Impact Stories

Age is just a number

For more than 40 years, Big Brother Buford Baker has been making a BIG difference in the lives of children in our communities. Since he first signed up to be a volunteer all those years ago, he has been involved in more than 10 long-term matches in virtually every program offered through the Agency. Thanks to his dedication and his gentle guidance, many of his long-term matches – Little Brother Matthew and Little Brother Justin, to name a few – have gone on to graduate from high school and lead successful, happy lives as young adults.

Now at the tender age of 87, Big Brother Buford shows no signs of slowing down. He was matched with his most recent Little Brother, Jared, in the Lunch Buddy program in October 2008 and they quickly established a friendship based on fun and respect. The bond that they forged was so strong that they opted to make the transition into a Community-Based program in May 2013. They recently made the transition into the newly-established Big Futures program, where Jared – now 16 years old – can hone the skills needed to pursue his dream of a career in the military.

“I just like everything about Buford,” said Little Brother Jared. “He’s just kind all around and he always makes me happy.”

Buford, a Korean War veteran and an employee at Magnavox for more than 30 years until his retirement in 1985, exhibits an unprecedented zest for life and service to others. In addition to his long-term service to Big Brothers Big Sisters, he also served as a foster parent to teenage boys for 11 years and was a member of the ISC student exchange program for over a decade.

When questions are raised about Buford’s health and well-being, he simply replies: “My health is good because of kids. They keep me young.” Big Brother Buford’s efforts and dedication to the BBBS mission reminds us that mentoring at any age can have a BIG impact on the life of a child in need. In the end, age is just a number – not a condition.

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