Charles "Bill" Maurer likes a challenge. When he moved to Jacksonville six years ago, Maurer knew he wanted to volunteer. But when everyone else wanted to work with babies and pets, he chose another "pet". "When it came time to sort of pick a category--I said I'd like to work with young adults" Maurer said.
For the past five years, he has volunteered at the Inside-Outside House--it's a residential program for teens who have served time in adult prisons.
"This is a population that most people would turn their nose up and walk on" says Johnnie Gatlin, program manager. And she says that Maurer makes an immeasurable difference in the boys' lives. "I've seen where they have finally begun to trust someone, especially a male figure. A lot of these young men that have come through the Inside-Outside House have not had that male figure in their lives" she says.
Maurer explains, "If you listen closely, you can generally find out what's on their mind, and what their problems are; and then try to give them some suggestions to maybe solve those problems."
Maurer has worked with all of the boys in the program over the past few years--six of them very closely.
"They relate to him, they trust him, and do they love him? I think so" asserts Gatlin.
And Andrew (one of the residents that Bill Maurer mentors) knows Maurer truly cares about him and his future.
"He takes time out, spends time with me--and helps me with the things I need help with--so basically, that's the reason why I think he deserves the award--he's a real good person; has a real good personality" says Andrew.
"Bill should be a role model for other mentors--that's how good he is" states Gatlin.
"Well, I figure if I save one, that's worth it, isn't it? ponders Maurer.
First Coast News is proud to honor Charles "Bill" Maurer as one of our 12 Who Care.
--Victor Blackwell, First Coast News
First Coast News