What in the world would a 62-year-old male small business owner have in common with an 11- year-old boy he had never met? If you said “probably nothing,” well, you might want to rethink your answer after reading about Gordon and Chuck.
In March 2007, Chuck was referred to Big Brothers Big Sisters by his Barren County elementary school teacher. During the child interview, the Case Manager discovered Chuck’s parents had divorced when he was only three, and since that time he had basically no contact with his mom. Chuck’s father had several personal issues that prevented him from having custody of his son, thus Chuck was being raised by his grandparents. Although the grandparents were trying to provide the best for Chuck, oftentimes they were left confused, frustrated, and exhausted by his behavior. Chuck seemed to have endless energy, and after receiving a complete physical he was diagnosed with ADHD. Even with the prescribed medication and a monthly appointment with a Life Skills counselor, Chuck still needed an outlet for all that energy.
One thing that Chuck mentioned over and over during his interview with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Case Manager was his love for fishing. Since he lived in town and both his grandparents worked full-time, he rarely had an opportunity to participate in the hobby he loved like no other. “If only I had a Big Brother who could take me fishing,” was repeated by Chuck several times during the home visit. The Case Manager assured Chuck he would do his best to find a Big Brother who liked to fish.
Interestingly enough, 62-year-old Gordon, a successful small business owner, father and grandfather, had been thinking about becoming a Big Brother for some time and contacted the Big Brothers Big Sisters office about volunteering. After he sent in his application and the background check was complete, the Case Manager scheduled an interview with Gordon. Midway through the interview, Gordon, an avid outdoorsman, shared, “What I would really like to do is find a child who enjoys fishing, and the two of us would fish every chance we could.” Needless to say, Gordon was about to begin the fishing trip of a lifetime.
"Gordon is not only the best Big Brother ever, but he is also my best friend."
Gordon and Chuck were matched in the Big Brothers Big Sisters community-based program in March 2007. The volunteer “Big” agrees to spend a minimum of 2 hours a week with their “Little” for one full year. The Case Manager monitors the match each month, and at the end of the year a determination is made whether to continue the match or close it. All three parties involved – the volunteer, the child, and the parent/guardian, have input concerning the continuation or closing of the match.
There was no doubt as to whether this match would continue. Gordon and Chuck went fishing on their first outing and in the last 18 months there’s probably not a body of water in Barren County these two haven’t dropped a line in. On top of their fishing trips, Gordon also picks Chuck up for church each Sunday, and they often share a meal at a local restaurant. Gordon and Chuck spend plenty of time at Gordon’s farm where Chuck not only gets to fish, but also has the chance to ride Gordon’s mule Sam.
Chuck’s grandmother has noticed a difference in her grandson since being matched with a Big Brother. She says Gordon’s influence on Chuck has made him more responsible, more appreciative, and a lot happier than he was in the past. Gordon also states his time with Chuck has been very fulfilling. He noticed right off the bat that Chuck didn’t have very many people in his life that were dependable, and he was determined to be one person Chuck could always count on.
So, what do a 62-year-old man and an 11-year-old boy have in common? The Case Manager asked that very question to “Little Brother” Chuck recently, and this was his reply. “Gordon is not only the best Big Brother ever, but he is also my best friend.”
Apparently men who fish together stay together. And for Gordon and Chuck, that’s right where they want to be.
Give. Advocate. Volunteer. LIVE UNITED™.