|Arthur Wilson and Cliff Clarke|
The campus pastor at Huntington University, Arthur Wilson, knows the value and even the necessity of having a strong figure in your life to serve as a guide and role model. While he now works as a pastor at the small Christian university in Huntington, Ind., there was a time in his life when he needed to benefit from the kind of guidance he now offers his students.
Arthur grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind. without a father, raised by his mother. She came to understand the importance of Arthur having a positive male role model in his life. Through a project that focused on African-American youth, called Project Mentor, Wilson was directed to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, where he would eventually be matched with Cliff Clarke.
As a young African-American professional with multiple degrees to his name, Clarke held a position of good standing in the community. Through their interaction and time spent together, Clarke helped to show Wilson that life had more to offer him than drugs, gangs and other questionable activities.
Quoted in a recruitment brochure for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana after their match ended, Wilson summed up the experience and impact of mentoring.
“Life without a father is very hard,” Wilson says. “I could have chosen a lot of other ways to go. Cliff taught me a lot of things about being a man. When I look at Cliff, I see a successful man, and I realize that one day I, too, can be successful.”
The pair would visit colleges, go out to restaurants, watch basketball games on television and simply spend time with one another. Through all that, according to Wilson, over the course of their match, he learned from Clarke about how to grow up to be a respectable young man.
Wilson’s work as the campus pastor at Huntington University, as well as his responsibility to his family, have him struggling to find enough time in the day. However, someday, Wilson says, he plans to join Big Brothers Big Sisters, to serve as a mentor to a Little Brother and to commit to being a part of his life.