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What I Do

Joe Mansy, 51 Volunteer, Boys and Girls Club

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I run the Power Hour program, which is a homeless program. I teach kids math, science and English at all different levels. It's a real interesting thing for me, because everyone has done things for me, and it's time to give back. And believe me, it's much more rewarding giving back.

They like candy. One time this little girl looked at me, and she goes, "Mr. Joe, look at me, do I look like I'm starving to death?" And I go, "Yeah," and she goes, "I think I need some candy!" And I go, "Well, I don't have any candy, but I've got some broccoli my wife gave me." And she looked at me like I was crazy and walked away. There are little things you enjoy that really bring smiles to your face. That's what I enjoy.

You install in them belief. Believe in yourself. They asked me one time, "Mr. Joe, I don't believe in Santa Claus," and I went, "Wow. I do," and they said, "There's no such thing as Santa Claus." I said, "You guys are wrong. I know Santa Claus personally. I talk to him everyday!" They go, "Mr. Joe, there is no Santa Claus." I said, "That's 'cause you don't believe. I believe there is a Santa Claus, so don't tell me there isn't, because believing in him makes me happy."

I love every one of those children, but I have to play a part, because they all want your attention. .… the little girl who doesn't have a father figure, or the little boy who doesn't have a mother figure, and they come to you, and you take the time, and it's not just one kid, it's forty kids … an hour. And I do it for two hours a day four days a week. It's the right thing to do.

My mission statement now is real simple in the words of Emerson, and he wrote, "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children …. [finishes quote from memory] This is to have succeeded." I think we're all successes, aren't we? Cause if you make a difference in one person's life. … Think of the world and think one person, and that one person changes a lot of people.

— As told to Ashley Bell; Photographed by Stephen

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