PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Longtime WAVY TV 10 viewers will remember our “Wednesday’s Child” features. Since 1981, our reporters have spotlighted children in need: a foster child wanting a family
to adopt her, or a little boy without a dad in the home, hoping to get a mentor.
In the 40 years since, we’ve featured hundreds of children. Now, we’re trying to find some
to see how they’re doing.
We met 9-year-old Keshara in 2000. Outgoing, confident, and ready to sing at the drop
of a hat.
“And, let’s just journey on…for the night is long…” she sang, in a strong alto-leaning voice.
When she wasn’t singing, Keshara was earning A’s at Tidewater Park Elementary, in
“I’m nice sometimes, but when you make me mad, I’m mean.” And, honest!
Keshara was in a single parent family. Her mother reached out to “Big Brothers
Big Sisters” in hopes they would match Keshara with a mentor.
Keshara was ambitious. “I make good grades.” And, why were good grades
important? “So I can get a college degree. Then I want to go into the Army.”
Her guidance counselor, Jana Drof, hoped an adult would volunteer, one hour a week,
to meet with Keshara, at school. When WAVY’s Don Roberts asked if one hour could make a difference in a child’s life, Drof responded with an emphatic “Yes!”
“Some of the children just need that extra love, that extra affection or help from an
adult can make a big difference,” she added.
If she stuck to her plan, Keshara might be a Colonel in the United States Army right
now. Or did that dream change somewhere along the way? If you know where
Keshara is, please send Don Roberts an email.
“Every time I went to the beach, I just stayed up on the sand,” said 11-year-old Hunter,
back in 2009.
But all that changed after he met Shawn Murray, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard
stationed in Portsmouth.
“He taught me how to swim,” said Hunter, when we met about two years later. By then
the two had been together as a mentor-mentee for nearly four years. They were matched
in the UP Center’s “Team UP” mentoring program.
“You know, now he’s jumping off diving boards,” said Shawn, and not the “baby” ones.
“I can dive down to about 14 feet now,” said Hunter.
“I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Hunter grow up into a teenager and into a young man
right now,” said Shawn, when noting how Hunter’s voice was growing deeper while
the short little boy he met years ago, was now able to look him in the eye.
The smiles nearly turned into frowns when Shawn dropped the bomb about his own
plans. “Unfortunately, my time has come where I have to leave Hampton Roads
and move on to my next assignment in the Coast Guard.”
Hunter promised to visit and take things a big step further. “My main career idea is to go into the Coast Guard like my big brother, Shawn.”
Hunter would be about 22 years old now. And Shawn? Possibly considering life
after the Coast Guard if he stayed.
Do you know how either is doing today, a decade since we last featured them on
WAVY TV 10? Please let us know.
Now, if you want to consider mentoring a child, contact:
- Team UP mentoring at the UP Center (on the Norfolk side of Hampton Roads)
- Big Brothers Big Sisters on the Peninsula