Hannah and Arias


By: Teresa Dietrich

Hannah’s personality can be described as “big and funny.” She’s outgoing and friendly, with a wide range of interests that made finding her a specific mentor difficult. But when the decision was made to pair her with Arias, it was immediately obvious how great a decision that was. Hannah is an animal lover capable of sustaining lengthy conversations involving her five pets, especially her frogs Hops and Bob. She’s always willing to help out in the garden or to embark on a cooking adventure, two areas of interest that she shares with Arias.

Although it’s immediately obvious to anyone who meets her how joyful and exuberant she naturally is, when Hannah first met with Connecting Champions in October she was much more subdued and shy and would often fall asleep soon after visitors arrived. But it was clear how much she enjoyed having visitors come and talk and read to her, and the constant attention and care provided by Connecting Champions enabled her to find comfort and familiarity in an environment that originally challenged her. Hannah is again a happy, outgoing girl. Some of her recent adventures include making homemade marshmallows and a trip to Disney World, where she got to meet Winnie the Pooh and his entourage.

During Arias’s most recent visit with her, Hannah was seated animatedly on the bed, excited for whatever games and fun were arriving. The two played several hands of Crazy 8s, one of the many games that keeps Hannah occupied, and were sent into peals of laughter when cans of Silly String were introduced. Hannah is a long ways away from where she initially was after her diagnosis, and it’s clear that her Connecting Champions friendships have played a crucial role in her resilience. Now, she’s looking forward to her peach tree at home bearing fruit for the first time and for the next visit from her friends at Connecting Champions.

Activity Kits

National Geographic Science Magic Kit

​Help 8-year-old Joe

Future Scientist

Get a science experiment kit to explore with his mentor!

​Help 9-year-old Myla

Future Artist

Get art supplies to create with her mentor!

Help 23-year-old Erik

Future Coffee Barista

Get coffee supplies to learn how to create specialty drinks with his mentor!

The pandemic showed many people what social isolation is really like. It also showed there are many other great ways to connect. That’s why we launched our activity kits. These mailed out packages provide fun activities for our mentors and kids/young adults to do together — virtually.

Reach Out to Us

Or contact Friendship@ConnectingChampions.org / 412.376.3755