PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Longtime WAVY TV 10 viewers may remember a special report we aired weekly, called “Wednesday’s Child.”
Starting back in 1981, our reporters featured children in foster care who were waiting for adoption, as well as children in single-parent families hoping to be matched with adult volunteer mentors.
WAVY morning show anchor Don Roberts took over the reporting duties from 1991 to about 2015. During that time he featured dozens, if not hundreds of children. Well, due to a variety of reasons, we stopped the reports. But, if you were a follower of Wednesday’s Child, or, if you were featured in the reports, you may be pleased to know “Wednesday’s Child” is back.
We begin with an update on a mentor and mentee Don first met in 1991 at Langely Air Force Base. Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) had rounded up about a dozen “bigs” and “littles,” as the mentors and mentees were called, to have a little fun at the bowling alley at Langley Air Force Base.
11-year-old Jemal was in a single-parent family. Sergeant Kevin volunteered to mentor him through BBBS.
At that time Kevin said, “I know Jemal might tell you he enjoys the activities, but I enjoy them just as well.” Jemal enjoyed the fun times, too, but, when it was time to take care of business, “He helps me out with my school work.”
This past summer, Kevin called Don Roberts. He was getting ready to retire from the Air Force after a 26 year career and he had great news about his relationship with Jemal; they were still buddies.
“It’s just been unbelievable to think that we’ve known each other and kept in touch with each other for the past 20 years,” said Jemal.
Jemal also served his country in the Army and career Airman Kevin was cool with that, “Yeah, I was a little nervous at first because I wanted him to join the Air Force, you know what I mean, yeah, no offense to the Army, ha, ha.”
Jemal completed tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He married and had a child. That was good news enough, but they had even more. Jemal followed in Kevin’s footsteps and became a mentor. His mentee is 15-year-old Corey of Hampton.
“It’s been an amazing experience. Jemal is absolutely amazing. He’s been a good father figure. We usually just hang out, do whatever is around town, go watch a movie…” said Corey.
Corey is a fortunate young man. He was matched with a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters, Peninsula. That agency, along with “Team Up Mentoring” in the Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach area, has a waiting list of hundreds of children, all- hoping to be matched with adult volunteer mentors.
“I’m very thankful for that… and I think every guy my age would be thankful as well (to have a mentor),” said Corey.
To find out more about mentoring in Hampton Roads, here are some contacts:
- Big Brothers Big sisters Peninsula and Southside (757) 369-6824
- Team Up Mentoring (Up Center- Norfolk, Virginia Beach) (757) 397-2121, ext 337
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