Sometimes you meet people in life that you know are just genuinely good people. They do for others and don’t ask for anything in return. They are happy helping people who need help; and all they want is to see others succeed.
Meet John and Lynn Wade: two parents just trying to make sure they leave this world better than they found it.
John and Lynn started The John and Lynn Wade Family Foundation in 2005, which helps support middle class families to give their children the opportunity to receive a quality education in Richmond, California, a city that has come a long way in recent years, but one that has struggled to support the needs of its youth in education.
The foundation also supports adults with developmental disabilities (DD) in the Bay Area to enjoy their favorite sport: bowling. When the woman who ran their local league for 28 years passed away, there was no longer a league for the bowlers to participate in.
When John and Lynn saw how upset the bowlers were when the league ended, they sprung to action. The only thing they asked was, “how can we start the league up again so that they can enjoy their lives to the fullest and do what they love to do?”
I had the privilege of speaking with this couple over the phone, completely overwhelmed with emotions because all they have ever wanted was to bring opportunity to the people in their community. They weren’t exactly sure what they were getting themselves in to starting the foundation; but through every trial and tribulation they have remained optimistic and positive. Seeing the children they have helped reach their goals, graduate high school and go off to the colleges of their dreams is enough to make these two happy. And high-fiving with the bowlers and watching them have an almost incomprehensible amount of fun every Saturday at the bowling alley, well, that makes them pretty darn happy too.
Karlee: What inspired you to start the John and Lynn Wade Family Foundation (J&L WFF)?
Lynn: It all began when we met with our financial advisor, Harold. He asked us what we wanted to do in the future; what were our future financial plans? He said it could be as crazy as we wanted it to be, and so we started thinking.
John: The basic premise started with a family I knew, the Ferrea’s, who when I was a kid, had sponsored one kid through a private high school for all four years. I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world, because when I was in high school I didn’t have any financial support. I worked at horse stables to pay my way through private high school because I wanted to go there rather than the public schools in the area. I thought, when I grow up I hope to be successful enough to be able do that too; I thought that it would be a really great thing. So when Harold was interviewing us, I said that I would like to take a kid and help them financially. And then Harold said, “Well, you could help more than one.” So the idea came from what the Ferrea’s had done, but Harold, knowing Lynn and I said, “You can do so much more than that, with a little help and a little encouragement”; and that’s where she took off from.
Karlee: What is the main goal of the foundation?
John: There are so many goals! And actually it’s a double-headed goal; and one isn’t more important to us than the other. We want to provide recreation in our bowling league for adults with DD, and to provide opportunity for really deserving kids at the high school level by assisting with tuition. These kids are already doing everything themselves, really. They just need tuition assistance.
by Karlee Wade