Volunteer: William Edward Pfeiffer III, aka “Mr. Bill”
Neighborhood: Village of Willow Brook
Occupation: Retired Structural Engineer, Fink, Roberts & Petrie, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
On most summer days at Gladden, it’s not hard to spot Bill Pfeiffer. That’s because perhaps the most excited participant in our summer camp is a retired man in khakis and boat shoes.
Pfeiffer came to us through a recommendation from his daughter-in-law, a former intern at Gladden, and for the past years has provided essential mentorship and relentless enthusiasm for our youth. Two years of volunteering with 1st-through-5th graders at our summer camp have led to him presently helping our afterschool program.
Today, we thank him and get to know a little more about who the kids call “Mr. Bill.”
What do you like to do in your spare time––besides volunteering?
Bible study, walking, nature watching, learning more about being a teacher, game playing (all kinds), and being with family.
Why does the Gladden mission speak to you?
My children greatly benefited from people that volunteered with their activities when they were growing up. I aspire to have that kind of positive effect on children from working-class families. It is great to be a witness to their “ah-ha” moments. And I like playing with kids and being with them.
Why is serving your community important to you?
Everything I have has been given to me. I have been given much and with that comes much responsibility. I am seeking to fill that responsibility. The work at Gladden is fun and fulfilling. Hopefully, I have found the work God created me to do. Working at Gladden keeps me grounded in the reality of lives that don’t have the advantages I have had. It humbles me to see the spirit of children, their curiosity, enthusiasm, and innocence.
Can you tell us a moment you’ve had at Gladden that exemplifies your experience here?
Doing science experiments that have a “wow” moment, like when the hard-boiled egg gets “magically” sucked into the bottle because we have created a pressure difference between the outside atmosphere and inside the bottle. Or when I read them a story that they get taken with and our lively discussions afterward. Or, when I witness unprompted kindness and compassion between children, taking care of one another.
Please tell us anything else you value about your experience at Gladden.
I can’t thank the staff I work with at Gladden enough. Ms. Sha (Cousins), Ms. Andrea, Ms. Evan (Wimberly), and Ms. Bobbie (Blake) make it particularly fun to be at Gladden. It is inspiring to see how they work with the children. They are generous, sharing, and kind. I always feel appreciated by everyone. I am learning how to be a better teacher and a better person.
For those who would like to join Bill in volunteering at Gladden Community House, please visit https://www.gladdenhouse.org/support-us.