Walt Windley and Kezhon Boulware enjoy their Friday mornings together at York Chester Middle School.
The mentor and mentee have met weekly since October, and it takes just a few minutes with them to see how much they enjoy one another.
They explain that most weeks, they play games like Uno or Battleship, and talk about classes. But, Kezhon says, sometimes he is the one offering advice. “I’m a ladies man,” says the 7th grader.
“He wants to find me a wife,” Windley explains.
Kezhon clarifies that really, he’s looking out for the both of them: “It’s so I can call her my other mom. There was going to be one, but it turns out she was getting married. I tried my best.”
Windley says he mentors so that other children can have what he enjoyed growing up in Gastonia.
“This was a community that invested in me as a kid, and as an adult to be able to give back and invest in the community myself, that’s really appealing,” he said.
Now a hospice chaplain in the Charlotte area, Windley takes time from his work schedule to visit with Kezhon each week. He says the time is well worth it.
“It’s my lunch break. Forty-five minutes, one day a week is not a whole lot of time,” Windley says.
Kezhon considers it time well spent, also. He explained what Windley means to him:
“To me, he’s fun. I can tell he loves me. For me, growing up I never had a dad. He’s like a father figure to me. I always have fun with him. I get to hang out with somebody I love.”