Cedu Documentary Clip 5 – Who Is Mel Wasserman?
Former Staff and Students talk about the Guru of Cedu, and the father of the “troubled teen” industry. It was the 1960s, anti-war protests and a bursting drug culture. Mel Wasserman owned a furniture store in Palm Springs, CA, when destiny called…
- How much money was made? The student body averaged at about 100 to 120 at a time; new students arrived year-round, and the program ran an average of 2.5 years. There was an influx of approximately 20+ students every four to six months.
- What was the monthly and yearly cost, per student? At the start of the program? By the late 1980s? How much did the program cost in the 1990s? In the 2000s?
- What did it cost you, and your family financially?
Viewers will note the absence of Photographs of Mel Wasserman. We would like to rectify that. If you have photos, or first hand knowledge of the man, and would be willing to lend pictures or an interview to the project, please leave a comment, (mark it public or private), and the producers will get in touch with you.
Did you know Mel Wasserman? Do you have a Wasserman memory? Write us.
“I met [Cedu founder] Mel [Wasserman] in San Francisco several years before he started CEDU, while I was working for Synanon, a drug rehabilitation center,” Bill said. “I remember talking with him about his ideas and thought he might have a better way of working with teens and younger students. But as the years passed, we went our separate ways with Mel moving to Palm Springs, and I never really thought much more about it, until I began hearing about a new non-profit organization that had opened a school in Running Springs, CA.”
According to Bill, Mel started the first program in about 1966, but it was several years after that when Mel approached him about working for CEDU.
“A few years after the program opened, I started reading and hearing about it, and we began communicating back and forth, but I was pretty content at Synanon, which was how I became involved in working with all ages, from teen to adult,” said Bill. “However, when Mel asked me to come down and take a look at CEDU, which at the time consisted of a very small school in Running Springs and an office in Los Angeles, I agreed and was pretty excited about what I saw at the program. He offered me a job and I started working for Mel in January 1974…”