A social entrepreneur that decided to be the change, William J. Riegler is the CEO of Billy’s Kids English Japan and CMO of npoWalk4Peace, creator of Charity Ethnic Folk Concerts aiding projects in Ghana, India, Thailand, Japan and Zimbabwe. Father of two, grandfather of two, William has taught over 30,000 Japanese kids to love English over his 40 year career. Favorite Quote: “Do all you can, With what you have, In the time you have, In the place you are.” Nkoshi Johnson, a 12 year old South African boy, dying of AIDS.
I have lived in Japan for 40 years. I started my Billy’s Kids English schools in 1977, one location, 7 students. We now have 8 locations with 1017 students. Ours is a family business, my kids, their partners, my wife and myself. I have one teacher from Slovenia that I call my third son. In the beginning, we came to Japan to introduce our baby to his Japanese grandmother, a two week trip that became 40 years. I found my calling in teaching children, age 3-12.
At the time of “We Are The World” I was moved by Lionel Richie, as he spoke to the camera, “Anything you can do. There are people dying.”
I decided to create an ethnic folk charity concert, bringing song and dance from around the world to our stage in Japan. Our first concert generated funds to send a tractor, parts and medicine to a rural village in Ghana. The next concert built a school in West Bengal, India. Our third concert generated funds for Japan earthquake relief and Thai flood relief. We sent bicycles to a nursery school and the money to rebuild their sandbox in north eastern Japan.
The other half of the funds, I took to Thailand. I was connected with grassroots relief groups in Thailand, that inspired matching funds and donated goods from corporations there. Our meager funds were able to provide medicine, food, clothes, blankets, eye glasses, textbooks and school supplies, multiplying the effect times 10. We also paid the entrance fees for the graduating class, enabling these impoverished students to enter middle school. I was there, cooking, teaching English and helping to distribute these gifts. It was very rewarding.
I decided to write a book about my life, the earthquake I survived and the creation of the concert. I self published on Amazon, took the funds to Zimbabwe to support HIV/AIDS orphans. It was amazing. I have traveled to 64 countries, some many times, to create a global consciousness in my own children’s education. I have used these acts of charity to inspire my students to step up and Be The Change and to excite them to become global citizens.
I have written three textbooks for ESL, published two photo art books for the coffee table and will soon publish my firsy children’s book, “Billy’s Yummy Birthday Cake.” The book I created for the story of the concert, “Living My Ecstatic Life” a quest that became an Awakening, had two main themes, The Power of Giving and Empowerment Through Owning Every Aspect of Our Lives. I would be happy to discuss any of these topics that would be of interest to the listeners. I also speak about the most profound channeling session in my life.
Feeling overwhelmed with work and having several close friends die recently, I was not in a good space to offer any positive messages. Then, Stacey suggested this interview, which made me take out the book and read The Golden Messages of Sonan. This helped to restart my flow in a positive direction. For this, I am profoundly grateful. I am excited to be an author in 1000 Ripple Effects.
In love and light, William