For tickets, contact Talia Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (904) 899-6300 x 4712
For prevention month, River Region Human Services will host a Recovery & Beyond Luncheon featuring keynote speaker Lucille O’Neal. Dr. O’Neal is an author spokesperson, socialite, and is the mother of former NBA Center, Shaquille O’Neal.
Today, Dr. Lucille O’Neal may be the mother of one of the greatest athletes of all time, but Lucille O’Neal is much more than “Shaquille O’Neal’s mom.” Acquainted early in life with turmoil, O’Neal’s circumstances shaped her perspective, strengthening her resolve to overcome the challenges she would later encounter. She has endured poverty, rejection, abuse, addiction, and the illness of a child, yet today her faith and compassion for others is stronger than ever.
At age 12, Dr. O’Neal told God that she wanted to be a motivational speaker. A tall, skinny child, she always felt different — a feeling that caused her to have low self-esteem throughout her youth. She eventually learned to drown those feelings with alcohol. After becoming a mother at the young age of 17 — and eventually a wife and mother of three more children — O’Neal was married for 28 years, never letting go of her dream.
In addition to being an active parent and grandparent, O’Neal is involved in numerous youth-oriented and community projects. Her commitment and devotion to volunteer projects is reflected in her past and current involvement with various organizations such as the Orlando Chapter of the United Negro College Fund, the Reading is Fundamental Program, and Scholastic America, among many others.
Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go as well as in her keynotes. Touching on her years of spiritual unrest and mental welfare, she shares her struggles and disappointments against the backdrop of her sweetest memories and proudest accomplishments. After 56 years, O’Neal has gained the wisdom to recognize her wrongs and guide other women down a different path. Her story is proof that it’s never too late for a new beginning.
In 1997, O’Neal fulfilled her longtime dream of going back to school. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science in business administration from the Adult Education Program at Bethune-Cookman University and received a master of arts in organizational management at the University of Phoenix.
She is president of the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players Association, Inc.; president of My Sister/My Friend, Inc.; and Southeast director of the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund, which is the fund established by her family to help raise money for educational needs and nursing scholarships. Some other organizations with which she is involved include the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Orlando, the National Education Association, Florida Hospital’s Foundation Gala and Celebrity Stroll, Trey Whitfield Foundation Scholarship Fund, Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association affiliated with Meharry Medical College Scholarship Fund, Boys and Girls Clubs of Orlando, Mary McLeod Bethune Statue Project, Central Florida Women’s Resource Center, and the YaYa Network.
After 30 years of raising two sons and two daughters, Lucille resumed her studies in an Adult Education Program at Bethune-Cookman University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in June 2003. In March 2005, she completed her graduate program, Master of Arts in Organizational Management, at the University of Phoenix. Lucille later went on to be honored with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in May 2016 from Bethune-Cookman University.