethnic background and socioeconomic status. On October 30, 2010, Coach Josh launched UNPLUGGED locally in the city of Charlotte.
Since 2010, UNPLUGGED has hosted over 300 coaching events, produced over 1200 YouTube videos watched in over 100 countries, provided solutions to over 300 unanswered questions, mentored 80 students at Briarwood Elemenary and hosted four benefit events/ concerts - 2 in the heart of Charlotte one on the Campus of UNC Charlotte and one this past November. By Gods grace we will do even more.