Retired Financial Planner Recruits Mentors for At-Risk Youth

Goodwill Industries International Honors Steve Purich with the
2012 Elsine Katz Volunteer Leader of the Year Award
Johnstown, PA — Steve Purich, a retired financial planner with a 42-year career, has volunteered more than 800 hours in two years at the GoodGuides® youth mentoring program at Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley (Johnstown, PA). The effort is part of a national program that helps teens finish school and transition into productive careers through the guidance of trusted adults. As the lead volunteer recruiter, Purich encourages community and business leaders to serve as mentors to at-risk youth in the region. For being a tireless advocate for youth and a steadfast supporter of the Goodwill® mission, Purich has been named the 2012 Elsine Katz Volunteer Leader of the Year, an honor given annually by Goodwill Industries International.
Purich has recruited more than 40 mentors to serve as strong role models who engage youth in activities that encourage positive choices in their school and personal lives. He’s trained many of those mentors and has been a mentor to six youths himself.
“Steve genuinely understands the struggles that youth and families face today and the many factors that lead youth to make the wrong choices,” said Phyllis Bandstra, CEO of the Johnstown Goodwill. “Not only does Steve contribute directly to the program, he serves as a Goodwill ambassador in the community.”
Purich was instrumental in organizing “safe places” throughout the community where youth can go for support. He visited with leaders from more than 20 organizations to secure these locations and inform others about the GoodGuides Program.
Taking a cue from the nonprofit organization, Be Someone, Purich inspired mentors to use the game of chess to help youth develop skills like problem-solving, concentration and discipline. He works with several school districts and alternative schools to establish chess clubs as an in-school activity.
“Steve is a great example of how Goodwill benefits from volunteers’ time and talents,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Volunteers are a critical extension of our workforce and are just as dedicated to furthering Goodwill’s mission and building stronger communities.”
Purich will receive his award at Goodwill’s annual Delegate Assembly meeting in Miami, FL, on Sunday, June 24, 2012.
The Elsine Katz Volunteer Leader of the Year Award is given to a local Goodwill Industries volunteer in recognition of outstanding leadership and service to a member Goodwill Industries organization. It is named in honor of the late Mrs. Elsine Katz, a past president of Goodwill Industries Volunteer Services at Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee (Nashville), who endowed the award.