I have been a part of Athletes for Kids since September of last year and meeting with my buddy is always one of the highlights of my week. Every week we play basketball - lots and lots of basketball. Rain or shine, I can always count on an intense game of hoops on the court behind his house or on the neighborhood court. No matter how hard I try to get my buddy to shoot a lay-up or a free throw, he doesn’t like any shot inside the three-point line which served him well at Liberty’s Unified Basketball game. He rocked the stands when he drained Liberty’s first two baskets - both deep threes - and it was awesome. When we are forced inside due to exhaustion or frozen hands, we whip up games of Wii Basketball or UNO. In August, we got to go to the Seattle Seahawks Training Camp. My buddy especially enjoyed the kickoff return practice and he enthusiastically joined all the Seahawk's chants and cheers. We even got an autograph from Jamal Adams.
Athletes for Kids is the most rewarding experience I have ever had. I love seeing my buddy’s huge smile when I walk in the door and his joy when we do our secret handshake. Spending time with him has made me realize how important it is to take a step back and enjoy small moments in life and this is an especially good reminder during stressful weeks of school. It makes my day when he spots me across the lunchroom and yells BENNN!! or when he cheers me down the home stretch of the Liberty track. I love his enthusiasm, his positivity, and I am lucky my buddy is my friend.
It is impossible to adequately express what Ben's mentorship has meant to our son. He asks almost every day if Ben is coming. Ben has been patient, kind, and dedicated to spending time with our son and it has made such an impact for us and for him. In a world where friendships outside of family are difficult, Ben has been our son's friend and his activity director. They play basketball together almost every week in addition to tossing a football, playing Uno, and a little Mario as well. It has been an amazing experience to have someone close to his own age spending time with him. Going to the Seahawks' training camp was Ben's suggestion, and our son loved it! Not only was it a chance to watch the players up close, but it gave our son a chance to hang out with Ben at an activity. Ben is everything a mentor should be a good student, a strong athlete, and he has a good heart. We are so thrilled with what the mentorship has done for our son! Thanks so much to this program and to Ben!