Rylan and Buddy

LWHS Mentor Rylan and buddy

This past year and a half have been an incredible experience. I cherish every moment I get to spend with my buddy whether we are outside, inside, or on Zoom learning about each other. Seeing his growth as a person inspires me to do better. The gratitude and appreciation that he shows every day gives me a great sense of perspective on my own life. I am grateful for the relationship I have and for the AFK community as a whole. I look forward to every interaction with my buddy an hope to continue making an impact.

Buddy Parents

Our son is an 18-year-old with Autism. Living in this world with autism is hard. He can’t talk to his classmates or express himself effectively; he gets overwhelmed by common sights and sounds; he struggles to understand his own emotions and impulses.

When our son met his mentor Rylan through AFK, none of us knew how much it would open up his world. Rylan spends every Saturday with our son, despite his busy schedule at school and basketball games and practices on the weekends. He’s always super engaging with our son. He does those activities which are fun and motivating, but also pushes him to try new things. For example, it’s not an easy task to get our son to outside for a walk, but Rylan was able to manage it!

Whenever Rylan hangs out with our son, he is always totally involved and makes our son feel like he matters. He answers millions of text messages from him and helps him to ease anxiety and resolve conflicts. This helps our son to broaden his experiences and social skills. Rylan is positive, patient, and kind — exactly what’s needed by an autistic kid learning how to navigate a confusing world.

When our son had a birthday party with seven of his friends with special needs, Rylan made the time to come. It brought our son indescribable joy to spend that day with his great friend and mentor. We are forever grateful for the kindness, love, and responsibility that Rylan has shown to our son. Their relationship is very meaningful. It has built up his confidence and helped him navigate many challenging times throughout high school and Covid lockdowns.

Thank you, Rylan, and thank you AFK for making this great mentor relationship happen!

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