Chuck Reaves & Cory Otte
In 1982, Chuck Reaves volunteered to become a Big Brother. As a teacher with the Pulaski County Special School District, Chuck saw the need to help children. Twenty years later, Chuck was named the 2002 Big Brother of the Year for both Central Arkansas and for the state of Arkansas. At the time, Chuck was matched with Cory Otte, his 11th Little Brother.
As a child, Cory lived with his mother and grandmother. Cory’s father lived out of state and was not part of Cory’s life. In 1997, Chuck and Cory were matched in the program – a match that continued until Cory graduated from high school. According to Chuck, “Cory was a good kid and very well-mannered. Both he and his mother took the program very seriously.”
Chuck and Cory spent time together participating in activities two or three times each month. They enjoyed going out to eat, attending Big Brothers Big Sisters events and Arkansas Travelers’ baseball games. Since Cory loves to read, they spent quite a bit of time at the bookstore.
Cory is also very good in math and Chuck beamed as he said, “Cory talks math like it is another language.” Cory didn’t just talk math to Chuck, though – he confided in him on many issues. “Cory knew he could talk to me, and even if I didn’t have the answers, I wanted him to know I cared.”
What was Chuck’s biggest reward serving as a Big Brother for the past 21 years? Knowing he has helped young people by building their self-esteem and by simply talking to them as a friend.
Cory graduated from high school in May 2003, so the match ended, but not before Cory sent a poignant letter to his Big Brother. He wrote, “I feel like I am a better person than I would have been, if I never had this special friend who has always been there for me. He shows me I amount to something, and he is always there for me. I have never had a chance to be around my dad or brothers, and being with Chuck has helped fill the void…. I hope to one day make a difference in some young person’s life as Chuck has done in mine.”
Cory enlisted in the U.S. Air Force this spring and is currently pursuing his dream of a military career. Chuck was recently matched with his 12th Little Brother.