Why I Give: Ned Langdon and Elizabeth Chosa
Ned Landgon: Volunteer at Walt Disney World Clubhouse
Ned Langdon’s Roman Catholic mother dreamed that one of her 10 children would become a priest or a nun. “Poor woman,” laughs Ned. “She never got her wish. Maybe that’s why I spend so much time volunteering.”
Indeed, Ned is one of the most faithful volunteers at the Walt Disney World Clubhouse. A few months back, Ned sold his property research company and retired, and now he punches in three afternoons a week to help 1st through 4th graders with their homework. He draws on his years as a school psychologist and children’s book author to relate to the children.
A jovial man with a stylish goatee, Ned has an air of approachability. Yet he clearly has command of the homework room-it’s impressive to see tables of 8 young children working quietly and diligently as Ned and some older Club members circulate and offer help. “At this age, they’re eager to learn, and they really want to please you,” says Ned.
Plus, Ned says, they really love to help each other. “I find out who the strong students are in each subject, and press them into service.”
Ned’s determined not to let any child slip through the cracks. “I have them read out loud to me, to gauge where they need help. And if they say they have no homework, I ask to see their planners. It’s amazing how many of them suddenly remember their assignments!”
Why volunteer at a Boys & Girls Club rather than somewhere else? “Easy. The staff here really want to help the kids-to meet them where they are. It’s not about babysitting and keeping kids quiet. It’s about figuring out what each child needs and filling that need. We have the best programs, the best criteria to make that happen.”
Ned may not be a priest, but he’s sure doing the Lord’s work.
Dr. Elizabeth Chosa: Giving Society Member
Veterinarians have to be pretty tough. Take it from Dr. Elizabeth Chosa, whose profession requires that she not fall apart every time a beloved poodle needs to be relieved from its suffering, or a child’s cherished calico is hit by a car.
Thus, Elizabeth surprised herself that she was moved to tears – multiple times – when she attended the Brevard County Faces of the Future Breakfast back in 2013.
“Truth be told, I went to the breakfast looking to get more involved in the community, as a new business owner. I didn’t expect to be so affected emotionally.”
Elizabeth remembers that as a new mother, she had spent untold hours researching the best methods of child care for her two children, now 3 and 5. And she and her husband already had dreams of their children’s wonderful futures-the trips they would take as a family, the educational opportunities they would have, the traditions and milestones they would celebrate together.
“It was very clear that the children served by the Boys & Girls Clubs would have a vastly different upbringing than my two-that life had dealt them a much more challenging hand.”
At the same time, Elizabeth was “blown away” by the impressive children she met at the breakfast. “They looked me in the eye; they were articulate and polite. It was clear that they were truly benefiting from the opportunities that Boys & Girls Clubs was giving them.”
She also recalls Sherriff Wayne Ivey speaking at the breakfast, recounting the impressive track record of Boys & Girls Clubs members. “No teen pregnancies. A graduation rate even higher than in wealthy school districts. Children who felt cared for, respected, and loved by their Clubs.”
When the ‘altar call’ came, Elizabeth already had her checkbook out. And a couple years later, as her veterinary practice was picking up steam, she increased her support. “My father was a small business owner in Johnson City, Tennessee, and had always been a pillar of the community. He really impressed upon me the obligation of a business owner to give back to the community-that if one succeeds, the other should benefit. My dad closed his business just as mine was taking off. I’m just carrying it forward.”