It seems like whenever the topic of elder care or “seniors” come up, the discussion immediately turns to medical, caregiving and financial issues. I was really happy to meet Sheldon Krechman and learn about his focus on keeping seniors engaged in the community. Sheldon and his wife, Carol, have put together a wonderfully creative organization that is poised to make a measurable impact in the community – a better sense of purpose, more senior independence and a chance for seniors to give back to the community the wisdom of their years. I think everyone will enjoy this interview. Sheldon and I had a great time (even though his mom is a Dodger fan!)
Introducing the Peacemaker Corps
The Peacemaker Corps concept grew out of the United Nations mission to promote peace, tolerance and conflict resolution. A collaborative effort between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Friends of the United Nations (FOTUN) and Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) launched the preliminary Peacemaker Corps trainings in fall of 1999 with the aid of a $ 1MM U.S. Federal Discretionary Grant from HUD. After a successful rollout to 11 cities coast-to-coast and positive feedback obtained in follow-up interviews in the year 2000, the Peacemaker Corps training was incorporated into HUD’s ongoing budgeted programs in 2001, only to be eliminated later due to budget shortfalls.
Since its inception, Carole Sumner Krechman, President/Chair, has played an integral part in the Peacemaker Corps. As the Chairman of the Board of FOTUN from 1995 to 2001, Mrs. Krechman collaborated with HUD and SYF to bring the Peacemaker Corps program to youth across the United States and around the world. Following the budget cut, Mrs. Krechman began down the path to reform the Peacemaker Corps and continue its mission of empowering our young with the art of making peace. In 2002 she obtained written consent from HUD to utilize the curriculum, established 501(c) 3 status with the State of California and the US Internal Revenue Service, and in 2003 helped the Peacemaker Corps Association receive the high honor of being one of 26 organizations worldwide, and one of two domestically, named a Non-Governmental Organization with the United Nations.
In late 1999, through the combined efforts of HUD, FOTUN, SYF, 12 trainings were beta-tested in 11 cities coast-to-coast including Indianapolis, Seattle, Dallas and Miami. A total of 220 teens, ages 13-17 participated in the two-day training. An average of 18 young people of varying ethnic backgrounds were chosen by the local Public Housing Authority to participate in each training. The chosen students were selected based on their leadership qualities, demonstrated commitment to their community and their willingness to apply their newly acquired peacemaking skills in future situations.
Following the training, students were asked to evaluate the training on several levels:
- 87% of participants responded that they learned a lot about mediation and conflict resolution after taking part in the Peacemaker Corps training
- 87% gave the training an “Excellent” or “Very Good” rating when asked to rate the overall Peacemaker Corps session
- 76% stated that they would “definitely” like to learn more about the Peacemaker Corps.
SPARTA Consulting, HUD’s national public housing security contractor, conducted follow up phone interviews in 2000. These interviews provided qualitative and quantitative data regarding the benefits of the training. In Pittsburgh, the mother of a graduate stated the program had a visible impact on her son and his friends. She said the program “changed his whole outlook” on how he relates to other youth. Youngstown, Ohio Peacemakers reported they were using their training to breakup fights in school and to avoid fighting with siblings and friends. SPARTA Consulting also identified that following the training many graduates of the Peacemaker Corps had been empowered to join organizations that utilized their new peacemaking skills for a positive effect on their communities. Organizations included: Youth Crime Watch, Drug Free Youth in Town (DFYIT), Boys and Girls Club, City Youth Council and the Youth Crime Commission.
About Sheldon Krechman
Sheldon was Executive Vice President of Martel Electronics and was solely responsible for concept, sales and marketing and directed a 250 member national sales force. Martel maintained offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo Japan and Bremen, Western Germany. Martel Electronics was one of the first importers and distributors of Japanese and German High Quality Electronics. Martel Electronics was partially financed by Chinese investors from San Francisco and Vancouver.
Sheldon was CEO of FKM, Inc. a computer software development and consulting company. Under his direction (NAMES), Name and Address Management System Software was developed, utilized and marketed to the Direct mail industry.
Sheldon was the developer and President of World on Wheels. An Inner city Family roller-skating entertainment center, located in the inner city of Los Angeles. World on Wheels has served the community as a wholesome family entertainment center for over 20 years. The center was the largest revenue-grossing center of its type in the United States.
Sheldon was Chairman of the Board, and Technological Director of World China Trade, Inc. a California Corporation formed to do business in the Peoples Republic of China. WCT developed the Asia Hotel, a world-class hotel office apartment complex located in Beijing China adjacent to the workers stadium. Sheldon developed the first interactive computerized global network communication system between China and the USA. Between 1982 and 1990, Sheldon spent over 1500 days inside the PRC. Sheldon worked very closely with Ms. Zhang Xia Lu, who was Manager of American Affairs for World China Trade. Sheldon and Ms. Zhang have kept a close relationship and friendship to this date.
Sheldon served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer for Recreation World, Inc. During this 5-year period, Sheldon implemented state of the art computer systems and interacted with over 1000 employees throughout the United States. Sheldon, as Chairman of the Board, was responsible for communicating with the three different classes of investors in the Company. Recreation World owned and operated 22 Ice Skating Entertainment Centers in 11 major cities throughout the United States, including the roller skating center in Central Park in New York City, which was managed by the company.
Sheldon is the Executive Director of the Peacemaker Corps Association. The Peacemaker Association is a California Non Profit Corporation. The Corporation has a Curriculum that teaches At Risk youth how to resolve their problems in a not violent manner. It is a national organization that runs their programs in major shopping malls throughout the USA. The Peacemaker Corps has NGO status at the United Nations and periodically runs workshops and seminars at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
Sheldon worked as a volunteer for the Pico Youth and Family Center in Santa Monica California for 5 years. He worked with Latino youth and adults and taught them how to use and service computers.
Sheldon worked for Angel View Foundation. Angel view is a non-profit organization that houses adults that have serious diseases and cannot be kept at home, such as Spinal Bifida. He set up their computer systems for the State of California reporting purposes and worked with the patients teaching computer skills, so they could access the outside world regardless of their disabilities.