Sidekicks Are My Heroes

A social club inside the school has more of an impact than what one would think.


When you have a sibling that is labeled as different in the eyes of society, all you think about is making sure they feel “normal.” But feeling accepted and feeling comfortable are two different things.

At a first glance, you see a boy with blue sticks that are always accessible and within teach. Occasionally, you might see him wear shorts, revealing what looks like hard plastic socks.

Since we were young, it seemed like society viewed him nothing more than a disability. Society saw a blue placard in all of the cars, but my family saw it as a straight path to our destination and less of a chance for him to slip on the hard black asphalt. Other people might see an elevator with an out of service sign, while I am wondering how the both of us are going to climb up a flight of stairs together. Some might see him walking down the halls, but I can’t help but recognize his frustrated look of carrying his extra large backpack trying to walk through the hallways, attempting not to fall and disrupt the traffic full of students.

Despite what everyone might overlook or see on the surface, I see my brother flashing his bright blue crutches and his new custom made mobility-designed reduced plastic orthotics patterned with his favorite sports team. For years he was self conscious of his braces. It did not matter the temperature or season. He always wore his sweatpants—jeans were too tight to fit over his braces, and his lack of coordination and strength in his hand made removing the button another challenge he faced.

Little did everyone else know, the kid smiling and giving elbows in replacement of high fives to staff and students down the hallway is not the same kid he was three years ago, thanks to a club within the school: the Sequoit Sidekicks. Without the Sequoit Sidekicks, a program that celebrates one another through field trips, sports and forever friendships, my brother would be sitting at home, waiting for his one and only friend to answer his text. Without the Sidekicks, the genuine smile and confidence you see in the hallway would confine to his small circle of friends and his family.

For years, we wanted to make our different lifestyle feel normal in order to help him fit in with everyone else. We tried clubs and different activities, but his physical difference compared to other kids made him hide to his room, where he was most comfortable. Birthday parties were limited, and there were no such things as sports or sleepovers at my house. Instead of finding friends who would accept him for his differences, he turned to computer programed units, online strangers and virtual sports. When freshman year came around, opportunities for him were limited— until we found that a social club that included other Sequoits and sports, something he always wished he could do.

I knew this club would make my families lifelong goal come true. He is finally accepted. He is comfortable. He is himself. We knew this club would be beneficial for his social well being, but we did not realize how much his personality would change for the better. The relationships he formed with the other Sidekicks and buddies evolved this once quiet boy, to a young man accepting who he is. Every person involved in this club makes a connection with each individual inside and outside of the school.

My freshman and sophomore years, I decided not to join the Sidekick program, but to watch on the sidelines. I felt like this was his time to hang out with his friends while filling his love for sports, since he has never had a full chance like this before. Through this time, I got to see the buddies and sidekicks be a part of something much bigger through the different events and activities the Sequoit Sidekicks hold. This year, I decided to be a buddy to other students in the club. Watching him and his friends on the sidelines from three years ago, to now being in the club, I have seen everyone’s mindset change, their personalities more defined and grow not only as an athlete, but as the strong individuals they are. This club gives students a chance to be a part of something that they might not of been able to otherwise, and feel comfortable in themselves and in others. They might be labeled as the Sidekicks, but this program and students involved will forever be my heroes.