“Yeah it’s pretty wild, it’s pretty wild,” chuckles Ted Todd when he describes his 3rd and 4th grade Sunday School class. The class is made up of 13 kids, mostly boys. He continues, “But I really enjoy being with kids. I really like helping people.”
This is one reason Ted decided to become a mentor with Aliquippa Impact. He learned about the mentorship program 5 years ago when he joined a bible study at Crestmont Alliance Church. Ted was invited to the study by Nick Lagios, Ted’s boss at Drever International furnace company and also the leader of the study. During one of the studies, Nick’s wife, Norma, an Aliquippa Impact board member, asked Ted if he would consider becoming a mentor. She knew that Ted was good with kids. After some prayer and consideration, Ted accepted Norma’s invitation.
For the past 3 years Ted has mentored Curtis Flowers, now an 8th grader at Aliquippa Jr./Sr. High School. When asked what Curtis’ favorite classes are Ted laughs. “Well, he doesn’t have any favorite classes at school. He really does not like school. But that’s something we are working on-his mom and I, people from his youth group and cohort. We are all encouraging him.”
Curtis may not like school, but he is very passionate about football. He is on the 8th grade Little Quips team, which won the Valley Championship this year. Ted says, “He’s really proud of it-the sweat shirt and the jacket-he’s really proud of all of that.” Curtis’ passion for football has had a positive impact on his schooling. Ted explains, “It really helped him to be on that team. It’s acting as an encouragement for him to first do well in school so he passes and can go on to be a Freshman next year and play Freshman Football.”
When Ted is not cheering on Curtis at football games, the two do a variety activities together. They cook dinner at Ted’s apartment, go to the movies, walk around the mall, and take bike rides. During the week Ted lives in Center Township to be close to his workplace, but on weekends he returns to his home in Ohio where he lives with his wife, Becky. Every two months Ted brings Curtis with him to Ohio. There Curtis helps Ted with odds and ends around the house and barn. Working with Curtis is one way Ted hopes to teach him responsibility. He says, “Life is not easy, it is not given to you. You have to work for it. So that’s what I encourage him to do.” The more time Curtis spends with Ted, the more he learns. Ted says, “He’s getting more friendly with the horses and he loves the cats. He’s developing into a hard working kid.”
One of Ted’s favorite memories is taking his father and Curtis to a Pittsburgh Pirates game in the summer of 2014. Ted says, “During the 7th or 8th inning Pittsburgh was getting beat and the game was really boring. My dad was falling asleep and Curtis was not too excited. I decided, ‘Okay we’re going to leave early. We’ll beat the crowd.’ We got two blocks away and turned the corner. Fireworks went off. Boy, I tell you, the noise really scared Curtis. He took of running. I said, ‘What’s wrong Curtis?’ He said, ‘I didn’t know what it was. I thought I was getting shot at.” Ted told Curtis the noise was fireworks going off because the Pirates had made a home run. Ted chuckles,“To see him take off running when he heard those fireworks, oh it was funny, it was really funny. I just laughed.” On the way home Ted turned on the radio. The Pirates had won. Ted told his dad and Curtis, “That’s it guys! Next time we go to a ball game we are going to stay until it’s over.”