WASHINGTON — Sanford Tollette will be honored Friday at the White House for his longtime service as director of the Joseph Pfeifer Kiwanis Camp in Little Rock.
Tollette is one of 14 Kiwanis International members from across the country being honored as "Champions of Change," a weekly White House program honoring ordinary Americans doing great work in their communities.
"I’m humbled," said Tollette in a telephone interview Tuesday.
This week’s honorees will get a chance to share their stories with Obama administration officials and about 150 Kiwanis members from around the nation who will visit the White House on Friday, according to a White House press release.
"The Kiwanis International Champions of Change we are honoring are examples of everyday citizens who step forward to change their communities and be a part of the solution to today’s challenges," said Jon Carson, deputy assistant to the president.
In 1988, Tollette transformed a summer camp for underprivileged kids, into a year-round intensive residential educational program for at-risk students.
The 30-day program brings third, fourth and fifth graders from Little Rock and Pulaski County public schools to the camp where the program focuses not only on academics but improving behavior and value clarification, he said.
Tollette said the camping experience is especially effective for students in that age range.
"I’ve been in the trenches for 37 years and really the students are my ambassadors. I’ve had some successes," he said.