The Cape Fear Volunteer Group offers a program for at risk youth searching for a positive mentor. The program is called the big buddy system, and it is looking for more volunteers. For 14 year old Blake Leigh, nothing beats a day of fishing in Wrightsville Beach with his big buddy. "I needed a man figure, somebody that I can talk to." said Leigh. That is what Eddie Hardgrove does for Blake. He is a volunteer big buddy for the Cape Fear Volunteer Group. It is two hours a week that he gets to spend with Blake, someone who has become more than just his little buddy. Hardgrove said "It's just great to have a youth that I can spend time with, and be a positive role model." Hardgrove is a success story himself. He too had a big buddy when he was growing up. "At a young age, my father passed away in a car crash, and from that I had a big buddy from the program, so its great now that I'm able to give back to another youth." Blake has been Hardgrove's little buddy for four years now which is enough time for their relationship to have blossomed into a true friendship. "Our favorite thing Blake and I do is to go fishing, but we go out to dinner together. There are big buddy planned events that we go to also." said Hardgrove. For more information on how to get involved, visit capefearvolunteercenter.org.
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