BOISE - Bill Dorsey is a shift supervisor at the Ada County Juvenile Detention Center. But, instead of being an adversary for those who stay there, he's helping to improve their young lives - by teaching them the art of music.
Dorsey has worked at the detention center since 1982.
Years ago, he was inspired to start teaching music to connect with more kids.
"I told my supervisor that I wanted to do something different at work with kids and music," he said. "It's very powerful. It teaches them something they can do here and when they leave detention, they have a positive hobby they can do."
His music lessons quickly combined with life lessons.
"We talk about issues, their struggles," Dorsey explained. "How to be respectful, self-respect, learning to care about other people. Being a giver, versus a taker in life."
One of the kids he taught was Israel Hadden, who spent time in the center for drug and alcohol abuse issues.
"When I came in here it was a scary place to be and it was very overwhelming," Hadden said. "The first time I went into the music program I felt like it was a little break from everything that was going on here.
"[It was] a space where I could be myself and express myself through music and just be real," he added. "The one thing I had to look forward to in the day was music."
He says Bill changed his life through music.
"It built my character in a way that I didn't expect it to," Hadden said. "It made a huge impact on how I carry myself from day to day, you know, just simple things like respecting everybody, being kind and honest and hardworking most of all."
Now he's out of the system, has a full time job, and is planning on getting married.
Stories like Hadden's are what keep Dorsey going.
"I'm proud of Israel and I'm proud of the kids that make it," he said. "And I'm discouraged when they don't make it. [When] they go to prison or die early in life, that breaks my heart.
He's received so many thank you letters, and he keeps them all.
"The letters are a blessing to me," he said. "Some kids have told me that it has changed their life, or that I was the closest thing they had to a father figure or a grandfather figure. So this has been my life's work."
Dorsey isn't sure how long he'll keep working and teaching music, but right now he is where he needs to be.
"I could have retired last year, but I love what I do. The day is coming when I will retire, and it will be hard for me to retire.