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Warren D. Kinsman


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Upon graduating from Syracuse University with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, I spent two years in Turkey as a Peace Corps Volunteer, teaching English as a Foreign Language to Turkish junior and senior high school students. At the end of the two years, the Peace Corps offered me a job upon completion of my volunteer service, and I went to Washington, DC in 1964, living there until 2005.

Following a year on the Peace Corps staff where I traveled around the country visiting Peace Corps training programs, I took a position as an English and Sociology teacher in the DC Public School System. I've often said that I earned my degree at Syracuse University, and my education at Anacostia Senior High School. In the four plus years at Anacostia, I know I learned far more from my students than I was able to teach. This was my first face-to-face experience with genuine poverty in America.

Following my fourth year as a teacher watching more and more students arrive in high school less and less prepared, I came to the realization that we needed to begin addressing the lack of basic skills being imparted on the pre-elementary and elementary level of education, or else we could forget about hoping to see students succeed in high school. That led me to a consulting firm working with Head Start programs for the next dozen years.

It was also during this period I began exploring the world of Astrology. One of my former students, who I had hired to work in an academic enrichment program which I directed one summer, began shoving these little horoscope blurbs in my face, telling me how much they fit me. It made me recall my mother's interest in the subject, and how much my brother and sister kidded and razzed her about that "unscientific nonsense." My remarks to my former student were less tactful than those to my mother; however, after a summer of both listening to this 17 year old, and warding him off, I was curious enough to actually go to an astrologer and have her do my horoscope.

It would be interesting to report that I received a first rate reading, but I didn't. In fact, it was so general that I was almost ready to forget about it, with the exception of the last thing she told me. She said that when I was 5 years old, my father tried to commit suicide. Well, if the truth were to be told, that's exactly what he attempted (unsuccessfully), and I didn't find out about it until I was nineteen. That one visit ended up in the commencement of my astrological studies, which have been going on now for over 42 years.

I have been active in the astrological community for most of this time. For many years I served as Matrix Software's traveling representative, where I exhibited their astrological software at conferences around the country. I helped found the Washington, DC chapter of NCGR serving as its first president, and was later appointed to serve on the NCGR Board as Director of Chapter Affairs, a position I enjoyed for 10 years. In 1999, I resigned hoping NCGR would provide opportunities for younger members to serve on the board. This eventually happened, but interestingly for him, these changes resulted in my being asked to return to the Board as Treasurer in 2002, a position Iíve been elected to 3 times since then.

To go back a bit, I served as a consultant with Head Start for 12 years from late in 1970 to 1982, at the end of which time I decided to take the plunge and devote full time to an astrological practice which I did successfully until 1994 when a good friend of mine asked me to work full time with him on an inner city educational program which became known as Project 2000. This program was founded by a black Ph.D. from Columbia University, and his idea was to take the first grade class at a SE Washington primary school, provide them with mentors, and follow them through high school (they would be the class of the year 2000) to see if they could be given a foundation on which to succeed in the later academic grades. The emphasis was on the boys, as black girls had and have many positive role models, but in 1987 when these students entered the first grade, positive male role models in the black community were scarce. Obviously mentors werenít limited to being young and black, and I became a volunteer in 1987 at the directorís request. Since I was self-employed I found the time to take on this activity.

The majority of the volunteers in this program were business and math majors at Howard University. To become a mentor/volunteer the student (or person) had to promise to give the program one-half day a week to the program for the entire school year. The Howard students soon fell in love with the kids, an action which was mutually reciprocated. Most of these initial volunteers were university juniors and they stayed with the program for two years until they graduated from Howard.

Interestingly, at the end of the second grade, 60 Minutes heard about the program and made arrangements to come in and film our students. What attracted their attention is that this group of second graders blew the 2nd grade math test out of the water, which wasnít surprising to those of us who worked as volunteers because most of the Howard students were whizzes at math.

The program aired in the fall of 1989 at the start of the programís 3rd year. I remember Dr. Holland (the programís founder) remarking that he didnít know what he was going to do to recruit volunteers. The program aired in September and the very next day Holland received a call from the head of a radio ratings organization wanting to know what he could do to help. Holland told him to get him some volunteers, and the radio man was so impressed he wasnít asked for money that he went to his staff, showed them a tape of the 60 Minutes program, and told his staff that if they were interested, they could have one morning or afternoon a week of released time with pay if they agreed to a year of service. About 20 men jumped at the opportunity. They were black and white, married and single, younger and older. And most of these men were so enthusiastic that they remained with the program through the 6th grade. They would sponsor field trips each year to museums, historical places, and even amusement parks. Thanks to the Arbitron Company, Project 2000 continued making a difference in the lives of these young African-American students by providing them with very positive male role models. Sessions were organized on conflict resolution which were pioneering in those days as young boys seldom learned there were other ways of solving disagreements besides using fists or worse, guns. 

One of the volunteers in the Program was a cornerback on the Washington Redskins where if memory serves me correctly, he served as a mentor for three years. Following the Redskins win over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVI in 1992, he was traded to Tampa. His parting words to Holland were, ďI wonít forget about you Doc.Ē Holland thought to himself, ĎYeah, thatís what they all say,Ē but true to his word as the students were finishing their last year of primary school, a $10,000 check arrived. He hadnít forgotten about us, and it was this money that eventually got the program incorporated. This Project 2000 angel was Martin Mayhew who is currently the General Manager of the Detroit Lions. 

Holland wanted to set up a non-profit corporation to mentor these 55 students through junior and senior high school, but the IRS turned him down saying the program was too narrow. To only focus on one class was discriminatory, they said. Holland asked what would happen if we were to recruit new students from the same elementary schoolís 6th grade class each year thus having a complete group of students in grades 7 through 12 by the time the first class graduated high school in the year 2000. IRS gave its approval to this idea.


To make a long story a little bit shorter, there were many ups and downs, but in the year 2000 twelve students who had started as first graders went on the colleges which most of them never would have gone to had it not been for Project 2000. Of the 55 who started junior high school in 1993 fewer than half graduated in 2000. Many losses were from parental moves, but we canít minimize the fact that the streets claimed the lives of several as well, in spite of all the mentoring. Three were shot in drive-bys and one was killed in a case of mistaken identity. Such were the odds against young black men in the 80s and 90s. However, a significant number of students went on to excellent colleges and universities and without Project 2000 there is no telling what might have happened to them.


I stayed with Project 2000 until I retired at age 67 in 2004. In 2002, I felt he needed a much deserved vacation and in November took my first trip to Costa Rica. I didnít know much about the country, but one of the things that attracted me was that it had a long running functional democracy and a very solid middle class, something the other Central American countries could not boast of. As the plane was coming in for a landing at San Josťís Juan Santamaria Airport, I believe I fell in love with the country as I looked out on the majestically beautiful green mountains. I did all of the touristy things such as white water rafting, a canopy tour and several day trips. I was so impressed that I returned 6 months later and went to a well known beach, Manuel Antonio, on the Pacific Coast.


Following these two trips, I concluded that Costa Rica might prove to be a great place to retire, and if I were to retire there I should start learning some Spanish. Thus in December 2003, I spent a little over a month taking Spanish and continuing to tour spots I hadnít yet seen. During the spring break in 2004, I went to Guadalajara, Mexico which had the same climate as San Josť, but also had population of over four and a half million which is equal to the entire country of Costa Rica. I knew I didnít want to live in a city that large, so after retiring in June 2004, I spent the months of July, August and September in San Josť, studying Spanish and looking to see if I could find a comfortable place to live. I lucked out, finding a house for sale owned by an American who was in failing health and wanted a smaller place to live.


I was able to purchase a 4 bedroom home with 3 baths. I rent out two rooms to students, and have my own hideaway on the second floor which has a commanding view of the northern mountains. Although retired, I keep busy teaching a few classes of English to Spanish speakers, but this leaves me enough free time to enjoy my retirement by traveling both within Costa Rica and abroad. Life is great!



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