Who Was Alice S. Pfaelzer?
“Yes, Alice reshaped many a life and we are all much better as a result. I just remember her smiling face and willing presence. She was always ready and available to help raise money for WCSC. Alice certainly played an integral role in our major fundraising and endowment projects. When I was active in major fundraising projects, there was a magical bond between Alice, myself and a few others—with the major catalyst being Mary [Mingus].”
–Nancy Ayer, WCSC supporter and former board member
The Alice S. Pfaelzer Children’s Center was named for a woman who believed that all children should have the opportunity to get the best education and develop virtues to help them succeed in the future. She was a passionate activist who shared our vision of a children’s center: a safe space where kids could study after school, get help with homework and learn computer skills, a place where adults and older youth could volunteer to tutor and mentor, that would promote nonviolence, empowerment and virtues to build confidence, integrity and a sense of community.
Alice’s interest in education began long before she and her husband, Butch, moved to St. Croix. In 1979, she developed Musical Education Reaching Instrumental Talents, the MERIT program in Chicago, Illinois. Alice began the program to fund and promote music education for inner-city students, thereby providing opportunities to develop their talents. The MERIT program assisted over 6000 music students last year.
Alice was not one to sit idle, even in “Paradise.” She was an active community member, volunteering on committees and serving on nonprofit boards. Alice shared her passion for education and her experience with program development and fundraising with WCSC. She was instrumental in bring the dream of a safe space where children would be provided with tools to help them achieve their goals in school—and in life—to fruition. Alice was responsible for raising a significant amount of funding for the children’s center, through her work with private donors.
The space at 13AB King Cross Street was leased and rehabilitated with private donations and funding from the Community Development Block Grant program. The Children’s Center opened in April of 2005. Alice continued to her work as a tutor at the center, but only briefly due to illness. Alice passed away in August 2005, from pancreatic cancer.
There are two places in the world where children can reach beyond the limits of their circumstances toward excellence through Alice’s efforts. Every time knowledge is shared or someone is helped at the Alice Pfaelzer Children’s Center, her legacy is paid forward.
Click here for more information about the Alice S. Pfaezler Children’s Center.