Police officers have always fascinated Mike D'Alfonso, one of the therapeutic coordinators at the Keystone Adolescent Center in Greenville.
He wished to pursue a carer in the law enforcement field, but when he was unable to complete the phusical test due to mdical reasons, he began looking for alternatives.
Bob Gentile, Keystone Center's founder, invited D'Alfonso to look around at the center before it opened, later offering him a position.
His job at the center provides D'Alfonso with many "one-on-one" relationships. He counsels all the residents throughout each month on various topics and helps them deal with certain problems by giving them different options to choose from.
D'Alfonso said he tries to have each resident make his own decision n topics which deal with their own problems. This helps each adolescent learn how to develop problem-solving techniques, he said.
D'Alfonso said he feels he's the "only person in the world who truly enjoys getting up and going to work every day." He loves seeing the kids and helping them cope with their problems, no matter how big or small.
"Helping the residents accomplish their goals or overcome their problems is more satisfying than anything else." he said.
The one major characteristic that attracted D'Alfonso to this particular job was the satisfaction he gets from helping each person. He feels no one at the center is in it for the money. "There are other ways to earn a lot of money in life, but I can't see any other way to feel the satisfaction that I do." D'Alfonso said.
D'Alfonso has set goals for himself and the center. He hopes the residents realize they -- and only they -- are responsible for their actions and whatever they do in life.
He said he hopes each adolescent will remember at least one thing that he taught them.
D'Alfonso, assured the center is benifiting the community immensely, feels the people in the area are aware the center is there to help the kids by teaching them respect, honor and discipline.
"I hope people realize raising their kids is a full time job and discipline starts in the home, along with respect and honor." he said.
"I've never been associated with a better bunch of guys," said D'Alfonso. "All the staff truly loves what they do or they wouldn't be here."
"The kds -- what can I say? It's like having 24 little brothers." he said. "I care what happens to each and every one of them."
Mike has one major philosophy in life: he feels that everybody has to "play the cards that dealt" -- not everyone is dealt a full house.
He suggests trying not to complain about the things you don't have, and thanking God for the things that you do have.
There are many benifits D'Alfonso and the kids, the ultimate benefactors, receive from the center.
According to D'Alfonso, they are receiving a second chance, learning to respect each other and their feelings, and most of all, they are learning to respect themselves.
Working with the kids has shown Mike D'Alfonso that his parents were the greatest.
"When you see what some of thes kids have been through, it makes you stop and think about how selfish you may have been in the past," he said.
D'Alfonso was born and raised in the Greenville area, the son of Thomas and Charlotte D'Alfonso. He is married and has a 6-year-old stepson, Jake.
D'Alfonso graduated from Greenville High School in 1987 and earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Thiel College.
Mike working the Career Fair At Thiel during homecoming
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