Mentoring for Change, The reason why..

Welcome to Mentoring For Change 

My  Mission is  developing and assisting   leaders that are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and young adults. In becoming a catalyst for their  personal growth, happiness  and having  a vibrant future. 


Who am I ?

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Rod Dion 

40 years as  business owner, operator or partner in many businesses

SBA certification programs,

Certified Life Coach, Speaker and Trainer.

Kaine Ramsey Certification 2017,  Former Green Beret,

The John Maxwell Team 2018 Certification

Mentoring and Life group Leadership Training at Family worship,  Pueblo.

Irs certification on 501(c3s)


jm cert


Kaine Ramsey’s 19 Hour course took more than 100 hours to complete Properly.  It can be taken online and it is pretty intense and thought provoking.

The John Maxwell certifications programs are ongoing with thousands of hours of trainings, PDFs, Power points, websites, etc. leaders in there class. They operate in every country in the world today.  It is kind of like drinking from a fire hose. There education and certification programs start out at 5,500.00 and then more as you move up the circuit of training regimes.. it’s a great Team but can be a bit much for someone working with limited capita l..

other notable programs, 4 chair discipling, walking as Jesus did, North point mentoring and the list goes on.


Let me share my story with you and why this is important to me. This may take a while and evolve as time pass’.  I’m catching up as I go along.

I have been fortunate to have some great mentors in my life.  My hope here is to inspire you to reach out in any small way to advance the life of another… We all have special skills that once you share them you can’t imaging the reward that you will feel.

Why this is important to ME!

I was raised by a viscous and angry man back in a time when parents could beat their children and their wife’s and get away with it. I will spare you the details but let’s says I’m lucky to be alive today.

We lived in a very small farming community 8 miles from a town of two hundred people.  Back then things didn’t get attention or people choose not to be involved. I was the oldest of four children. Life on the farm is hard work every day, but it had it perks. Hunting, fishing and lot of pets..

At the age of 13 our ancestral home was destroyed by a tornado and we moved to the outskirts of the nearby town with 100,000 population. So off to a public school I went.  It was a hard transition because the city kids were different. They were cool, high-water tight pants, argyle socks, the Fonzie look you know back in 1968.  Enter me with my oversize baggy jeans and crew cut that got me lots of harassing   from my peers as you can imagine.  It was the 6th grade.

One Friday, I was required to be the safety patrol outside of the school and on that day the nightmare of bullying and verbal abuse got worse.

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Mark———, who was the school’s biggest bully threw a rock and broke out one of the teacher’s car windows.  That was the day all hell broke loose for me. I was required to tell the truth about what I saw and who the culprit was. This event and what transpired afterwards was that like letting a tornado out of the barn.

The police were called, and lot of bad things happened that day.

The bully now in a police squad car, parents summoned, lots of yelling and screaming by his parents.  Well as you can imagine the rest was something out of a dramatic TV movie. The next couple of weeks I was beaten up by the bully and his gang repeatedly and once again the police we involved.  The incident at school happened only two weeks away from the summer break.

Great, I lived only a block from the bully and his lifelong friends who were loyal to him.

That summer:  in 1968. that summer our next door neighbor _______ (mentor Number One) who had moved here from Japan and was a master in the martial arts  became Mr. Miagge   from the movie Karate kid  for me. A true story of kind neighbor and great human being   who went out of his way to help me just a neighbor kid.   He taught me self-defense but he also introduced me to life discipline. Not the kind that my father had shown me but one that would serve me the rest of my life.

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I spent most of the summer learning to defend myself against attacks without the use of a weapon.  Even though I was smaller in height than the bully I was strong from working on the farm throwing bales of hay and other farming jobs, so with strength and karate I was ok..  I thought.

Now, with my new-found skills of self-defense well under way I was able to defend myself against the attack one or two people at a time, so my attacker decided to recruit more of his gang and once again the police became involved.  When that didn’t work out, he got older and bigger kids to attack me. When was this going to stop, I asked myself? The answer was Never, so a decision was made that I would transfer and commute to a school 5 miles away from my home to avoid the constant threat of conflict from the gang during school and after.

Wow, a fresh start, and yes it was.  I was taken under the wing of Mr. Jack—— ( mentor Number two)- who was made aware of the full scope of my   situation  including my abusive father.  He was the school’s principal and a truly great man, and I had so much respect for him. He was well-respected in his community, truly loved by the kids at school.  He also had a great family and was truly an example to live by.  He was truly a great leader and touched to lives of many kids.

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Jack_______ was very involved the Boy Scouts of America and had a troop at the school.  He was also the head of the Jayhawk Area Boy Scouts of America.  The camp which was a week at a time home for hundreds of kids in the BSA program in the summer was one of the largest camp’s  in the United states next to Filmomt ,  which is  in New Mexico.

Since I already had outdoor skills from years of farm life and being outdoors, I excelled in the skills taught in the BSA program. I advanced rapidly to be the first kid my age to complete the program and became an eagle scout within one year and at the age of 16 in the council.  Jack invited me to become camp counselor in and spend my summers at the camp, (which was a win for me) I give credit to my father for allowing me to go. I spent the next three summers at the camp and went on to teach scouting skills to kids not much older than I was.  I started out teaching swimming, canoeing, archery, firearms and wilderness survival.  I eventually taught many other skill sets required for advancement programs that were offered at the camp. This was my first taste of mentoring.  Little did I know what the value of that time was for me but, let me tell you it made the difference of my lifetime and I highly recommend Boys Scouts to all kids who want a brighter future. I went on to Explorers, which is another level of BSA. I Cannot express how important this experience was in my life and I can honestly say that without it I would have LOST MY LIFE. This allowed me to get away from my problems of going outside into a brutal situation and my father’s wrath .. a win-win.

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School came easy to me.  I loved to read and was an A+ student.   In the 8th grade I was running in PE class I caught the eye of Coach _Goodier, ( mentor Number 3) The physical education teacher and also  the cross county, track,  swimming  and tennis coach at the school.  He asked me to run cross-country on his team.  I was a fast and strong runner.   He was also made aware of my home life and situation that had brought me to his school.  I think he had come from a similar situation in life and took a special interest because he knew what it was like.

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He wound up coaching me in all the above sports the rest of my time at the school and fortunately for me he was also  promoted  to coach at the High School  that I went   to, so all in all he was my coach and mentor for 5 years. He was also a great strong leader in my life, even if he did push me harder than others at times.  Special note here and I’m not a bragging but honoring my coach, I was the only freshman in first year of high school at a  5A school to letter in a varsity  sport which was a big deal.  I lettered in Varsity cross country and swimming.  Thanks Coach.

I guess you could say so far, my adversity had become a win for me.

Chapter two: The journey continues.

My next mentor had strong and dramatic impact on my life in business which has been a 42-year long journey.  Meet Bob Roenbaugh,  I first met Bob thru his son Kent who was my best friend, We met in Jr. high.  His dad, Bob, a businessman, a banker – owning several banks, and auto dealerships, multiple hotels and motels, 100s of rental properties and heavily invested in the stock market.   A mover and shaker in our area.  Friends and associated with many very successful world-renowned businessmen. This man had a major impact on my business life, showing me how business was done and what it took to be a success at any endeavor.

Bob became kind of like a father to me.  We would later do many business deals together and over the years remained good friends, Bob is 94 and has lost his hearing but Kent and I still keep in touch, so I know how he’s doing. Bob, is a great man and will always be remembered with my highest respect , love and admiration.

It is to these men that I dedicate Mentoring for Change, they truly were the reason I made it here and I hope someday, a smarter and wiser old person will say the same things about me.

This is what I believe we are here for, to assist those less fortunate than ourselves.  To inspire, lead, guide, support, encourage our next generation. Let us all take a hand in this great challenge of make a difference in the world we live.

“Mentoring for Change, The reason why..”

Chapter 2.

About My life’s path,

I was put on a positive course  when I  became interested in being in business, great thanks for this passion goes to my mentor  Bob R. He was instrumental in guiding me in the process of starting  a business with the end in mind.  Building a successful enterprise that served the needs of others and made a profit year after year.

He introduced me the SCORE. which stands for( Senior core of retired Executives.)

This was a part of the Small business Association, a government organization that still exist today to assist small business owners get going and stay profitable..

Bob, also encouraged me attend  SMI ( Success motivation Institute)  in Waco Texas,  A friend of Bob’s from college was  the mastermind behind this great organization that produced and published many self motivation and development programs for individuals and businesses…  This became the springboard that was just what I needed to flourish. The knowledge and experience of great leaders of the time on tape for me to absorb and expand on. To this day it is still  one of my most valuable tools, and with the advances in technology it is readily  available to all willing to listen to Youtube , Hoopla, Overdrive, Libby, Audible, and a wide variety of specialized Podcast that are produced today not to mention without the cost we paid in the old days..

I can’t stress enough this process which we will get into in more detail later in this process’ on growth chapter.

I listened and read all of the time absorbing everything that I could get my hands on. From business Psychology, sales, communication and the list goes on.

I’m not going to go into the intricate details of all  of the business that I was involved with but I am going to list the business’ that went into and list to time frames to allow you to get an understanding of my experiences.. I think that a teacher should have experience in order to offer advice to others. My practical hands on process is important for you to understand what I have done and how it helps me relate in the real world.

I would also like to say, business and photography have always been my passion and I was always looking for a challenge.

This list of businesses and or Jobs are from my age of 16. Some of the time frames will overlap since most of my life I have I operated multiple business’ at the same time with the help of partners, employees and team members. To all of them I am most grateful, they helped me become the person that I am today, each and every one !

1969-2017 Real estate  Investment,  Purchased FHA.  foreclosed homes and rehabbed them for sale and rental.  In Various capacities over the years. In the early years I did most of the work myself if time allowed. I have owned to date over 100 properties.

1971-1973  Started a commercial painting and home restoration  company.

1973 I  Joined the United States Marine corp.  I was seriously injured in my 10th week of training  in an accident  and was not able to serve any longer.. I was in the base hospital for several months.. and returned home in a neck brace.

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1974-1979  Studio one, Lawrence Kansas,  In partnership with my hair dresser Bernice parson.  I rehabbed the space and  my partner and I had a 5 year buy-out contract   and she ran the day-to-day operations of the hair salon.   We converted One of  the rooms into my office and It also served as the pick up location for  university photo which brought all the college kids into pick up their

1973-1975 Campus Photo, Photographing Fraternity and Sorority party on  KU Kansas University  campus. This was my  part-time gig  but took 11-15 photographers to cover the big times of the year for party’s and house photos.

1973- 2005  Auto resale: with my passion for fine cars I bought repossessed sports cars from  bank’s  and resold for profit.. I did drive them for fun.:)

1979-1980  I built the second Studio One In Kansas city Missouri,  Purchased a Historic home just off of the J,c Nichols Country Club  Plaza,, one of Kansas Hottest attractions, and shopping areas  I  converted to a  3 story, 7 room  home into a 14 chair salon with semi private rooms that were rented to stylist and nail techs.. I sold in one year to members of the salon group to move to California for hopefully better weather.. haha

1979 -1980  I formed video Replay, Video productions, We offered home inventory recording, weddings, bar-bat mitzvahs, music videos and Life and time video portraits.  I developed this business with the sole intent of selling it and when I left for California it was sold  to  the two boys that had worked for me  as a startup business with some financial help from their father.  This  business was started alongside  my existing  photography business.

Professional Model and Talent Management 1980- 1984

In 1980-1984 I  Moved to San Jose California,  just outside San Francisco Ca.  That is  where I met Tim Murphy,  who  was looking someone  to share a very large space with. Tim and I met and discovered that with  my skills as a motivator, business partner/ promoter we would be a great team. Tim had worked for a modeling agency in Las Angeles,  Ca.  as their fashion photographer, Tim  had an interesting concept but  Tim, was a burly, bearded man, a fabulous fashion photographer but not the outward image you think of when you think of a talent scout and definitely  not a business guy.  Together, we rapidly  built one to the bay area’s most profitable agencies, representing    hundreds fashion models, commercial models, store models and children. 


The next chapter,

1984-1999 Travelers Motel and Shady Acres Mobile Home Park,  Topeka Ks,

My friend/ mentor  Bob R,  called me  in California and said he had a motel that he had financed and it was going under and asked if I would like to take it over.  It was nothing sexy but turned into a real good investment.  One year later I purchase the shady Acres Mobile home and Rv park adjacent to the Motel.  One mile from FAFB air base and on a major hwy,  it  became home to lots of young military men and women.  I moved back to Kansas City area and commuted as needed or at least one day a week..

1984-1999 Designs International and Images by Rod Dion Photography

I move to  Mission Kansas and Bought another building to convert to salon  under the name Design’s International Salon and Image’s by Rod Dion photography business.

I built the salon  in one building and added  a separate building for the Photo studio. The combination was a great success and the Glamour shot was born. I continued with this concept for many years.

1989-2001 I became partners in Mission Antiques and The Adirondack Chair manufacturing Company,  the antique business was interesting and my main role was going to auction’s and acquiring inventory. The day today operation was handled by my business partner. In 2001 Donny bought me out of the A.C.C

My role in The Adirondack Chair Company  was mostly finance, marketing and sales with my partner Donny,  running the production facility in Harrisonville Mo,  We purchased semi truck loads of finished  white pine from a mill in Arkansas and hand created beautiful outdoor furniture. Our product was sold drop and shipped to locations  all over the United States.

In 1999 I moved to Overland Park Ks,  I purchased  a  3 story 6,000 square ft. home on 1.5 acres and moved my office in the lower level.  This  would accommodate my growing family photo clientele.


Over the years  I grew into a ranked photographer winning several national awards for best  portrait  of the year.  My commercial clients would include Hallmark Cards, Bayer Aspirin,  Coca-cola  Harrah’s Casino, and many others.

I loved the art of portraiture and began photographing families at my outdoor home studio.  I build a large pond with a  stream that had  2  bridges over it.   I  planted thousands of flowers in  different parts of the yard  so that I could work right at home and control my environment.  The public parks had gotten strict on their use for commercial purposes.

Photography has alway been my passion  I’ve created 1000’s of portraits over the years and still love photography to this day.

Well that’s a glimpse at my story.  The reason that what I have done is important is that without my early day mentors none of this would have happened. I believe this with the utmost certainty.


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