PERSONAL: A Jamaica, West Indies, native, Glenroy Smith, fondly called “Mr. Pete” by students and staff at I.S. 109 in Queens Village where he volunteers, has lived in that neighborhood with his wife, Demetra, since 1990. The two have three children: Julisia, 15; Glenroy “Pete” Jr., 13 and Naim, 9.
JOB: Smith works as a nursing home dietary aid during the day, but his second, volunteer job happens when I.S. 109 lets out at 2:30 p.m. There, he helps to ensure a safer school environment as president of the school’s unique P.E.S.T. program.
As he explained it, the program picks up where NYPD safety officers leave off, particularly by patrolling the surrounding neighborhood before and after school - as far as a dozen blocks away. The volunteers keep a watchful eye on the students to make sure they get home without incident. When his patrol shift ends two hours later, Smith heads to the school’s gym so students and other neighborhood kids can have a safe a place to go. There he wears his coach’s hat and trains kids in basketball until 9:30 p.m.
PROUDEST MOMENT: During summers, Smith opens his home as a safe haven for neighborhood kids and his proudest moment came last year when he learned how much he means to many of them. “They made me feel like I am the big daddy for all these children who don’t have fathers,” he said.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Parents. “They really don’t fully understand the impact they make on a child when they don’t get involved in the small things that [the child does] that are big to them,” he said. “You’ve got to take the time out to listen to your child.”
INSPIRATION: Smith is partly inspired to help others because he saw his father and grandfather do the same and partly because he believes in karma. “I help others and later on down the road it may come back to my children,” he said.