L.A. Teacher: Anyone can Create a Better World


Recent gun shootings have been a frequent headliner. The society seemed to forget what and how it is to make a better and greater society. However, a 53-year-old Los Angeles teacher shows that the formula to a better society is “Kindness creates kindness, generosity creates generosity and love creates love.”

Recently, Tony Tolbert, a Harvard alumnus and a law professor from UCLA, handed the keys to his own home to a struggling single mother of four young children with the hope that his act will help them achieve a more secure and stable life.

Felicia Dukes and her family, the recipient of Tolbert’s generosity, will take ownership of everything inside Tolbert’s house including all of its modest furnishings. Tolbert plans to move back to his parent’s home and stay at the same bedroom where he grew up learning several virtuous acts.

In his interview with CBS News, Tolbert explained,”You don’t have to be a billionaire to do something good for someone else.” He added, “You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or Oprah. We can do it wherever we are, with whatever we have and for me, I have a home that I can make available.”

Tolbert credits his beliefs and principles to his equally generous father, a former entertainment lawyer, who he recalls has always allowed any needy stranger to temporarily occupy their family’s spare bedroom. He remembers that their spare bedroom has always been occupied by someone totally unrelated to their family.

“It planted the seed that that’s something you do,” he still reflects. “You take care of other people who are in a position where help is needed. If I say I’m generous… then I should be generous.”

Then enter Felicia Dukes’ family, whom Tolbert never met before but knew there was something he could give them and that is his own home. Before their meeting, Felicia Dukes’ family stays in a single occupancy residence at Alexandria House, a shelter that cares for women and children. However, Felicia is having a tough time since her eldest son could no longer stay with them at the shelter.

One day, she received some wonderful news. “I got a call they (Alexandria) had a young man that wanted to donate his house for a year,” Dukes recalls. “I’m looking like, what? Are you serious?”

The news was as real as the rising sun. Tony Tolbert, whom the family now considers as a grace from heaven, was serious in giving the family a new lease on life.

“My heart just fills up and stuff,” said teary-eyed Dukes, who welcomed the New Year with her family inside their very own home.  “Um … I’m just really happy.”

Tolbert has been in search of a deserving non-profit organization and its dependents through which he could endow his home. He finally settled with Alexandria House after learning about its mission and being impressed with some of the added services its counselors provide for their clients.

“I think if we can share more stories about people doing nice things for other people, and fewer stories about people doing horrible things to other people, that’s a better world,” said Tolbert, who also recently began studying Tibetan Buddhism.