When a young Chapel Hill boy spent his afternoons in the early 1980s at The Pump House on Franklin Street, battling one particular college student in the arcade game of Galaga, neither was thinking about role models or mentorship. They were simply two competitive males who enjoyed competition. Years later, when the boy grew up to be a police officer, he saw that young people having too much time on their hands could sometimes lead them into trouble. Intrigued when he heard about Volunteers for Youth and its work with young people, he joined the organization’s Board of Directors in the late 1990s.
Chris Blue, now the Chief of Police for the town of Chapel Hill, remembers what drew him to the organization. “I first joined the VFY Board after a co-worker told me of the great work being done by VFY with our young people… some of whom may have found their way into trouble without the efforts of VFY’s programming. As a young police officer who cared deeply about Chapel Hill, I knew that I wanted to be part of that important work. With the exception of a one-year hiatus a few years back, I have been an enthusiastic Board member ever since! In my position, I have seen, first hand, the value of strong role models in the lives of young people. And, I have seen far too many cases where the absence of a positive influence has contributed to dire consequences resulting for a young person. VFY has been filling the void for the young people in our community for 30 years. There is no more important work than that.”
No one can know if the college student whom Blue battled over those long-ago games of Galaga had any influence on the successful path Blue has traveled. The impact of Volunteers for Youth mentors is equally hard to gauge but we do know that many young people remember their mentors for life. Blue himself will always recall what a fierce competitor that college student was in the arcade and on the basketball court where he ended up making a name for himself. The college student that the future chief of police contested in Galaga? None other than Michael Jordan.
Category: 30 Years