My Nana was Elizabeth de Nice, France. She emigrated to the United States and married and had six children. As a result of lack of extended family, and the Great Depression, my father, Tom Riles, and his younger brother Ben Riles moved out from overcrowded conditions to live at the YMCA in Passaic New Jersey at the ages of 13 and 10. My father earned the 50 cents a week required for their room and board at the YMCA, by busking with his ukulele, on Passaic Avenue.
The two young boys spent a summer at a farm in New Hampshire, with kind-hearted people who turned their lives around. They learned that 'every cloud has a silver lining' and to think positively, and use the Bible as a guide to life. The boys returned to Passaic, and joined the boy scouts; my Dad became an Eagle Scout. His music continued, and it was not long before he became part of a Barbershop Quartet. They would put on shows, that were well attended, and he became a song and dance man for Vaudeville. Dad preformed on the first radio programmes ever broadcasted, and his sister, my Aunt Hazel would play the piano in the silent movies.
Dad met my Mother Anna Jacobowitz, who was from a family of 14 children. My Grandmother of the same name escaped from Poland, during the holocaust, with her two sisters, and they settled in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
After marrying, Dad worked his way up in New Jersey Bank and Trust Co. from a message boy to a teller, branch manager, and then when he retired he was in charge of 23 banks along the east coast of the USA. His younger brother, my Uncle Ben became an eminent heart surgeon. When ever they told the story about growing up, they mentioned the kind hearted, Bible believing people, on the farm in New Hampshire, that influenced them the most. Those folks helped them to achieve in a positive way, in spite of their early childhood impoverished conditions.
Dad taught me many wonderful lessons about seeing the potential in all people, and not being deceived by the outer "wrappings" of people, because you cannot judge a book by its cover.
Dad and Mom visited me in New Zealand 13 times, during the 30 years that I have resided here. The first 15 years of my life here I was busy raising my four children and a host of foster children.
Several life circumstances placed me into a position where I wanted to offer solutions to the rising number of problems associated with youth at risk and families. I enrolled in Massey University to do a MBA, in order to research, test, and offer solutions to the table. You will find those solutions mentioned on this website, and will find a working model of service provision, at Tira Ora, in the Pelorus Sounds, New Zealand.