A shoeshine boy inspires a foundation.

I am often asked to explain why a retired, 72-year-old professor started a Foundation to help very poor kids receive an education.  There are many parts of the story, especially my decision 34 years ago to adopt teenagers.  However. let me focus on one story.  In 1992, my third oldest son, Angel, and I were driving through Mexico and stopped in the non-descript town of San Andreas Tuxtla.  We got a tolerable hotel room and headed to dinner.  We were the only customers in one of the few restaurants we found.  As we were eating, a kid entered the restaurant and asked us for food.  The owner came to throw him out, but I told Angel to tell him to wait for us outside.  When we finished, Pedro was there.  We took him to a taco stand where this little guy ate an enormous number of tacos.  He walked us to our hotel.  To our surprise, he was outside the next morning to say goodbye.  He had his shoeshine kit, for that is how he helped to support his family.  Pedro was 11, and he should have been in school.  I took a photo of him with his shoeshine kit, and we said goodbye.  I realized that I had fed him for a night, but he would be hungry again the next day.  When I got home, I had the photo of Pedro made into a 20x30 poster, framed it, and hung it on the stairway of my home.  Twenty-four years later, it is still there.  I often speak to the photo but also wonder what could have been done to help Pedro for more than a day.  The answer to me is clear--provide him with educational opportunities.  I cannot now go back in time and provide Pedro with educational opportunities, but there are millions of "Pedros" in the world, and I created the Bill Cook Foundation to help some of them, to provide a kind of food that would nourish them for a lifetime.