DeWitt April’s Volunteer of the Month is Paul Goetchius, a volunteer mentor in the On Point for College program. On Point for College is a nonprofit tax-exempt college access program founded in 1999 whose stated mission is to open the door to higher education for inner city youth.
Paul Goetchius earned his B.S and D.V.M. degrees from Cornell University in the 1960s and joined a veterinary practice in Cato. One of his first volunteer activities was to teach Sunday School to junior high kids at his church, where he also served on the Board of Elders. In Cato he also participated in Gideons International, a Christian service organization, and in Christian prison ministry at Jamesville Penitentiary.
A career change into environmental toxicology took Goetchius to Knoxville, Tenn. in 1992, where he established a Christian chapel under Truckstop Ministries at a large truck stop west of Knoxville. There he conducted chapel services, including worship, prayer and Bible study for truck drivers who cannot leave their trucks to find a local church on Sunday.
Goetchius eventually returned to the Syracuse area to be closer to family. In 2010, an article about On Point for College immediately grabbed his attention because he understands the value of education and how important it is to a successful life. His deeply held beliefs motivate him to help guide the less fortunate.
As he researched the organization, Goetchius learned that On Point for College is very successful in guiding capable youth with the necessary will and drive to complete a successful college career. One of the difficulties many city students face is a lack of reliable transportation to and from college. After undergoing the required background checks and training, Goetchius joined On Point for College as a volunteer driver.
“This is a blessing because it gives me a chance to be interactive with the student on a one to one basis. So, it’s more than just a ride,” said Goetchius, who generally volunteers for the longer trips.