James Oyola cherishes the time he spent growing up in Kearny.
“We moved to Kearny from New York when I was in fifth grade,” said Oyola, now an accomplished published author. “I first went to Franklin School and then I transferred to Lincoln School. I have great memories of Kearny, playing Little League baseball at the Gunnell Oval and playing football with the Kearny Generals.”
Oyola said that he played both freshman basketball and freshman football at Kearny High, before his mother put on her traveling shoes once again and the family moved to Miami.
“Some of my very close friends live in Kearny,” Oyola said. “I have family that still lives in Kearny. I remember going with my Dad to play basketball. I have a lot of memories just hanging out with my friends.”
After moving to Miami, he was spotted at a camp by a football coach who thought Oyola had the makings of being a top-flight college football player.
“I didn’t want to leave Kearny and stayed one more year with my uncle while my mother moved the family to Florida,” Oyola said. “Then I got curious. I decided to give Florida a try, but then I did well at the camp and I moved to Massachusetts.”
Oyola finished up at Framingham High School in Massachusetts, thinking he was earmarked for Boston College. But Oyola got into a host of trouble during his days in Framingham and his grades suffered. He ended up at Ferrum College in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
“I guess I was comfortable with the instability and moving around,” Oyola said. “But I really couldn’t do the country living, so I transferred to Florida Atlantic.”
Oyola played for the legendary Howard Schnellenberger at Florida Atlantic for one season, the joined a fraternity, then got a job and came back to Kearny for two years, doing sales for communication companies.
However, at the same time, Oyola started dabbling in writing.
“I always loved writing,” Oyola said. “It was always in the mix the whole time. I took writing classes at Ferrum, then Florida Atlantic. I knew it was something I could do.”
While Oyola took sports writing jobs at CBS International and later, the popular high school sports website called Max Preps, he started to write a book, entitled “Get Out of Your Own Way.”
Oyola also worked for a stint as a writer for a production company that covered the Miami Heat during their NBA championship run, doing game programs and yearbooks.
“I made some good and bad decisions in my life,” Oyola said. “I always knew that there was more to me than the mistakes I kept making. I became addicted to drugs, smoking weed and hanging out with women. I had to make the right decisions and wanted to learn the root of my bad decisions.”
Oyola said that it took him about three years to complete his book.
“I want to be able to encourage others,” Oyola said. “It’s a testament to my life. I needed encouragement in my life. This book is a testament to my life.”
Oyola said that he found the strength to form his own company, Imago Dei Productions, a top writing/public relations firm in Miami.
He handles print and online media clients, public speaking, content development, creative writing, grant writing and more.
Through his incredible faith, he has served as a chaplain for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is finishing up his educational obligations with the Theological Institute at the Tabernacle of Christian Church in Hollywood, Florida, under the leadership of Pastor Fernando Miranda.
“The bad decisions could have been my downfall,” Oyola said. “I realized that the only thing standing in my way was myself. My production wasn’t up to par. I had to go somewhere. God set me free from addiction and helped me grow as a man.”
After several years of working odd jobs, then entering the local role of journalist, Oyola is a member of the community who chose to go on a long road helping others recover from the evils of addictions.
In a way, Oyola’s first book is basically a self-help book with some assistance from a higher power. Oyola received assistance in doing the book from Fort Lauderdale native Wesly Giordany, who provided the art work for the book.
“I’m encouraging people to please take the time to read the book,” Oyola said.
The book can be purchased via amazon.com and through Oyola’s website at www.purposeoverself.com.
“The response to the book has been amazing,” Oyola said. “It’s done amazingly well.”