Board Spotlight: Rick Seidenwurm

Rick Seidenwurm working with an Adolescent Book Group student at the Monarch School.

Rick Seidenwurm working with an Adolescent Book Group student at the Monarch School.

Meet Rick!

Rick Seidenwurm has been a part of Words Alive for the past 10 years in the classroom and leadership. He joined the board in 2013 and served as Treasurer, Vice Chair, and Chair. Rick is integral to Words Alive's growth. Rick has also been an Adolescent Book Group volunteer for the past 10 years, impacting some of San Diego's most vulnerable youth with engaging book discussions and creative writing sessions.

Rick is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia Law School. In a rare burst of sanity, he left New York and moved to San Diego in 1973. He is a founder and former managing partner of Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, one of San Diego's top law firms. Rick also served as a commercial arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. He is now fully retired.

Rick has served on the nonprofit boards of Wayword, Inc., San Diego Writers, Ink, Business Counsel and Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.  He also does volunteer teaching at Del Sur Elementary School and is a mentor with the Access Youth program.

Most recently, Rick raised over $5,500 for the Words Alive Champions for Youth campaign, making him our most successful fundraiser of the campaign. By directly reaching out to his community, and sharing his Words Alive story, Rick was able to grow his impact!

I’ve been doing this for so long that most of my friends and relatives already know about how passionate I am about Words Alive. All I had to do was write an email or two and invite them to give. They know that this is what I care about, and over half of the people I emailed gave. Some big, some small, but it was something.
— Rick Seidenwurm

Now, let’s hear more directly from Rick!

How has Words Alive changed the story of your life? 

I became a classroom volunteer for Words Alive as I was phasing into retirement. The experience of interacting with teenagers who were both wonderful and troubled was a revelation to me. I never realized I could inspire these kids to write and that they would trust me to hear their stories. 

When was the first moment you fell in love with reading? 

I don’t have a recollection of that first moment. I can tell you that my mother taught me to recite the Gettysburg Address during toilet training.

What is your favorite book and why? 

So many come to mind. I’d probably say Catch 22 because of the mix of humor and tragedy. Most recent favorites are The Goldfinch and The Gentleman From Moscow, both of which I’ve read twice. 

What made you join the Words Alive board? 

The loyalty to the organization that evolved from my volunteer experience, plus the urgings of my fellow classroom volunteers Kay Gurtin, Cindy Polger, and Brenda Schulman.

What has been your favorite aspect of being a Words Alive board member? 

Seeing our dreams turn to reality. 

Thank you, Rick, for all you’ve done for Words Alive! Learn more about our Board of Directors here!