Jake and Buddy

Jake and Mason One

My first year of friendship with my buddy has been amazing and I could not have asked for a better mentoring experience. Especially during quarantine, my buddy brightens my day whenever I see him. We have had to shift from in-person experiences like playing ping pong, pool, marbles and just having conversations, to FaceTime activities like sharing knock-knock jokes, playing "Would you rather?" and Family Feud. I enjoy every minute.

When I first joined the Athletes for Kids program, I wanted to make a difference in the life of my future buddy. What I didn't realize at the time was that my relationship with my buddy would change my life as well. I have become better at time management and more compassionate overall. I love watching my buddy grow in every aspect of his life and I am  so lucky to be at his side. Being with my buddy has taught me a lot about myself as well, and I'm sure that we both will continue to grow in the future.

I'm so thankful to have such an awesome buddy. I can honestly say that my friendship with him is one of my most valued. I truly look forward to growing alongside him during my Senior year, and I can't wait to make more memories!

My wife always says that Jake is our son’s angel! The AFK program has been so amazing, but the more amazing part is how meaningful the relationship with Jake is to our son. We are so happy and grateful for the opportunity for our son to develop a relationship and spend time with such a compassionate young man.

Having a mentor like Jake that he can look up to and learn from has been such a boon for our son. We have been continuously pleased and surprised to receive weekly postcards when they are unable to meet and gifts on special occasions. These extra gestures of kindness, generosity of spirit and consideration have continued through the course of their friendship, and especially now during the quarantine Jake has been diligent in coordinating almost daily FaceTime calls.

It’s difficult for us to properly express how grateful we are for the time that the two of them have spent together and for the future friendship that they will enjoy! Through Jake’s interactions with our son we also get a glimpse of how much his parents love him and how their love overflows to our son.

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