Payton and Buddy


I joined Athletes for Kids in the middle of sophomore year, and it has been one of my favorite parts of high school. I remember when writing my mentor bio, I tried my best to be extremely detailed because I really wanted to connect with my buddy. I remember writing about my favorite movies and books, and how I loved all kinds of crafts, and my favorite artists. I wrote about how I’m imaginative, spirited, and love bringing joy to others lives. Upon the first meeting with my buddy, I knew I had found a lifelong friend. She and I connected on almost everything from my mentor bio and she was just as passionate and imaginative as me. Now being friends with my buddy for almost two years, I can truly say she is one of the coolest people I have ever met. Every time we spend time together is like a new adventure and it’s been amazing seeing her grow since we first met. Knowing I have made an impact in her life means the world to me, and I’m so proud of her for all she’s accomplished. One of my favorite moments with my buddy was seeing her perform as one of the leads in a town play. Her confidence and passion for the character was truly inspiring and witnessing something so important to her was eternally special. I feel as though I have learned more from her than anyone else and I am so excited to see the person she becomes in the future. I am so thankful to AFK for giving me the opportunity to meet such a wonderful human being, whom I will be friends with forever. I’m excited to watch her grow and change as a person and continue to teach her as I grow alongside her.

Mentee Parent

Everything has been going SO well with the girls. It has been such a joy to watch their friendship grow, and Payton is truly a gift in our daughter’s life. Payton is SO organized, always checks in with me to schedule their time together (with 3 kids it can be daunting to carve out the oh-so-important Big Kid time between those two and Payton is very patient and understanding and flexible, always. And she is SO GENEROUS with her time and always gives her full attention to our daughter when they are together.)

I continue to be amazed at how perfect their match is. Their temperaments are so very similar, they share SO many interests, they are even both bothered by the same types of things.... sometimes they even make the same facial expressions (although I'm pretty sure our daughter may be copying her favorite person. 🙂 ) I told Payton it would not surprise me at all if when they were adults they wrote and directed movies together.

Tyson and I love and appreciate Payton also and will always support her in life, no matter what and consider her family - we are ALL crying that she will have to go away to college! BUT -, we are immensely proud of her. She is an amazing, one-in-a-million young human being and we can't wait to see what she does in the next chapter of her life.

All to say - thank you so much for working so hard to provide this program for both the mentors and their buddies and families. There really are no words to describe how impactful it is. Our daughter met Payton when she was 10 - and she will turn 13 in April and Payton has been with her every step of the way. All those big transitions that happen in a kid's life between ages 10 and 13 went more smoothly because our daughter had Payton's friendship. I can think of no greater gift.

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