Changing Lives One Dinner at a Time
When Chuck bounds up the stairs to Butler Cottage, the boys run to greet him with hugs and fist bumps.
“I can’t come with you to dinner tonight. I didn’t get my homework done this week,” says one young man.
Chuck assures him that, if he works hard, there will be a spot for him at dinner next week. It’s clear that the relationship between them is honest and trusting — something that only comes from consistency and caring.
Butler Cottage, on our Dobbs Ferry campus, is home to twelve boys in foster care. For many of them, the only constant in their lives has been that change is inevitable. Their sense of home and family is always shifting.
The boys respect and look up to Chuck. He has been volunteering at Children’s Village for 25 years, taking boys out for dinner every Wednesday. The boys look forward to dinner off campus, but more importantly, they look forward to spending time with Chuck.
“I always try to take them to a place we can talk or find something interesting before we eat — sometimes a bookstore or a dollar store. I try to think of one lesson from my life I want to give to the boys, and keep it under two minutes!”
When Chuck walked into our offices in 1993, he never anticipated the impact he would make. All he wanted was to give back at a place where he was needed and could connect. He was — and remains — a humble man, and his goal is always to put the boys first.
We often say at CV that it takes just one consistent and caring adult to transform some of our kids’ lives. When you think of all the boys over the years who Chuck has met, listened to, given advice to, and been a constant for, it’s amazing what an impact he has had.
The boys in Butler love and respect Chuck for being there for them, and they look always look forward to Wednesdays!