Long Distance Friendship
Peter Nagler of Switzerland Finds a Way to Make a Difference
Many years ago, Peter Nagler, of Zumikon, Switzerland, decided that he needed to step up and do something to contribute to the well-being of Native American children.
As a schoolboy, Peter was horrified when he read in history books about the treatment America’s indigenous people received in the past and the lack of resources they encounter today. The more he read the stronger he felt that he needed to do something, even if only on a small scale.
In 1979 he saw an ad about Futures for Children (FFC) during a business trip to the U.S. He contacted FFC and by early 1980 had established his first mentorship with a 1st grade Navajo student named Priscilla. Their friendship continued for 10 years, during which time they communicated through letters and photos.
Peter mentored two more students over the following decades. His 10-year mentorship with 9-year-old Navajo student, Alyssa Keeto, resulted in a close friendship that is still flourishing today. Peter poses with Alyssa and her son, Jonathan in the above photo.
In 1984 Peter attended a tour of tribal communities hosted by FFC, during which he had the pleasure of meeting his student and her family. He attended the following year’s tour with his daughter, Anita, who was so moved by the experience that she applied to become a mentor as well. As Peter stated, “It opened all our eyes and hearts to realize how incredibly important our role as mentors can and will be in the lives of the children.”
Peter’s annual business trips to the U.S. always included visits with his current student and family. Peter said, “I learnt (sic) so much from these Native American friends. They were so kind to me, I felt so welcome, almost like a member of the family. Unforgettable moments!”
He is grateful to FFC for the heartening experiences he has enjoyed through the Friendship program. “When I got in touch with Futures for Children in 1979, I knew - THAT’S IT!! Through you my life was enriched in an absolutely wonderful way.”
Peter holds dear his friendships with the three Native American girls who expanded his consciousness. “I.....helped them stay at school to finish their education. That was simply heartwarming for me.”