Archive | January, 2014

How has the War on Poverty influenced your career? Response to Linked In Discussion started by Cody Switzer, Web Editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy

16 Jan

How has the War on Poverty influenced your career? Response to Linked In Discussion started by Cody Switzer, Web Editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.


How has the War on Poverty influenced your career? Response to Linked In Discussion started by Cody Switzer, Web Editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy

16 Jan

Hmmm… was not necessarily cognizant re: the War on Poverty (I was five when the campaign was launched) – but adult volunteers (from that ERA) supported me and my Boy Scout troop, made it possible to become an Eagle Scout – learned to do a good turn daily, to be helpful… concurrently learned about the Peace Corps through a cassette recording from the son of my fifth grade teacher (A Peace Corps Volunteer).


Perhaps he and other Peace Corps volunteers who inspired me (along with my Boy Scout experience) to take two years after college to make the world a better place. I joined the Peace Corps helped to revitalize the Barbados Boy Scouts Association – led to a thirty plus year nonprofit, volunteer engagement, and capacity building career and now consulting at the World Bank joining the world-wide fight to end extreme poverty.

20131110_205551 cropped Lincoln Memorial - MLK speech

I surmise that a number of the mentors, role models, and colleagues I worked with were inspired by the War on Poverty and indirectly they inspired and informed my work.

20131110_211527 FDR 3 - in wheelchair

During my career I helped to found or organize over 100 new Scouting organizations in Barbados and the US that have involved and hopefully inspired 2 or 3 more generations of young people perhaps these have also connected 10 to 50,000 young people to quality Scouting or Exploring experiences to learn about and try out merit badges or career exploration leading to careers or life-long interest and perhaps a third or more of them have in turn volunteered and inspired other young people.

20131110_212155 FDR 1 - the bread line

This combined with supporting a network of American Red Cross chapter directors and chairs of volunteers connecting up to a million volunteers a year to (usually) quality volunteer opportunities has made a difference.

IMG_4017 1977 National Boy Scout Jamboree Obstacle Course

My since thanks to the volunteers and the Returned Peace Corps volunteers that inspired me and to the thousands and millions of volunteers who pay it forward every day through volunteer acts and random acts of kindness. I hope Monday – MLK Jr. Day – is a day of service and reflection for you, not just another day off.

My thanks also to Cody Switzer at the Chronicle of Philanthropy for inspiring me to reflect on how I can pay it forward.

Paul Gaeckler – Teacher, Principal, Mentor, Renaissance Man

9 Jan

A former classmate recently post a picture of Mr. Gaeckler who died a few years back.

Paul Gaeckler was my one true Renaissance teacher. For several years he taught 6th grade at New Freedom (PA)Elementary School and served as Principal he had a small office straight down the hall from his room on the second floor.

When they created Southern Middle School for all district – 6th and 7th graders he moved to teaching 5th grade and being the Principal at New Freedom Elementary. I had him as my teacher and mentor for 5th grade the last year he taught at the school.

We learned a lot that year academically, but also went fishing at Amy Leader’s pond, learned the positions and how to play football (inside the class room), he taught us great checker tricks – that summer I surprised and won my first game against a national checkers “referee”. (He was so shocked that he challenged me to a rematch of probably 20 more games – I did not win any of those, but still have bragging rights that I won the first one).

We learned how to oil paint – my landscape hung in my parents breakfast room for many years.

We had ping-pong tournaments, checker and chess tournaments, math competitions, learned to dance, and many more enriching experiences.

We had a race to see if he could do math on a chalk board faster than we could with a calculator, yes he won.

He played cassette tape recordings from his son who was serving in the Peace Corps, one time it capture the call to prayer shouted from a minaret. Just about 12 years later I also became a Peace Corps volunteer.

Mr. Gaeckler also explained to us how easy it was for Russia or China to spend say a $million to start another war in Southeastern Asia that would cost us $billions of dollars to fight.

At the end of our 5th grade year he decided to retire/leave Southern School District to take a teaching position in 6th or 7th District in Maryland because he thought they were better positioned to weather an economic recession. He was an amazing teacher and mentor.

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