Facing hardship, having troubles, or need inspiration? We’ve all been there.

The Beating the Odds Foundation was founded in 1990 by Rocco Scalzi, a former Altoona Pennsylvania police officer who managed to re-focus his life after a tragic incident in 1980 during his rookie year. After choosing to turn his life around despite facing many obstacles, Rocco took his message of hope to kids all across the country. He recognized how all children are at-risk to become victims of poor choices and other self-destructive behaviors. And although certain at-risk factors are easy to identify in some youth, it is impossible to predict how everyone will react when faced with hardships. So Rocco’s message to the youth of America focused on the importance of developing a never-give-up attitude.

To officially kick off his inspirational organization, Rocco brought 15,000 students to Three Rivers Stadium, then-home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, to hear first-hand how other people had reached their dreams and goals despite the obstacles they faced. The first two individuals who joined Rocco that day were former Pittsburgh Steeler great and Vietnam War hero Rocky Bleier (who now serves as Co-Chairman of the Beating the Odds Foundation) and Vietnam War hero Bob Wieland. Both have remained important members of the Beating the Odds Foundation and still inspire students and adults to never give up.

For more than twenty-nine years, Rocco has communicated this message of choosing to succeed to thousands of students through motivational assemblies at schools and large rallies at professional sports stadiums. Today, he continues to motivate students through the Beating the Odds Foundation’s Quarterbacks of Life® Student Success and Leadership Program.

Quarterbacks of Life® are men and women who faced incredible struggles, but chose to fight, and, in the end, emerged from those tough battles with a victory. This is the common thread throughout the Beating the Odds Foundation: People taking responsibility for their own thoughts and actions, and ultimately for their own successes and failures. From these stories of people rising to the top while facing adversity and the lessons learned from his own life, Rocco shows how every person is the designer of his or her own destiny. Rocco has since produced several motivational films to encourage people to keep pushing towards their dreams and goals. Today, he still serves as President of the Beating the Odds Foundation and appears all around the country as a guest speaker for schools, corporations, police academies, and on radio and television programs.

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The program is also part of the US Army JROTC curriculum
in over 1,700 schools



Chuck Baily, Chairman
Rocco Alianiello
Joseph Shulman

Jason Ebersole
Ziad Khoury, MD
Cathy Taschner, Ed.D.
Joseph Trofino, Esq.


Rocco Scalzi, Founder / CEO
Theresa Showalter, Marketing Dir.
Dr. John Worzbyt, Curriculum Developer / Trainer

To learn more about the Beating the Odds Foundation,