Arden and buddy

Near the end of my junior year, one of my baseball teammates approached me about joining Athletes for Kids. This program pairs high school athletes with students with disabilities. I had never heard of it before, but I could not pass on such an incredible opportunity. I will forever be grateful my teammate introduced me to the program because it has taught me so much about myself and the lives of others.

My buddy, who is also a senior, is the student I mentor. I began spending time with him during the summer, and we are now close friends. We often spend our time discussing sports and theorizing about upcoming Marvel movies. Video games, like Super Mario Party and NBA 2K19, also consume a large portion of our time together. My buddy has beat me time and time again despite my efforts to improve. When possible, we enjoy grabbing a bite to eat or watching the newest superhero movie in theaters.

My friendship with my buddy has opened my eyes to the challenges most people never face. Although I may be his mentor, my perspective of the world has drastically changed, and I am learning so much more than I ever could have hoped for.

Although my son and Arden only met this past summer, their relationship has quickly developed into a very solid friendship. Arden has been fantastic about spending time with our son every week and our son always looks forward to their visits. They have occasionally gone out for lunches and dinners together and to see a couple of movies. My son plans to cheer on Arden at some of his IHS baseball games this Spring. He mostly loves to play a wide variety of video games with Arden and he likes the fact that he can have genuine conversations with him. As parents we have seen wonderful growth in our son’s social skills with a peer. He says he always has a really fun time hanging out with Arden and he is hopeful that they can continue their friendship once Arden heads off to college in the Fall.