Parents of all nationalities have common goals for their children - they want them to be healthy, happy and well adjusted. One Chinese mother, Madeline Gao, moved to Texas with her only child, Bob. Madeline and Bob moved to Stephenville in 2010 for Madeline to work as a professor of economics at Tarleton State University. Madeline heard about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erath County, and although dealing with a language barrier and many other fears that come with moving to a different country, she wanted Bob to have a Big Brother. The staff she worked with at BBBS said there were many women available, but Bob didn’t need a female role model. He needed, and wished for, a male role model, a big brother, and an American father figure.

It was late November 2010, when Taysha Williams and Treva Wygle were putting together a holiday fundraiser to raise money to help the BBBS Erath County Charter. During a brainstorming meeting with volunteer Luanne Schexnider, it was mentioned they might want to contact the Bluffdale Vineyards about participation in the event. Luanne mentioned that her husband Regi could speak to the owner’s wife who is Chinese. Taysha was always thinking about the “littles” that needed matches and said, “Let me know if you know any guys that speak Chinese.” The planning committee got quiet.

Luanne said, “Regi speaks Chinese, and he is a male.”

Everyone got teary as Taysha explained that Bob was about to age out of the BBBS program, and that his mother was desperate to get a match in place.

The first week in December 2010, Bob met his new Big Brother, Regi Schexnider. Regi was the perfect match for Bob because not only could he teach Bob about hunting, grilling, drinking Dublin Dr Pepper, and being a good Cajun, but having lived in China for four years he was fluent in chopsticks and could speak to Bob in Chinese. This was a positive aspect for Madeline as well. She could communicate with Regi in her native language, and Luanne could help Bob and Madeline with their English.

Madeline and Bob attended First Baptist Church while living in Stephenville. They met many people and made a lot of good friends and memories. Mother and son are moving to Edinburg this summer, where Madeline will work on her Ph.D. at Pan American University. Bob will attend public school, but will seriously miss getting to play football. He plans to visit the Schexniders and other Erath County friends often.

Regi and Bob didn’t miss their opportunity to find a match. They enjoyed planned activities with BBBS and fun times just being together. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erath County can make a positive difference for you, if you are open for a special experience. By being a Big, you too can make a life changing difference to a child in your community.