I am passionate and committed to this work. We need to give these kids a chance, and our programs do just that.
Charlie moved to the Albany, NY area 19 years ago, and he has been an unstoppable force ever since. His positive impact is roundly recognized in the community. He changes lives. Before turning his energy to helping kids, Charlie was a Golden Gloves boxer in New York and an entrepreneur. Charles's wife Tamara will join him on the cruise.
When Charlie first started his work 19 years ago, he and other volunteers would visit a children's detention center for at-risk kids every Friday evening. Each weekend, they met with up to 130 kids, talked about basic life skills, drugs, and violence, and brought them to special events. This program was successful, but not all the time. Charlie lost many kids to drugs and gang violence, and he wanted to do more. He decided to make these kids his life's mission.
Charlie learned that 30% of at-risk kids go to bed hungry, so he decided to do tackle that. His group started off initially providing just a handful of lunches, but they built the program up over time and this year, they will provide 800-1000 lunches every day. The Mullers go where the kids are, in the inner city. They found a large, beaten-up garage and turned it into a food center on one of the scariest corners in Albany. As time passed, the community came to love and trust them. Now volunteers help students with homework and run many kid-friendly programs. They also give out 2000 backpacks filled with school supplies to the neediest kids.
Along the way, Charlie has seen many children lost to guns. His answer? Set up a program called "Enough." The volunteers teach kids about the dangers of drugs and violence. For each gun the at-risk kids bring in, they receive a gift card to the mall. The program has been remarkably successful, and parents in the community do everything they can to help. Says Charlie: "This is the most rewarding work in the world. We can't fix every problem, but we can give these kids a chance, which is more than they had before."