agent and one-time commissioner candidate Richard Harding
has a personal stake in rectifying child poverty and youthful homelessness: His
father died when Harding
was 15, and his
mother was deemed dangerous to him.
wound up on the streets.
Harding credits mentoring and opportunities received through Catholic Charities with saving him.
"I was provided with a place to sleep.
It was a particularly bad time in my life, losing my father near my 15th birthday.
You just don't fit in, which is the reason why, with a lot of these kids, you're not going to find a foster home for them," Harding
"When you become emancipated mentally, you've graduated from being a teenager to making adult decisions.
Rather than a parental model, you actually need a mentor model."
education was paid for and the school arranged his
classes so he
could attend in the morning, then work in a window factory in the afternoon.
spent evenings interning at the same TV station where Phil Donohue worked at the time, and eventually won a local Emmy for his
adaptation of the opera, La Traviata.
"I attribute that to the mentoring I was receiving from the adults around me that were encouraging me," Harding
Harding is now president of the Painted Sky Resource and Conservation Development Council in Olathe.
Its mission includes enhancing rural communities.
living proof that homeless kids are not fated to be "bad kids" or criminals - but it takes support and opportunity to make it through life.
" All we need to know about Harding
is that he
wants higher and higher taxes.
, I have always found you to be special and now I know why.