The author, James Baldwin, opined in his Notes of a Native Son that “one writes out of one thing only – one’s own experience” and that all else “depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give.” Danny Clifford would argue that we, as teachers, as mentors, as leaders, and as life-guides must accentuate for the next generation the absolute necessity of seeing the value in all experiences (good and bad) and embrace those challenges and triumphs.
From the complicated city of Chicago, a multi-ethnic parentage, twelve years in the Catholic school system, and another nearly-six years in the United States Army, Danny has taken his personal journey and used its lessons to work with Tucson’s younger generation through grassroots organizations like The Center of Attention, an afterschool tutoring and mentoring program for elementary kids, the Tucson Urban League’s Drugs Destroy Dreams anti-substance abuse high-school summer programs, and endeavored to bring a softer, more compassionate approach to the regimented structure of the Arizona Boys Ranch’s rehabilitation program for adjudicated youth.
The lure of the Sonoran Desert taught him special appreciation for environments not made of concrete and steel, so much so that, for six years, he worked in, then owned a Wild Birds Unlimited franchise where he developed his “backyard birding” hobby.
Danny is a poet, has taught composition and creative writing for six years at Pima Community College, and is currently an adjunct lecturer with the University of Arizona’s Department of English.
He brings with him a love of the written word.