"When you feel like it's all bad news in the world, do something."
Chuck Bridgman '79 thought he was going to learn about “all things bourbon” from Joe Head, owner of the Century Bar in Dayton while at a fundraiser five years ago for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Miami Valley. What resulted was a mixture of little and big — a calling to be a youth mentor, for an 8-year-old boy named, Javonte.
Chuck shared his joy of mechanics with Javonte. They built a mini bike together, intertwining ratios and calculations along the way. “Javonte remembers everything and has an amazing knack for doing math in his head,” said Bridgman.
They have also calculated how long a battery-operated helicopter would fly and how oxygen changes to carbon dioxide in the coca cola and mentos experiment. “We also check out the same library book and talk about it the next time we get together.” Each year they also look forward to catching a Bengals game.
Now that his “little” isn’t so little anymore and in junior high, Chuck hopes Javonte can be a CJ Eagle. “He’d be a good fit and CJ would definitely challenge him!
“What I’ve learned about this experience is that you become aware of living in somebody else’s shoes. Transportation is a hold back for him and he’s a teenager who is often hungry. Many basics that a lot of us take for granted.”
Chuck encourages other adults to get involved as a mentor.
“When you feel like it’s all bad news in the world, do something. The commitment does not require a huge amount of time and you get so much out of it.”
Since 1958, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Miami Valley has operated under the belief that every child has the ability to succeed and thrive in life given the opportunity. They make meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, and develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, BB/BS efforts have adapted with the launch of their Big Neighbors Initiative. They are meeting the basic needs of their families by providing meals and delivering prescriptions and other essential items.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Miami Valley website
Published online June 26, 2020