The thread of lifelong education has helped me to weave a happy, productive and satisfying life.
Graduating with a business degree was my first step in a career that culminated in my role as corporate vice president of sales and marketing for an international home furnishings company.
When I moved to Galveston in 2001, education helped me retrain and develop a satisfying career as a real estate agent.
I believe it’s important to make the place you live the best it can be by giving your time, expertise and effort.
I volunteer with organizations I believe in — business and community development, education, environmental sustainability, historical preservation and neighborhood development.
Making a difference begins at an individual and neighborhood level, and education is a vital component to improving the lives of individuals and strengthening neighborhoods.
That’s why I volunteer with the Galveston Sustainable Communities Alliance.
The GSCA has a vision that each child living in Galveston will have the opportunity to live a healthy, safe and productive life.
The alliance wants to help Galveston students (70 percent of which are economically disadvantaged) have access to affordable and good quality education from early childhood through high school and on to college or vocational education.
It’s a pathway to success I agree with having studied and worked hard throughout my own career to achieve success.
The GSCA is about empowering children and families to lead healthy and well-educated lives. It’s about offering a hand up and not a hand out.
For example, if you need diapers for your child the GSCA will give you these supplies when you attend one of its parenting programs. Helping people be better parents, educating children, and making sure the whole family is healthy is an approach that makes sense to me.
The GSCA is data-driven, using research, statistics and factual information to guide its work. It’s an approach that makes sense to me. I like its cooperative approach.
GSCA members work with other Galveston educators, civic leaders, philanthropists and volunteers to make a difference.
This proactive, sustainable and holistic approach fits well with my own personal philosophies — connecting the right people to make a difference to the whole community.
Business people, doctors, teachers, parents, conservationists, no matter your expertise you can make your community better.
It’s why I’m a member of organizations such as Rotary, Galveston Association of Realtors, the Landmarks Commission, GAIN, the Galveston Historical Foundation and President of the San Jacinto Neighborhood Association.
If you are not giving back to the community then you are not part of that community. If you aren’t an active part of the community, someone who is striving to make a difference, then you don’t get to complain either.
Nelson Mandela said: “Education is one of the most powerful weapons you can use to change the world.” And I believe the Galveston Sustainable Communities Alliance is one of the most powerful weapons we have to change the worlds of children and families in Galveston.
Tom Schwenk lives in Galveston.