The first time that I heard about AIM was when I read about it in the Church bulletin.
I thought the retreat sounded interesting, but I had no ride to get to the retreat. AIM helped me arrange the transportation.
I was paired with a "buddy" who assisted me during the whole retreat and she was very nice and caring. There are medical nurses at the retreats, so in case something were to happen then there is someone there to help.
The retreat is very spiritual and lots of fun, too! I went down there the first time not knowing anyone, and the people made me feel very comfortable. I met lots of new people and made a lot of new friends in just that one weekend. They are very nice and caring. The food is great, too. The speakers are wonderful and we have lots of fun projects and fun times singing. I always enjoy the retreats.
Now, due to COVID, we have had online ZOOM retreats every other month on Saturdays. I can't wait to get back to our regular retreats and see everyone again.
Leah, who has physical challenges including seizures, can't wait for the next in-person retreat.
When I first moved to South Florida from New York in 1987 with my mother, I got a job at IBM in Boca Raton as a contractor. Mom and I settled into a condo in Delray Beach. Mom had a sister in the area. She showed us the ropes in our new environment.
As I worked at IBM, I made some nice new friends. One of them was a blind engineer named Nigel, who introduced me to a wonderful organization called AIM. He explained AIM had two weekend retreats a year and a day of renewal. It was a Catholic ministry based out of St. Joan of Arc Church in Boca Raton, but people from all religions were invited.
My first encounter with AIM came in June 1990. It was a day of renewal and I was interested in what would happen. When I saw all the love and praises and singing to Jesus, I was hooked. I immediately signed up for the next retreat for that November.
In October of that year, my mother passed away suddenly. I was heartbroken and devastated. I did not want to do anything. My friends all advised me to make the upcoming AIM retreat. I reluctantly agreed.
At the retreat, when I saw all the love and attention being lavished on me, my spirits began to pick up. I’ll never forget that weekend and all the wonderful people who wanted to help me in my time of need. I will always be thankful to them for all their love and concern. They bonded with me and supported me in this time of emotional crisis.
Throughout all the years with AIM, I have made some great and lasting friendships. Sadly, I have lost many of them to the Lord. I will be eternally grateful to AIM and all the wonderful people who make it work. They have made the world a better place for all of its members. Whether you have a physical challenge or are able bodied, I highly recommend this wonderful ministry.
Dan, who has cerebral palsy, has been attending AIM retreats for more than 20 years.
I first found out about AIM in 1983.
I told my mother that I was going to a retreat by showing her the AIM application. She asked, “How are you going to get there? Dad can’t drive that far now.” At that time, my father had surgery and was still recuperating. “And who’s going to help you in the shower and with your meals?” I couldn’t answer.
A few weeks after I sent my application, I received the approval. Then my mother got excited about me going, even more so when a woman named Maria called to tell me that she was going to be my buddy.
Maria told me that it was her first retreat, too. She told me that we would have fun. “How can you have fun on a retreat?” I said to myself. I thought retreats were for people who are very religious, which I was not. I was expecting to be bored during the weekend, but I was wrong! It was nice and fun.
The whole weekend, I was amazed. When I got home, I told my parents excitedly about it, about how good and nice all the buddies were to us. It seems as if they knew me forever.
I have attended AIM retreats and Days of Renewal many times and enjoy every minute. I really believe that God showed His love for me by letting me meet all the people in AIM.
It is a great team of friends that prepares everything for the retreat and then does it with us. Our buddies help us in all our needs, such as getting dressed, getting our meals and writing notes at meetings.
These good people do all this “out of love for God and us.” We don’t want pity. We’d just like to have your understanding. People with disabilities live normal lives, in Christ, just as anybody else.
Elena, who has cerebral palsy, says it felt like people at her first AIM retreat "knew me forever."
AIM gives me a purpose for my life and to motivate others.
It’s a great place to meet brothers and sisters in Christ with similar interests.
AIM has given me a realistic plan for my future, embracing the positivity of others. It not only has helped me grow stronger, but I’ve learned a lot about myself, my journey, and my faith.
My religious values have grown stronger with the helpful voices of Margarita, Paul, Kevin, and Fr. Steve. AIM helps me overcome the difficulties I face through my faith in Christ, and it has enhanced my life tremendously.
Michael, who was injured in a motorcycle accident, attended his first AIM weekend retreat in 2019.
This ministry is a humbling experience that left me with such respect and admiration for the participants and fellow volunteers. You’ll remember this incredible weekend long after it ends. AIM is a faith family and I am most grateful to be a member!
Cindy has been an "AIM Buddy" at several of our weekend retreats.
Participating in the AIM ministry is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
I was drawn to AIM through my journey with Nicholas, my profoundly disabled son who--- though he could not speak or perform any activities of daily living-- surely came alive when he was in Church around people and experiencing the Mass and music.
AIM gives me the opportunity to deepen, share and live my faith with others, particularly my brothers and sisters who face daily challenges from their disabilities and often face loneliness from being away from others. Pope Francis has instructed us that an accessible Church requires helping parishioners “to develop attitudes and acts of solidarity and service toward persons with disabilities and their families."
AIM is the perfect ministry for those who wish to serve those brothers and sisters on what Francis describes as a journey of finding a “beautiful and meaningful life."
Lou came to AIM to serve and share with those "who face daily challenges from their disabilities.'
AIM has been a source of profound blessing to me over the years that I've been part of it. The Lord first brought me to this ministry shortly after my conversion experience; it was my first-ever encounter with Christian community. Indeed, it has served to usher me into other deeply spiritual fellowships, such as the Charismatic Renewal and, eventually, Cursillo.
During our annual weekend retreats I have gotten to witness my brothers and sisters in Christ, candidates and buddies, powerfully ministering to one another, as well as to the entire assembly. God is so awesomely good, and in these most recent times has furnished technologies that have further extended the reach of Christian fellowship to those who would be otherwise isolated. Our most recent meetings have taken place over the Internet, which allows me to enter into fellowship with other members of this faith community without my even having to leave home.
I am so thankful to God for having raised up this ministry and for all those who have been His channels of blessing and mercy in this great work. I pray that this AIM ministry will continue to be blessed in its great work to reach others for Jesus, that they may know the joy and peace that only He can give.
Nigel, who is blind, has been an AIM retreat participant for decades.