Eric Williams ’85
said he always wanted to give his time and resources to help improve his
community, so in that vein he started What Would You Do Dad, Inc. in 1998, an
organization that helps men in prison make the transition to becoming
productive members of society by teaching them life skills and a better way to
live. Thus far, the organization has helped turn
lives of roughly 600 men.
On March 14, Williams spoke to Upper School students about
the work he is doing in prisons. He also spoke at length about how GA changed
the course of his life and how students can positively impact someone else’s
It was a proud moment for Upper School History
Teacher/Director of CSO Peter McVeigh 1760, who first met Williams when he was
going through the admission process as a freshman in high school.
"It's amazing to me,” Mr. McVeigh said. “I'm so proud of him. Obviously
it's heart-warming, it's uplifting, and it’s inspiring. I just feel so good
about my relationship with him and what he's doing with his life as a father
and with his program. Rick understands the significance of giving back because
of the advantages he was given.”
Just to get to school ever day, Williams had to hop on a
trolley, a bus and a train, but in the end it was all worth it.
“If it was not for GA, I wouldn’t be here today,” said
Williams, who specifically acknowledged Upper School French/Spanish Teacher
Patrick David, Upper School English Teacher/Belfry Director/Archivist Edwin
Probert 1760 and Mr. McVeigh, or ‘Pop’ as he affectionately calls him, for
helping him throughout high school.
“I don’t think he understands the impact he’s had on so many
lives, including mine,” said Williams while fighting back to tears. He later
said he learned how to be a father from Mr. McVeigh.
“When I met Pop, I knew I belonged here,” Williams said. “He
never once made me feel like an outsider. He became a mentor and after three
years he became more than that.”
Now Williams is the one doing the mentoring. His
organization is in Philadelphia, Trenton, Tampa and is expanding to Tallahasee.
“It does not take an army to make change,” Williams. “It
only takes one person with a vision. It doesn’t matter your background. If you
have a heart, it only takes one person.”