Meet Mark and Andy
About a year ago, I joined a gym named Albany Crossfit. Every year they hold an event partnered with Best Buddies. This event allows buddies to come into the gym and complete workouts with the gym members. When I first heard about this event I didn’t know what to expect. “How are the buddies going to be able to complete these grueling workouts? These are the same workouts I struggle with every day,” I thought to myself. However, on the day of the event all those doubts went away and what I saw absolutely shocked me. The buddies were not only doing the workouts but they were excelling at them. This was the moment I knew I wanted to be part of the Citizens program and see what it was all about.
The days leading up to my match meeting I was thinking to myself, “What do I do if my buddy Andy doesn’t like me?” I didn’t want to be a disappointment to the program or to Andy. The moment Andy sat down and we introduced ourselves all my nerves disappeared. We talked about our hobbies, our families, and our likes and dislikes. I came to realize that we have a lot more in common than I ever imagined. Andy and his parents made me feel right at home during the meeting and I knew this program was the correct decision for me.
For our first hang out we went to a partner workout at the gym and Andy was my workout partner. He broke out his signature NSYNC dance moves during the middle of the workout to help keep us motivated! Besides going to the gym, we have gone on adventures to the aquarium, hung out at the Farmers Market, gone bowling, and we even went to Indian Ladder Farms. This past Fourth of July Andy came over and met my family at a house party I held. They fell in love with him and still ask about him every day. Andy’s parents, Nancy and Larry, had a BBQ at their house for my girlfriend and me, where we got a chance to meet more of Andy’s family. Andy has become a part of my life and a part of the lives of everyone around me. He is always smiling, joking, and laughing. His upbeat attitude is something I wish I could have more of. I am very grateful for the opportunity Best Buddies has given me to build this relationship with Andy and his family.
What makes Best Buddies so special is that peer buddies like Mark Mossman are people who choose to be involved. They want to make a difference. We have seen first-hand how true this is. It is a win-win situation for both because each is impacted in a positive way through their friendship. It is heartwarming for us as parents to see the joy on Andy’s face when he is with his friends at Best Buddies’ events. It is wonderful to see him getting out and involved in activities just like any other young adult.
–Nancy Hooley, Andy’s mother