Violet and I graduated from Bolder Options! We spent the past year meeting once a week (unless I was traveling for more than a week at a time) to exercise, try new food, and attend Bolder Options activities. When I first met Violet, she was having seizures daily and could not run for more than five seconds at a time. Violet spent the first half of the year working with medical professionals to get the right balance of medications to stop her seizures. Part way through the year, Violet ran a 25 minute mile. By the end of the year, she ran a 15 minute mile. I have had so much fun over the past year watching her as she has matured and gotten healthy.
Violet and I at Bolder Options Graduation
We graduated from the program with Violet’s sister and her mentor, along with 15 other pairs. Each pair had a turn to come up to the front and speak about the impact of the other person on their life. Violet said the sweetest things about me and our coordinator, Megan.
A couple days before the graduation, I had asked Violet what I should say about her, and all she told me was, “you should rhyme.” So I quickly wrote a poem and shared it with the group at graduation:
I want you to meet Violet, my dear young friends.She wants me to rhyme to celebrate our year’s end.
Now, Violet is the true wordsmith of our pair.
She’s a rhymer, rapper, and joker extraordinaire.
I will do my best to live up to expectations,
But, I can’t measure up to Violet’s imagination.
The first time we met, I knew Vi would be a treat;
She wrapped her arms round me and smiled oh so sweet.
I thought, “Who is this lovely lady with the sparkling eyes?”
To meet my new mentee was a wonderful surprise.
In the beginning, we spent time learning to run,
Doing body weights, and taking in Bolder fun.
We handed out Gu to marathoners in the fall,
And watched college racers at Minnesota hit the wall.
I learned all about the group Mindless Behavior,
And Violet thinks of Princeton as her cherished savior.
But, I was worried ‘bout Vi ‘cause she had many seizures,
Missing school to recover was not a time of leisure.
With all the time spent visiting with the doc,
Violet had to catch up with schoolwork ‘round the clock.
However, Violet is now seizure free.
On top of it all, she made the honor roll B.
Violet is truly a tough and spunky young adult.
If you mess with her, she will tell you, you’re at fault.
When we were trick or treating, a guy creeped her out,
And she did not hesitate to call him a lout.
Yesterday, Violet ran the mile so fast.
By 10 minutes did her old PR past.
I was so proud as she sprinted the last straightaway,
I know positive changes are in her life to stay.
Violet can grow up to be anything she wants to be:
A singer, an actor, a teacher? I can’t wait to see.
Violet, I have had a great year with you,
And I look forward to making memories anew.
By mid-poem Violet had tears running down her face, and I had to stop after my line about Violet making the honor roll because the audience all started clapping.
There were great stories from the other pairs, and many people were crying as they tried to speak. The graduation was a special experience of all of us pairs as we got to celebrate the hard work we put into investing in a stranger and striving for greater physical fitness.
Violet, her sister Siata, and coordinator Megan