John is the Founder and President of The Key Class, an organization that teaches social, business and life skills to teens in high schools, community organizations and at-risk youth. But, I met John 30 years ago when I was the publisher of Special Events magazine. John had a career that spanned 44 years as an international event producer. He won every award possible, had six businesses simultaneously and was loved and admired by everyone in the industry. Even back then he was a teacher. He shared his expertise with thousands of his peers. I could fill up a ballroom in a heartbeat if he was presenting a session at one of my conventions.
Then, after 44 years he retired, for about 10 minutes. Because he had been formally mentoring teens for almost 20 years, he realized that there was a critical element missing from their education. So, he sat down and wrote a program he named The Key Class. He shared it with community leaders, and before he could turn around, he was teaching the program to at-risk kids through the Santa Barbara Probation Department. Because he was single-handledly turning these troubled kids around with his classes, he decided to expand it. To offer full disclosure, that's when he hired me to work with him to expand it. But, that's not why I am sharing this with you. You see, I fully understand the love and dedication and money, his own money, that he has put into growing The Key Class. I am a former teacher, and I've watched him in the classroom with his students. They come in skeptical and a little wary, and then about 5 minutes later, they absolutely fall in love with him. Why? Because he so honestly, clearly and enthusiastically loves them and wants them to succeed. It shines through in every fiber of his being. He is solely dedicated to reaching and helping as many young people as he can.
John believes that respect and consideration for others are the keys to anyone's success. He teaches students why good behavior matters and what it will do for them, and they believe! Several gang members have told John that he literally saved their lives. Most of his students will tell you that what he has given them they will take with them for the rest of their lives. One said he knew he would succeed because John believes in him.
This man has spent a large chunk of his retirement to help these young people. But more than that, he has given his time, energy, enthusiasm ... he has given himself to help the youth of his community in Santa Barbara and ultimately society as a whole. Last year the Santa Barbara Unified School District asked him to teach The Key Class in Grades 9-12, ensuring that all the youth in their community will have the advantages John Daly has to offer. He does this in addition to a number of organizations throughout Santa Barbara. It is his hope to expand The Key Class to our entire nation's youth. We will be very fortunate nation indeed because I can say without hesitation that what The Key Class is doing is built on unconditional love.
The Key Class is a 501(c)3 in process and is dependent on donations and gifts. If you would like to learn more about The Key Class and perhaps show your support to John's efforts, please visit The Key Class.