West Chesterfield foster father dedicated to giving young African American men a loving home

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Over the past 20 years, a West Chesterfield foster parent has given 15 young men a loving home and a sense of family.

Nelson Willis has been a foster father for 21 years. He said he instills family values into each young man that stays in his home.

"The thing I really stress with them is morals, character, conduct, responsibility, and what it means to be a person that society feels good about you and you feel good about yourself," Willis said.

Willis has focused on raising young African American men and giving them a chance to achieve their full potential.

"I see the possibility. Maybe there's a doctor in that group. Maybe there's a lawyer in that group. Maybe there's a business man in that group. Maybe there's a president in that group," Willis said "We don't know, but we give them the basic skills that they need, and the tools they need to be productive even if it's just washing dishes; be a good dishwasher."

"He has a passion for being there for kids. He has a passion for providing the full support they need, so they can be in a loving home and a permanent home," said Dan Kotowski, the president & CEO of ChildServ.

Willis has raised each and every child as his own, and that is something his son Shawndale Broadnax said he's grateful for.

"Mr. Willis made you feel like you were his own," Broadnax said. "Knowing that you got somebody that will never give up on you is a feeling that words can't even explain. A foster parent like Mr. Willis is rare."

Willis said he plans to be a foster parent for the rest of his life.

"Until I can't do it, whatever that may be. I know I'm going live until 107," Willis said. "There are a lot of kids waiting on Nelson Willis cause I'm waiting on them."

Willis said he saw the need and helped and that is something he wants to be remembered for.

If you'd like to volunteer or make the commitment to being a foster parent, visit ChildServ's website.
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