Twenty years ago, a modest plumbing supply salesman with an enormous heart read a newspaper article that named Parklane Elementary “the neediest” school in Fulton County, GA. This young salesman, whose name was Richard Goldsmith, decided to drive to the school and meet with the Principal. He asked the Principal what he believed the children needed most. The Principal said that, more than anything, the children needed attention from caring adults.
Richard agreed to return with friends the next Saturday morning; they found an astounding 75 children eagerly waiting for them. He and a friend became School Captains, which were the school principals for Saturday mornings. Two adults per grade became Grade Captains, committed to planning activities and bringing supplies on Saturdays. Soon, more than 150 students were attending Saturday school at Parklane three times a month.
That Saturday school is now The Discovery Program, which has been replicated in many Atlanta schools and communities across the U.S. Some of those who volunteer now on Saturdays were themselves once Parklane students.
Richard still spends his Saturday mornings volunteering at Parklane. Because of him, hundreds of volunteers have contributed to the academic and life success of the students there. He has made a difference in the lives of the students, the school staff, and the volunteers. He has taught all who have served with him a great deal about compassion, commitment and sacrifice.