Name: Edward L. Gresham.Interests/Accomplishments: After...

Volunteer spotlight

February 28, 1993

Name: Edward L. Gresham.

Interests/Accomplishments: After Mr. Gresham retired from the Navy in the late 1950s, he promised himself he would "do what he wanted to do."

Fortunately, what he most wanted to do was to help people help themselves.

Upon graduating from Howard University, Mr. Gresham joined Dr. Leon Sullivan, the founder of the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), to set up a branch of the

organization in Washington in 1965.

According to Mr. Gresham, OIC helps people, from teens to senior citizens, "the unemployed, the underemployed or displaced worker," get life back on track through job training and other instruction.

"OIC screens everybody in. People are not screened out," Mr. Gresham says.

Started in Philadelphia in 1964, OIC has blossomed to include chapters worldwide and in most major cities in the United States.

From 1965 to 1973, Mr. Gresham was with the Washington office. From 1973 until 1979, he offered his services as a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery County chapter.

And when the Annapolis chapter was seeking someone to lead it into the '80s, Mr. Gresham assumed responsibility as executive director, a volunteer position.

The Annapolis center offers training in word processing, clerical skills, printing and instruction for people participating in the General Equivalency Program or the External Diploma Program.

Gresham credits his "dedicated staff" with the 80 percent success rate in job placement.

He travels more than 100 miles round trip each day from his Rockville home to Annapolis, and carries with him this philosophy: "People have to give to get."

For information about OIC, Mr. Gresham invites individuals to contact the Annapolis office at 222-1209.

Volunteer's comment: Mr. Gresham states that he believes "everybody can be somebody" and that OIC is based on the philosophy of people helping themselves. As he puts it, "It's not a handout, but a hand up."

To recommend someone to be in the "Volunteer Spotlight," call the Anne Arundel Bureau, 315-8911 or 1-800-829-8000, Ext. 8911, any time or fax nominations to 315-8916 or mail them to: The Sun for Anne Arundel, 8131 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena 21122.

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