Goodwill Ambassador: Riley Stout
Riley is 10 years old and in the 4th grade. Riley has participated in the Buddy Walk since 2008. It has become something that he looks forward to every year. When he first found out he had been selected as the Buddy Walk Ambassador for 2017, he was asked how that made him feel. His response, “Amazing.”
We had tried to conceive for seven years and did not have any luck. Tommy and I had begun the process of adoption when we learned we were expecting a child. However, it is the fact that during this time God had a bigger plan. During the process of adoption, one has to answer many questions about what type of child you feel you could parent. It was so hard to check yes or no to the questions about different aspects of a child’s health and abilities. I remember sitting in church and praying for what I could “handle.” I asked God to give me a peace about this and to send me the child he wants Tommy and me to raise (Of course I am thinking adoption at this time). About a month later, I found out I was expecting. Seven long years we waited for this! We did not know that Riley would have Down syndrome until after his birth. Riley is, without a doubt, the child God wanted for us, and what a blessing he has been in our lives.
Riley is a bright, fun loving child is who full of life. He does not meet a stranger and seems to capture the hearts of those he meets. Riley has a dog, Max, and two pet birds, Mojo and Sweetie that he loves very much. He enjoys the outdoors and anything sports related. He plays in the Challenger Division in Baseball which is a subdivision of little league baseball for people with disabilities. Riley is enrolled in Warrior of God Martial Arts Class where he recently earned his second stripe for his white belt. He wants to continue working on his martial arts skills and eventually earn a black belt. Riley also participates in Special Olympics in Track and Field and Bowling. He also has weekly horse riding lessons at Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center and loves to ride “his horse” and talk to the staff. Riley has been riding at Windridge for over 5 years. During the summer, Riley enjoys watching the Texas Rangers and during football season, he joins the Pine Tree Kick Off Crew and helps lead the Pirates on to the field during the home games. He loves to watch and cheer on the Pirates during football season. He is also a huge fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
Riley is also a member of his church’s kids praise team, the Glow-Kids, and helps lead the other children in worship on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. He loves singing about Jesus whether it is in the car, at church, or even while brushing his teeth. He is a fan of Toby Mac and the Newsboys pop Christian artist too.
One of our biggest worries for Riley has been acceptance by his peers and community. We have finally started to worry (a little less) about this acceptance because we have been so blessed to be surrounded by so many families and individuals who do accept him and who teach their children to do the same. We can’t seem to go anywhere without someone saying “Hi Riley!” or if he is not with us, then it is, “where is Riley?’ He has lots of family members and friends that surround him and encourage him in all that he does.
Riley is a determined individual with a heart of gold and we, his parents, could not be more proud of the young man he is becoming.
Submitted by: Kay Stout, Riley’s Mother