fencerLife was frustrating amid the poverty and violence of the housing projects in Newark, New Jersey. So Peter Westbrook’s mother encouraged him to channel his aggression into the art of fencing at age 14. Her hunch paid off and Peter won not only a path away from drugs and street crimes, but 13 US National titles, three Pan American gold medals and a Bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics.

“Fencing saved my life. If it wasn’t for fencing I’d probably would have been dead by now, like many of my friends and that’s why I knew it would work for our young children in the inner city.”

In 1991, Peter invested his own money to build the Peter Westbrook Foundation to “enrich the lives” of inner city youth through the sport of fencing. The Foundation offers children structure, teaches discipline, and encourages academic success by providing a tutoring program and a monthly essay writing contest. “They realize with the dedication they put in fencing, they can accomplish anything.”

Two members of Peter’s program qualified for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Fencing Team and competed in Sydney — Keeth Smart and Akhenaten Spencer-El.

“The most successful part of our program is getting the kids to be model citizens. Getting the kids to be something better in life, that’s what we do at the Foundation. Creating Olympians is just the icing on the cake for me.”

In September, Peter received the Use Your Life Award on the Oprah Winfrey show which comes with a check for $50,000 and Oprah’s congratulations.

Contact: The Peter Westbrook Foundation, P.O Box 7554 New York, NY 10116, 212-459-4538

Visit their website: www.peterwestbrook.org

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