Daniel Blanchard’s Granddaddy’s Secrets Teen Leadership Blog Interview with Robert Wargo
Mr. Robert Wargo there are some fabulous things that you’re doing as the Director of Volunteer Services over there at the Sterling House Community Center in Stratford, Connecticut! You run a fabulous teen leadership annual conference every spring, as well as a myriad of other services for today’s youth out of that beautiful facility, the Sterling House Community Center.
- Robert, did you always know that you wanted to serve others and help today’s youth?
No, I did not always know I wanted to serve others and help today’s youth. It took my first my first volunteer experience at a soup kitchen when I was in the 7th grade to learn I really wanted to help others for the rest of my life.
- How did you get started in your career path?
I have two really great parents that taught me that if respect myself, respect others, and I work hard enough that I can help make things happen for myself. I also had some really great teachers that inspired me to always do my best.
- How did you handle the bumps in the road? Were there any moments when you wondered if all your hard work was worth it?
I would be upset at first but would confide in my parents or an adult that I trusted. They would always tell me that things were not as bad as they seemed. They were right. Sometimes when I hit bumps in the road I get upset. I think we all do because we are human, but now I just tell myself that it is not as bad as it seems and try to figure out how I am going to take this obstacle and turn it into an opportunity to learn and become stronger for it.
Yes, there are times when I wondered, and still wonder, if all the hard work was worth it but I tell myself that it’s not always about the end result, it’s about the process. In other words, its better to work hard at something , failure or success, and learn something from it, then to do nothing and not grow.
- What do you contribute your success to?
I contribute my success to my parents, teachers, my wife, my children, myself and my employers. My parents and teachers for how they raised, taught and guided me. My wife for encouraging and supporting me to follow my passions. My children for inspiring me to do my best and giving me the opportunity to be a living example how to work hard to reach your goals. Myself, because I made the choices and sacrifices to put the work in, in order to put myself in a position where employers could see my demonstrated commitment and give me an opportunity to succeed.
- What do teens need today more than anything else?
Teens need to know that there are no short cuts in life. You have to be willing to work hard, accept that things will not always go the way they want, and be open minded. If teens are more open minded then they won’t get so distraught when things don’t work out. Instead, they should embrace changes so that they can more readily handle them as they mature into responsible adults. And you cannot expect to get things out of life by putting little to no work into anything you do. The saying that “you get what you put in to it” is completely spot on. So working hard and being able to adapt to change are very important things that in my opinion, teens need today.
- What would you tell a teen who was struggling?
Your struggles never last forever. Make a positive choice and choose to not let them hold you back. Instead, choose to use it as your motivation to help yourself out from that struggle. If things are really bad, seek out a trusted adult that you can confide in and help guide you. Someone who you can listen to and accept their advice, constructive or otherwise, can be a big help to get out from the struggle. We can’t always face our struggles on our own, even adults. There are lots of caring people in your community who want to help, all you have to do is have the courage to ask for help.
- What else do you want to tell us about what you do and what you want to eventually be doing?
I truly believe in Walt Disney’s quote, “Our children are our greatest national resource.” It is up to the older generations to cultivate and help our youth to grow into responsible, caring, committed adults. I have accepted this as one of my missions in life and if I’m doing this in some way, shape, or form, then I am living what I was meant to do.
- What else should I have asked you?
I think all of the questions that were asked were well done.
- How can people get in touch with you if they have additional questions?
If people have questions they have a few ways to get in touch with me. I work for Sterling House Community Center in Stratford, CT and I am the Director of Volunteer Services. I can be reached by phone at 203-378-2606 x 113, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or website www.sterlinghousecc.org.
Thanks for your time Bob and keep up the good work! Our youth needs more people like you!
Author and Speaker of the Granddaddy’s Secrets teen leadership book series.