What most people envision for their retirement probably does not include young children and going back to the classroom. But that’s exactly what Larry Backes did when he retired after spending 37 years of his life dedicated to finance and the last 17 at US Bank.
“I have been fortunate to receive a good education, and I experienced the importance of motivated teachers,” said Larry. “I thought that perhaps I could do the same for others.”
Larry finds the time to read to young children ages three through six at United Way’s “Book Parties” held at partner child care centers that are focused on helping children enter school ready to learn at grade level or above and demonstrate proficiency in reading, math and literacy.
“I have always loved to read and wanted to instill that desire in children,” said Larry. “I believe that if children are not exposed to the joys of reading at an early age, then it is much less likely that they will pick up the habit in later life.”
The feedback that Larry receives from the children is priceless.
“I can remember seeing the joy on their faces when they shout out answers to my questions about the stories,” said Larry.
The encouragement that he received from the children inspired him to express his creative side and try his hand at writing a short story about his family dog that has been well received.
“The children get involved in the story as they hope for a happy ending,” said Larry. “I enjoy seeing the happy faces of the children and can really appreciate the passion and dedication of the pre-school workers. I know it’s a cliche, but ‘the children are our future’ so I enjoy doing my small part.”
Larry Backes grew up in Chicago where he attended the University of Chicago and received his BA and MBA specializing in Finance. Larry and his wife of 34 years have two grown daughters and enjoy traveling and sampling the fine restaurants in Las Vegas.
Throughout his career, Larry supported United Way and became aware of some of the programs that it supported.
“The United Way helps the community by focusing funds and volunteers to help serve the needs of Las Vegas,” said Larry.
Larry believes that United Way makes finding a volunteer experience easy and fulfilling.
“United Way’s Volunteer Center website lists so many worthy opportunities and you can reach out to the United Way staff to help guide you in your choice,” said Larry. “Take the first step and find a volunteer activity that interests you. The rewards to the volunteer are much greater than the effort expended.”