“It only takes a few people to make a difference”: Meet Trainer Boaz Witbeck
For Boaz Witbeck, the passion for free societies was sparked in eighth grade when he went on a missions trip to Costa Rica. “That’s where I saw real poverty for the first time,” Boaz remembers. “People were living in shacks with dirt floors, there was trash in the streets.” The experience stuck with him, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.
In high school, learning about how our country’s government works piqued his interest. He called his local congressman’s office and asked the aide who answered about volunteering opportunities.
Soon, Boaz was the one answering the phones. He fielded countless calls from constituents, listening to them share their opinions or answering their questions. “I found out I was one of those people who love to hear different opinions from different people,” he says. “I learned a lot from that experience.”
It wasn’t until college, though, that he realized how important freedom truly was. “When I studied economics I realized how government programs can trap people in poverty by keeping them dependent on living in subsistence,” he says. It was the first time he realized freedom could pull people like those he met in Costa Rica out of poverty.
After graduating from Arizona State University with a master’s degree in Public Administration, Boaz spent years in the world of grassroots activism. He worked as the policy director for the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity before joining Grassroots Leadership Academy.
Traveling the country as a GLA trainer has given Boaz new optimism. “I wish I could show every class I teach the rich diversity of people who truly and deeply care about this country and want a better future,” he says. “I meet so many people from so many backgrounds, whether they’re a business owner, a mom, or a retiree who cares about their grandchildren’s future.”
The trainers are already seeing their work bear fruit. “I’ve seen people who went through GLA use the skills they’ve learned in our programs to stop tax hikes and rate increases in their city hall,” he says. “It only takes a few people to make a difference.”
Boaz says his favorite training to lead is the first night of the Grassroots Activist Certification because it covers much of what he studied in college. “Freedom is really the moral option,” he says. “It gives people the most opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty and create the most wealth and opportunity for everyone.”
When Boaz isn’t on the road he’s spending time with his siblings, playing board games, hiking, or playing tennis. He loves to read, and says the book he recommends most to activists is “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. He holds a regular discussion group where friends from across the political and philosophical spectrum can gather to share ideas.
Despite all the time on the road, Boaz loves his job. “So many people are either apathetic or don’t know what to do,” he says. “GLA gives people the opportunity to wake up to the reality of what’s happening in this country and the tools to be effective in leading movements that advance liberty and economic freedom in their local communities.”