Today was the first buddy event of the year. My buddy partner, Preet, and I finally got to meet our buddy, Katie! I was a little nervous going into the event because of the age gap (Katie is 25 and both Preet and I are 15), but right when I met Katie, our ages and all anxiety around them seemed to melt away. Katie didn’t speak very much, which is something I had to adapt to. In the beginning, it was hard to know what Katie wanted to do; but over the course of the event, Preet and I were able to tell by the gestures and faces she was making. At one point in the event, we were making our way to the photo booth area to take some pictures when Katie suddenly stopped walking and stood staring at the other teens taking pictures with buddies. I wasn’t completely sure what she wanted to do at that point, so I simply began to hold her hand and told her we could all take pictures together when she was ready to. Not long after, Katie started to make her way to the photo booth. I didn’t really think much of me choosing to hold her hand until later on in the event when she began to reach for my hand at any moment of unsurity. This helped me realize how big of an impact touch can have on people. In this case, with my buddy, it brought a sense of safety to our relationship. I am so excited to build this friendship and get to know Katie (and Preet!) even more throughout this year.