This weekend we had our 2nd buddy event at Festival in the Park, a local arts festival in Charlotte. I had a blast reconnecting with my buddy Weslyn, and buddy partner, Katherine. Throughout the day we visited different product tents, tried some amazing food, and played on the playground. The thing I loved most about this event is that we were out in the community, spreading the mission of PFO. All 86 of us were wearing our orange t-shirts (thank you, Action Plus!) as we infiltrated the park. I think teenagers and children with disabilities being seen laughing and playing with one another at such a prominent social event in our city sends a powerful message of acceptance. Not to mention, it negates a whole plethora of stereotypes. One lady with her son stopped and asked me what group we were from. I introduced her to my buddy and told her about the buddy program and how we give teens the safe space to transform and all about my personal experience and how PFO has shown me how to be happy again; I told her all this and more for as long as she would listen. I connected with a complete stranger in an entirely articulate and vulnerable way, all because of the passion PFO has ignited within me. As I’m sitting here typing this, I realize how much I have grown and wow, I am so grateful!