Kind Man Takes Children Without Fathers On Free Group Fishing Trips; Lets Them Know They Are Loved

A kind man in Lakeland, Florida, has taken more than 1500 underprivileged children on free fishing trips.

Will Dunn grew up in Miami, and had a difficult time at a rough school while growing up. He said he was a “rough kid” who got into a lot of trouble, even one time being shot, but he survived and recovered. Yet of his childhood, he fondly remembers the times when his dad would take him out fishing on his boat.

“I grew up in a rough school. I was a pretty rough kid when I was their age,” Will shared. “I still remember days when I went out [fishing] with my dad. When you’re on the water, you can forget about your problems and just appreciate the moment. I still carry the lessons he taught me. He told me that fishing isn’t about what you catch, it’s about the memories you make.”

After Will grew up and had three children of his own, he had a neighbor who had a 8-year-old son whose father wasn’t present in his life. He would notice the boy often storm in and out of the house next door, and he was concerned for him.

“I wondered what was going on in his life, so one day, I decided to ask him,” Will said. “He told me that he didn’t have a father, and I realized there might be something I could do for him.”

Will asked the young boy’s mother if he could start taking him fishing, and she agreed. After many fishing trips, he began to notice a wonderful change in the boy.

“I just started taking him fishing… and I just saw what it did for him… It was like a joy seeing this little boy catch a fish that he had never caught in his life. I wanted to start doing it for other boys and young ladies,” Will shared.

Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing

Will began inviting other underprivileged children and teens in his community on fishing trips, and the more he realized what a peaceful and healing difference it made for these children, the more it mattered to him.

Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing

“A lot of them have never been on the water before, never held a fishing rod, never caught a fish, and it blesses me every day, that I can wake up every morning at 54-years-old, and be able to take these kids out and show them a life experience and show them that somebody loves them,” Will shared. “We just have a real good time.”

Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing

After a few years of funding the free fishing trips from his own savings, Will started a nonprofit called Take A Kid Fishing.

“Take a Kid Fishing is dedicated to enhancing the lives of underprivileged and fatherless kids through mentoring and fishing excursions that are geared and dedicated to their future,” his website explains. “On these excursions, we educate the kids by teaching them life skills and responsibilities through fishing. Once they grasp the concept of fishing it enables them to learn patience, teamwork, and how to relax, think and not make rash decisions. Fishing also helps show them to support each other whether they win or lose (catch a fish or not).”

Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing
Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing

Many of the children who join Will’s fishing trips come from the foster system.

“They’d been through a lot and they’d seen a lot, and their lives were difficult,” Will said. “But when they were fishing, all of that faded away.”

Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing

11-year-old Jaden doesn’t have a father in his life, and shared that he feels free when he comes on the fishing trips.

“You just get like this feeling of freedom when you do it,” Jaden said. “It’s so special to be out here. Will has helped me to grow by taking me fishing. I hope he knows I mean it when I say, ‘Thank you.’”

Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing

Cameron Delong has been on many fishing trips with Will, and thinks of him like a dad.

“Will to me is like my father. He’s always there for me if I need something. He’s a great man,” Cameron said with a smile. “He showed me that you should give back to the community, and show respect to other people, and bring them out fishing too.”

Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing

Tye Harriell was living in a children’s home when he first came on one of Will’s fishing trips.

“I was living in a children’s home, and they invited us to go fishing on this boat, teaching us.” Tye Harriell said. “He’s got a real good heart. He cares for people a lot. He taught me patience, because you gotta be patient when you’re catching a fish. It takes time.”

Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing

“It can change your life in a lot of ways, just having someone there for you.”

Photo credit: Take A Kid Fishing

During the past 18 years, Will has given over 1500 underprivileged children the opportunity to learn how to fish, and ultimately, to discover the joy of the outdoors.

When asked what his reward is, he shared that he just wants to be a light for children in need.

“If I could just be a light for one kid… it’s worth it all…” he said.


You are Loved.

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