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"Youth + Time – Opportunity = Trouble"

I grew up in Butchertown (then known as "The Point") from 1958 to 1988. Wesley House played a huge part (from 1966 to 1975) in my growth, and I "know" without a shadow of a doubt that if it weren't for Wesley House and the staff who assisted with the programs, I wouldn't be the man I am today. Something as simple as allowing kids a place to come and interact with others from and around the neighborhood allowed me to begin friendships that continue to this day. The personnel I remember most are Miss Bobby, June Fisher, Miss Mandlebaum, Miss Swezzy, and "Big Wes," who actually taught me the game of basketball.

As we all know, youth + time – opportunity = trouble; the decade doesn't make a difference. And Wesley House gave me that opportunity. All the Friday nights and Saturday mornings when the doors were opened gave all of us a chance to get away from problems at home and trouble in the streets.

Wesley House didn't just give me a playground but also put money in my pocket when Miss June Fisher hired me (from 1973 to 1974) part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer. The basketball and flag football leagues, the soapbox derbies, open house nights, Camp Merry Ledges, all of this and more brings back beautiful memories for me. But more than anything I remember the people who worked there, the people who helped mold and guide us during our energy-filled youthful stage. Maybe without them knowing it (but I doubt it) they became role models to those of us that looked at Wesley House as our "second home" and more importantly made us "THINK."

I'll never forget those days of my youth and the personnel that played such a dramatic role in my future. I was able to "detour the wrong road" (unlike so many others from the area) and become someone I think the staff there would've been proud of. And that means something to me. Today and over the last 14 years, I've worked as a Jefferson County corrections officer and also served (for 11 years) in the Kentucky National Guard as a military policeman. Serving my city, state, and country isn't something I "have" to do; it's something I "want" to do!—proof that standards set by Wesley House still remain with me, that it's your duty as a citizen to serve and give back. Here's to 100 years and to all of the personnel that continue to assist the youth of today. THANK YOU.

Officer Norman R. Williams
Louisville, Kentucky

Jefferson County Corrections and
223rd Military Police Company, Kentucky Army National Guard

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