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 children should have an 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 as tutors and mentors, 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, providing opportunities to develop their talents. The MERIT program assisted over 6000 music students in 2012.
Alice was not one to sit idle after moving to “Paradise.” She became an active Virgin Islander, serving on committees and nonprofit boards. Alice shared her passion for education and her experience with program development and fundraising with WCSC. She was instrumental in bringing the dream of a safe space for children that provides tools to help them achieve their goals in school—and in life—to fruition. Alice was responsible for working with private donors to raise a significant amount of funding to open the children’s center.
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 tutor kids at the Center, but only briefly, due to illness. Alice passed away from pancreatic cancer in August 2005.
She used her talents to create two places in the world where children can reach beyond the limits of their circumstances to excellence. Every day 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.