David Rush felt the impacts first-hand as a young man who grew up without the presence of a father figure. He made a vow to one day give back. Little did he know, the story goes full circle:
“I love shoes. I’m a big sneaker-head,” explained Griffin Tyger as he was lacing up on the basketball court at the Boys and Girls Club Musgrave unit.
Opposite of him, stretched Rush, who often laughed about how Griffin was going to “sweep the floor with him.”
“I call him the old man now,” said Griffin. “He hates it, but we trash talk all the time!”
A friendly game of basketball has been something that’s been going on for 6 years now: the hard-court, often a relief from hard-times.
Griffin lost his grandfather at a young age, and has been without his biological father who’s been in prison.
“Without Dave, I would not be where I’m at today. He has touched my life so much.”
“He took a chance with a kid who he heard was a trouble maker, who never listened, and was always doing something wrong. He gave him a chance.”
“He gave me a chance. He’s my dad.”
Griffin’s “dad” just so happens to go by another title: Judge David Rush. A Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Missouri.
“There are hundreds of Griffins out there,” explained Judge Rush. “It can be rather depressing at times to see people 30+ heading to prison for a long time. You often wonder what would have happened if there would have been a Boys and Girls Club, or a mentor in their life.”
Griffin recently made his own pledge to be a mentor: doing his part in a little one-on-one.
“A lot of these kids went through the same things as I did. They don’t have a dad, their home life isn’t the best, and they don’t always have food.
“Coming to the Boys and Girls Club, and having a mentor will change someones life. There is no doubt about it.”