Meet Tim! Tim has dedicated himself to pouring into young people in juvenile detention centers across Georgia as he teaches sociology classes and shares his heart with youth who are often incarcerated for life. Tim is truly humble and has opened his life to a whole world that many of us will never see. Tim doesn’t shrink from the difficulty of reaching out to youth who have been through traumatic experiences- he boldly serves those that society often forgets and marginalizes. Even though this was to be an interview of him, Tim quickly demonstrated how caring his heart is as he listened and shared beyond the questions here.
Thank you so much, Tim, for sharing your story with us, and for serving those who really need the gentleness and kindness you bring. It was a true pleasure talking with you!
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: So, I liken my journey to teaching in the Detention Centers to how, in Finding Nemo, there’s a thing called the East Australian Current and they get in it and it just pushes them along. That’s what I feel like- that God’s just pushing me along and I’ve done nothing to get to this point.
I graduated in ’85 from UGA and started working with computer software in the business world for about 10 years. I got a master’s degree in anthropology from Georgia State, I got married, we had kids, and I went on to work for some bigger software companies. During that time, I was working on my Ph.D. in sociology when my body started to have all the problems I’m left living with now, and I got to a point mentally where I couldn’t continue on with the Ph.D. At that point, I went on disability, but I couldn’t stand not working, so I went to work at a company called Komatsu. While I was at Komatsu, my boss there invited me to go with him to a YDC- a Youth Detention Center, and I was shocked by what I found. These kids, 15 years old, in prison- and it’s a prison, not just a jail. So that was incredibly impactful for me and the first “pillar” of the journey.
The second “pillar” was when I was going to grad school for the second time, I read about this woman who was an English professor who would go to prisons and teach English. She mentioned about her experience that she has never felt unsafe and that the students are so prepared, and that she had never had students like that, who really want to learn.
The third “pillar” was that I had started teaching grad school at KSU. Well, one of my students told me about hearing Wes Cantrell speak in another class because he’s on a committee for Juvenile Justice. I gave him a call and talked with him about an idea that I’d been considering of going into the Detention Centers to teach the kids sociology! He was able to pull strings for me to get in there within like a week.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Woodstock, and what do you love there?
A: I like Pure– they’ve got a great taco with this specific kind of sausage. It’s so good!
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Woodstock?
A: Around 30 years all together!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: New Zealand- it just sounds cool.
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: I like ‘Schindler’s List’; it’s a great story.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: Learn to think and learn to be grateful
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: Traveling is not as big a deal to me now than it used to be, but I’d say maybe driving across the U.S.
Q: What is your favorite music/3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: I grew up on classic rock like Led Zepplin and Aerosmith… Now I like country music, older rock, and classical music as well.
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Woodstock would you have lunch?
A: I would like to have lunch with the pope at Peace Love and Pizza!
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Woodstock?
A: It’s very easy to get to- the transit is pretty good! I think there’s a lot of different cultures here and that it’s growing. I think it’s got a nice city/country balance- it’s got a city-feel without being *in* the city.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: I was born in Washington, D.C.!
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: Peace, family, and fun
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: A guy named Norman LaClare who played a big role in my life
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: I’d choose a personal trainer!