Jerry Abra is well aware his life could have turned out much differently.
A brother took his own life and two sisters were addicted to drugs. His father was an alcoholic and Abra’s last memory of him was waiting to be picked up for a weekend of fishing. His father never showed, nor did he hear from him ever again.
“Without Rob, I would have gone down the same road,” Abra said, talking about the fate of his siblings.
“From when my dad left … (Rob) was truly the only kind of male influence I had.”
The pair were matched when Abra was 10 or 11 years old and living in Aldergrove, and this was Ross’ first mentorship.
“Once I met Rob, I made a lot of better choices,” Abra said. “I didn’t want to disappoint him because he was such a good guy.”
Abra says that without a doubt, Ross changed his life.
The pair are still in touch and for the past six or seven years, they have golfed together at the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley Golf for Kids Sake tournament.
Next week (Aug. 16) marks the 30th year of the tournament with close to 132 golfers expected to tee off at Redwoods Golf Course.
Joining them in the foursome will be two other ‘Little Brothers’ from Ross’ time with the organization, Justin Pollack and Rich Morris. Pollack is in his mid-30s while Morris is in his mid-40s. They are among the 13 Littles he has mentored since he joined in 1976.
Ross’ involvement with the organization came as a result of wanting to make an impact in someone else’s life, especially since he never knew his father, who passed away when Ross was just seven months old.
“I had a couple of people in my life who played pretty significant parts in my development,” he explained.
“I just wanted to do something for someone else.”
Ross has been involved with the organization for 41 years and has seen the golf tournament grow over that time.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is there are a lot of people out there willing to support the organization,” he said.
In a typical year, the event raises approximately $35,000, making it the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year.
The money is used to fund mentoring programs.
“(It means) making sure we can connect (our Little Brothers and Little Sisters) up in either our community programs or in our in-school programs,” explained Roslyn Henderson, the associate executive director of BBBS Langley.
“(And) not only is the fundraising piece of it to support our programs, it is also a great opportunity to build awareness and talk to people about mentoring, the importance of mentoring and the programs in the community.”