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Azalea Fun Walk benefits the buddies

READ MORE: Azalea Fun Walk benefits the buddies

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- At-risk kids all over the Cape Fear are getting a little help from big buddies.

"He's smart, entertaining, funny, and he does get along nicely with my little sisters," little buddy Christopher London said.

His big buddy is Josh Stehno.

"He's a great kid, natural born athlete, which will be great today," Stehno said.

These buddies have been together for three years, and decided to run in this year's Azalea Festival Fun Walk to support the program they love so much.

Cristen Roggemann works with the Cape Fear Volunteer Center's Buddy program and said the giving is a two way street. Big buddies get just as much as they give.

"They get to feel special, and they get to be a part of a greater cause, and the great thing about our relationships between our big and little buddies is that all of our buddies are at risk," Roggemann said.

Stehno is a product of the buddy program; he was a little buddy when he was young.

"My father lived far away, so I didn't get to see him very often, so having a positive male role model was a great thing," he said. "It affected me so much that I wanted to find some body like Chris to give some time to and help grow and learn."

"I’m getting a lot of help with homework, and I did have a few behavioral problems when this started, so I guess he did mature me a little, and we do all sorts of fun stuff,” London said.

And while London learns to grow up, he helps Stehno feel like a kid again. Stehno said London also helps him remember to stop and enjoy life even in the midst of being a busy grown-up.

He said all it takes is four hours a week to change one kid's life forever. Little buddy London said his mom has noticed differences in everything from behavior to academics to athletics.

For more information about how you can get involved, visit

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