MAILED: April 24, 2000
Dave Pelzer, youth-at-risk advocate and author of a three-volume memoir that has touched millions of readers, will conclude this season of The Forum lecture series at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Wednesday, May 10.
His presentation titled "The Real Heroes" has been moved from Schofield Auditorium to W.L. Zorn Arena. Reserved seating at the 7:30 p.m. program will be duplicated on the main floor of the Arena. The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.
Dave Pelzer is the best-selling author of "A Child Called 'It'" (1995) and "The Lost Boy" (1997) the first two installments of an autobiographical trilogy that he concluded last October with the publication of "A Man Named Dave." Pelzer is the survivor of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history and is considered one of the nation's most effective communicators on youth-at-risk issues. He pays homage to educators, social services, foster care, law enforcement and volunteers the real heroes in the lives of children.
Parental discretion is recommended to those attending Pelzer's lecture with young people, since the content may occasionally disturb them.
Pelzer's emotional presentation comes from the perspective of a man whose life was literally saved by a system that many ridicule as being useless and incompetent. As a child, he was brutally beaten and starved by an emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother living by his wits to survive a slave-like existence in which he was no longer a boy but an "it." At age 12, he was rescued and placed in foster care. At 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force with an unyielding determination to better his life.
A retired air crew member of the Air Force, Pelzer played a major role in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield and Desert Storm. While in service he worked in Juvenile Hall and other programs involving youth-at-risk. His unique accomplishments have been recognized through many awards, including personal commendations from Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton. In 1993 he was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans, and in 1994 he was the only American to be honored as one of the Outstanding Young Persons of the World. He carried the coveted centennial flame for the 1996 Olympics.
Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, "A Child Called 'It'" has resided on The New York Times Bestseller List for more than 100 weeks. "The Lost Boy" has been on the bestseller list for more than 50 weeks, making Pelzer the first author to have two books simultaneously on this list in trade paperback. Pelzer's long-awaited conclusion to his story, "A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness," is in the top 20 on the hardcover bestseller list.
As a child, Pelzer was beaten if he spoke without permission. Today he lectures more than 200 days a year. He carefully weaves the story of how his life was saved by his teachers, a school nurse, the police department, social services and the foster care system. His story draws respect away from national sports celebrities and Hollywood icons and directs it toward those who truly make a difference with the nation's children every day.
Admission is $7 for the public, $5 for those age 62 and older and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff, or $3 for those age 17 and younger and UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center and will be sold at the door.
Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.
During the presentation, free parking on campus is available in the Hibbard and Phillips parking lots.
The Forum is made possible by student funds allocated by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate. Pelzer's presentation is cosponsored by the Association of Student Social Workers at UW-Eau Claire.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: May 1, 2000