My son and I took off walking this morning not knowing we were about to participate in the Nathaniel’s Hope, Make ‘M Smile event at Lake Eola. Make ‘m Smile is a community festival that celebrates kids with special needs (VIP kids) and their families and features a Buddy Stroll where VIP families are “buddied up” with people from around the community for a stroll around Lake Eola.

Instead of spending the morning at the playground, we put smiles on the faces of three young men as we all strolled around the Lake visiting the various booths. Our VIPs were Tyrone (30), Vladamir (30) and Meeko (22). They were very excited to be participating for the first time and eager to fill their goodie bags. Such amazing individuals, they were very appreciative that we spent two hours with them in the Florida heat.

What a fantastic event! From the face painting, music, train rides, balloons, characters, animals, free food and water (thank you CiCi’s Pizza, Chick-Fil-A, Kiwanas, Publix etc.) down to the information booths. Despite the 90+ degree temperatures, everyone had smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts! Isn’t it amazing how one little stroll can turn into such a heartfelt journey!

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