78-Year-Old Man Recalls Childhood at KidsPeace, Formerly Wiley House

Richard VanStrander, 78, was pulled off the streets of Allentown when he was 8 and sent to KidsPeace, formerly Wiley House. He called recently to thank us for the care he received as a child.

It's not often that we hear from someone who has left our care.

It's even more unusual when the person calling is now 78 and spent four years at KidsPeace (then Wiley House) as a child.

But that's exactly what happened recently. Richard VanStrander, who now lives in Tennessee, called simply to say thank you for the care he received after he and his brother were pulled off the streets of Allentown when he was only 8 years old. VanStrander's father had died of Parkinson's disease, and his mother broke her hip and was unable to care for him.

He said he was not appropriately grateful at the time; he described himself as a child angry at the world. But years later, he's able to look back at his life and acknowledge that it could have had a very different outcome if not for the kindness and care he received during those four years.

"They took good care of me there,” he said. “Most of the time, except for the belligerence of my own self, it was a good place to be.”

Read more of VanStrander's story in the next edition of KidsPeace's email newsletter, "For the Kids," which will be distributed later this summer. Not yet a subscriber? Sign up now for our mailing list to keep up on all of our news.

Do you have your own KidsPeace-related story to share? Post a comment or email kpinfo@kidspeace.org.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

mike schlicher July 09, 2012 at 04:24 AM
when I was in my early teens myself and a freind ran away from home I was the youngest of five kids during the 60s and 70s I felt that my parents were kinda set in the sixties and didnt understand me nor even listen I was a wild kid I must admit wel we got caught and ended up wileyhouse on 8th ave the counselers there listened to me that was the first time that a adult listened to what I had to say and my problems w/my parents they called and explained a different approach to my parents I was scared and didnt know what would happen to my surprise of all people my dad was the one who understood and we had a long talk no yelling no condemning me just listening I dont know what the counselors said but my father and me kinda became more than a father and son .After that we talked more and did things together and even my brothers and sister understood there is no words to say how much as a man that now more than ever I appreciate every thing they done for me and what they do for all kids .In my opinion they are heros and tru mentors for our future.thank you


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