"Mr. William" ....began working for the YMCA of Greater Houston in 1999. Although his last name is Noack, the kids seemed to simply refer to him as "Mr. William" -- perhaps that was easier, as over the years, he worked with youths ranging from 12 yrs old all the way down to young infants. Noack attended high school in Austin, TX where he was repeatedly recognized in Who's Who Among American High School Students lists and graduated in the top 10% of his class.
At Texas A&I University (now A&M, Kingsville), Noack, aka "Mr. William", was again in the Who's Who listing, as well as gaining congratulatory recognition by a U.S. Congressman on being in the top 1/2 of 1% in the nation, academically! Economic reasons elliminated his ability to finish his studies in Animal Science there after the govt pulled back on a large part of his financial aid package. Later on, however, Noack did also attend SAGC (now SAGU) for 2 semesters.
Despite his multiple years of college, including some Christian Education training, Noack started at the bottom at the YMCA. Unaware of their feelings toward him at the time, Noack has indicated that his supervisor once confessed they thought he was "gay" when they hired him, although that would seem to be an odd comment. Maybe it has to do with Noack being yet single, having never married, although eventually he did get engaged it seems, while working at the YMCA.
When Noack started at the YMCA, his work in their afterschool program was only a parttime position, so he therefore sought more hours. As an adult able to fill daytime hours in need of workers by the YMCA, Noack began working with young children. Between the two positions, that made roughly about 40 hours per week, then Noack would switch over to summer day-camp work during the summer. It made for pretty much year-round employment and turned out to be something "Mr. William" seemed to be quite adept at, as he was able to be both sensible and fun with the kids. Part of that is evident in the fact that Noack apparently was photographed at least twice by the Houston Chronicle in YMCA childcare activities such as face-painting -- a favorite of many kids!
As Noack worked with older kids especially, such as in summer camps and in
afterschool programs, it became apparent he somehow elicited a rapport with young
people that was helpful. Noack apparently loved teaching kids useful things & life-
lessons as well as providing a listening ear for two-way communication rather than
merely the same old "I'm the boss" attitude that some kids tend to expect from a
grown-up. If kids screwed up,...Noack enjoyed helping them understand why doing
better was both good and in their own best interests rather than brow-beating the
youths & turning their attention off.
That attitude built trust, patience & improved behaviors -- even in some kids considered rather unmanageable by others. It also resulted in kids becoming willing to open up about problems - real problems, and sometimes things lying under the surface that parents had no clue existed or which parents didn't realize were so adversely affecting their children: divorce, drugs or alcohol at home, abusive situations, and more were tossed into his lap by silently suffering children. Noack became a sort of father to the fatherless and a mentor to both kids and some young staff members working for or with him.
The latter continued as Noack eventually began supervisory work, first as a site director, then as a multi-site director of YMCA afterschool programs, and at times even training other YMCA's staff and the staff of coworkers in the YMCA. All along the way, however, there seemed to be a roiling undercurrent of abuse against Noack himself, hidden away in the secret workings of his own department and in the secret workings of YMCA politics in general. Men in childcare is not something that was common when Noack began his work and still remains interestingly controversial in a time when there are so many recognized "rights" of equality; however, due to a knee injury that prevented Noack from consideration for military service and some other types of demanding physical work, Noack found himself applying for something like his initial YMCA childcare position. Little did he know that he was in for years of troubles due in part to, apparently,...the simple fact that he is a man.
As a YMCA childcare multisite director for afterschool programs, Noack found it useful to take advantage of mutual needs confronting himself and students of Prairie View A&M University, located rather near to many of the childcare sites listed with TX childcare authorities in his name (as director). The young college students needed jobs, and Noack needed employees, in an otherwise rather sparsely-populated, rural area. Noack seized on that and made good of the opportunity, hiring many from Prairie View A&M, a traditionally black college.
They gained real life experience with children as some majored in areas like teaching, social work & coaching - it was a plus for many. Near the end of his YMCA employment, Noack began reaching out further to the Waller, TX, and Prairie View, TX areas, seeing both the needs of the communities there and the potential for future YMCA growth. Noack began working with PV A&M and Waller ISD to further collaboration, including the possibility of possible federal work-study funded jobs for PV A&M students, as suggested by a contact at the University. Noack set up a meeting discussing such things with Waller ISD's superintendant, who also included persons like ISD principals and the mayor of Prairie View, TX (who as a former employee of PV A&M and current mayor of that community could help foster that relationship). However, the Cypress Creek YMCA where Noack worked was not accustomed to so many blacks in their midst. It was in a rich, white-majority neighborhood, it seems, and Noack and his two black coworkers seemed to be hiring quite a few blacks by then. Also, in recent months, the "black presence" in the NW Houston metro area had been ever-increasing into the areas closer to Cyperess Creek YMCA, with many people of color apparently visiting his YMCA branch to play basketball.
In upcoming YMCA staff meetings, Noack's interests began to evolve as he worked in a group designated toward special goals, finding some in other departments as well who were interested in his ideas. Soon, however, after being allegedly warned months earlier about the need to not hire too many blacks and to keep them separated, things began to fall apart. According to Noack, he was overworked and undersupported, and again told to not hire too many blacks and to keep them separated, and to not tell his two black coworkers about such orders. Noack claims he was then also told to likewise not hire too many men and to keep the men separated, also. Noack refused and seems to have vigorously defended both the morals of the issue, its illegality, and his need for employees to staff his sites.
The rest of Noack's short remaining tenure at the YMCA was bleak. Satements and evidence from Noack's court case indicate evident retaliation in various forms, apparent defamation by his supervisor to their superiors, the apparent secret theft of documents from one of his afterschool programs, and more. Noack eventually felt compelled to resign in his own best interests after such things and being required to divulge his computer passcodes unecessarily to his supervisor against YMCA policy. Noack realized that YMCA tech personal already had the ability to remotely access his computer if needed (as they had done so previously at times), and his supervisor had been involved in alleged retaliatory behaviors against him. Such a move would make him succeptible to clandestined "tinkering" on his computer that could have left him taking a bad rap for anything someone might wish to do against him. It was totally unsafe for him.
The secret seizing and withholding (by the YMCA) of State-required documentation from a program licensed in his name with TX DFPS as well as other actions also made him realize that he was being made incapable of keeping his obligations to the State of TX childcare licensing authorities as to quality issues and state regulations (such as the one requiring that the kind of documentation taken must be kept onsite, daily). The YMCA at first feigned ignorance and never returned even a copy of that documentation, though Noack requested at least that much), yet the YMCA did finally admit in court to having taking it after Noack declared he had found a witness to the incident.
Noack finally resigned in the fall of 2007 after 8 1/2 years of devoted work for the YMCA and the communities and children he served. He has lost much as a result, including his new car purchased especially with his YMCA work in mind, and lives in a tent, having already worn out three of them! The massive economic depression that gripped the US hit just after Noack left the YMCA, and Mr. Noack struggled to do his own legal work, too impoverished for an attorney; yet, he boldly faced off against a 2-lawyer team set against him to defend the YMCA of Greater Houston.
--- Edmund Burke