by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Alicia Jeanne Photography

The Power of Poetry

volunteer_tsoris3In the late 1930s and early 1940s, a young George Tsoris was a member of the Milwaukee Boys Club (the Boys & Girls Club did not exist yet). During those early years, George developed a passion for poetry. “In high school I compiled a folder of my favorite poems which I still have today,” he said. Now, at 89 years old, he was introduced to the Boys & Girls Club of Vista, and saw a perfect opportunity to share this passion with new youngsters. With a feeling that a poetic sense sharpens children’s ability to observe and comprehend the world around them, he decided as part of his volunteer work he’d help BGCV members memorize and appreciate poems.


“For many years I have felt that most children are not very much exposed to poetry,” George reflected. “When I would meet young people I would ask them if they could recite even a line from any poem they had learned. Few could.” His work at BGCV serves to change that. One time, a high school student responded to George’s poem query by quoting the introduction to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the original Old English. Another time, a woman responded to George with, “I think that I shall never see/a poem lovely as a tree.” When George asked her age, she responded, “102.” He feels poetry is important because it helps give people a love of words which in turn helps them to express their own thoughts and feelings. He thinks English poet John Keats said it best: “Poetry is truth seen with passion.” George shared, “It is very satisfying for me to have several of the children make their own poetic discoveries by writing their own poems.”

Name: George Tsoris
Family: Wife – Pauline; Son who lives near Chicago
Hobbies: Cooking, reading, poetry
Favorite Spot: Boys & Girls Club of Vista


George’s early career was spent in the world of advertising and sales, but he spent the latter part in the real estate appraisal business. In addition to volunteering, he’s a voracious reader and loves to cook. His wife Pauline is an active volunteer as well. She spearheads a program to visit homebound parishioners who cannot attend church, and is also active in supporting several nonprofit charitable organizations. Their son is executive chef of a large ship’s casino, located on the Fox River in Chicago. On his time at the Boys & Girls Club, “It is such a joy to be involved in a volunteer program like this for the community,” George shared, “It helps make old age and retirement a meaningful and wonderful part of my life.” George Tsoris is a meaningful addition to his Vista community.