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Live A Little: Meet Abdul, Mark and Sam

The three spend a lot of time together playing outside and doing good things for the community.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Little toy cars are a big passion for 6-year-old Abdul.

"One day I was watching a movie about Hot Wheels, and then I saw this one and that's how I started to like this," he smiled.

Now, he has dozens of them. This is a love he shares with his big brother, Mark.

"I still love Hot Wheels," Mark laughed.

Mark and his wife, Sam, were both matched with Abdul back in March through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee after Sam's little sister aged out of the program.

"We have very different schedules. We don't always have quality time, and we have nine nieces and nephews that have all since moved away, so it kind of gives us an opportunity to spend time with kids and pour into kids in a way that also adds into our relationship," she said.

"I contemplated for years doing it, but this was the nudge I needed to actually do it and kind of share a responsibility, too," Mark said.

The three spend a lot of time together, playing outside and doing something good for others.

Credit: Samantha Lane
Mark, Sam and Abdul hang out at a park.

"I have a really fun time playing with them," Abdul smiled.

"The very first time we hung out we had a really good life lesson where Abdul said we should clean up our city so the three of us literally ran around Lakeshore Park picking up trash," Sam said.

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And ever since, life lessons just started unfolding.

"He wanted to get a Hot Wheels  garage, and it's this huge piece of Hot Wheels  storage," Mark said.

So they brainstormed a way to pay for one and came up with a pretty sweet idea.

"We ended up selling popsicles on Gay Street one day and making $102!" Sam said. 

Credit: Samantha Lane
Mark and Abdul sell popsicles on Gay Street.

It was plenty to buy his Hot Wheels garage and a little extra.

Another lesson that's even teaching Mark and Sam a thing or two.

Credit: Samantha Lane
Abdul and Mark pose in front of his new Hot Wheels garage.

"We've been trying to collect all of them so someday when Abdul is older we can share with him all the life lessons that he helped us realize," Sam said.

"They totally knocked it out of the park matching us," Mark smiled. "Abdul is such a sweet little boy and kind."

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More than 150 children are currently on the waiting list for mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.

Click here to volunteer.