Cande Flores has worked with Abilene Fire Department since 1992 and in 2018 he entered in his role as Fire Chief. Having heard about Big Brothers Big Sisters a few years ago from some of his fellow firefighters who were Big Brothers themselves, Cande applied to be a Big. “I wanted to be involved because I felt that this was a great opportunity for me to give back to the community. I have been very fortunate in my life and I have been blessed with a great family and support structure. I wanted to share my experiences and help guide someone who may have come from an environment where these items were lacking,” Cande shared.
Cande enjoys football and baseball, but also enjoys sharing music and theater with his four kids. Soon after his initial interview, Cande was matched with Jeremiah who enjoys being just as active as Cande. Each week Cande visits Jeremiah at his school during lunchtime and they often take their lunch to an empty classroom to talk. Cande truly believes that Jeremiah is a great kid. He especially enjoys seeing Jeremiah get excited whenever they talk about fishing or karate, as Jeremiah is involved in both, and Cande loves how his Little is always smiling.
When Cande first met Jeremiah, it was in the cafeteria at school. Cande recounted, “he was initially very quiet but I knew we would get along just fine. He quickly eased up and we spent the rest of the lunch period discussing his hobbies and getting to know each other. He is a big fan of fishing and LOVES to talk about it.”
One key moment in their match so far happened as Cande was checking in to the front office to visit his Little. While signing in, Cande overheard someone receive a stern talking to in the next office and as he exited into the hallway he met Jeremiah who had just stepped out of that office. Since then, Cande and Jeremiah have had many open conversations about staying out of trouble and Cande has been intentional about guiding his Little toward more positive behaviors. But Jeremiah’s not the only one growing through his relationship with his Big.
For Cande, “being involved in BBBS has helped me evolve as a coach and mentor. I have participated in these roles often as a supervisor and as a father, but this is a different experience and I am learning new ways to approach my Little.” For anybody who is thinking of becoming a Big, Cande’s advice would be to just “Do it! This has been such a great experience and I look forward to remaining involved with my Little as he grows.”