When I first began
Athletes for Kids, I waited about 4 months until I got matched with my current
buddy. It was so worth the wait! My buddy and I began a strong friendship right
off the bat. In the past year, I have seen my relationship with her grow so much.
From hanging out at her house, to now going to the park, swimming and getting
Menchies. No matter what we do, time with her always makes my day so much
better. Although we have grown together, both of us have made strides in life
thanks to our mentorship.

My buddy has taught me a lot: how to be kinder, more patient, open to new ideas, and so much more. I’ve also gotten to see, first hand, the impact our friendship has had on my buddy. Little victories, like getting her to learn a new game, all add up! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see inside somebody else’s world. No matter who or what their life looks like, when we spend time getting to know someone else, we see the struggles and blessing in their lives. This has made me a more understanding and less judgmental. Not only I am so lucky that I get to spend time with such an amazing girl and her family. I have been blessed with such a remarkable mentorship and a forever friend.

We love Olivia so much.
More importantly, our daughter loves Olivia so much!

Olivia has been such a
broadener to our daughter’s life, giving her a friend to see weekly. Someone to
grow to know and trust. Someone to play with and to help motivate her to try
new things so she will have the confidence to initiate and join in activities
with her same-aged peers. Someone giving her that glee of being picked up by to
go on an adventure, that's just theirs alone.

I have seen them both
slowly understand and get more comfortable with each other over time and it's
been wonderful to watch. They totally get one another now.. and enjoy every
minute together!

That is what is required
in a relationship: two people devoted to spending time together. They get to
understand one another and make magic and joy for one another. Joy and magic,
that might otherwise not have been experienced by either party. This is true
for all people who don't take chances and who don't put in the time for a
relationship.

Both Olivia and our daughter have benefited from
this shared time equally and this experience of having a friend simply giving
time to a child whom might not otherwise have had one is truly amazing. We are
thankful to the AFK organization that sets up these mentorships so more youth
and more kids with disabilities get to have such an experience and watch the
magic unfold...

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