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CJ and Blake – Their Story

During his junior year of high school, Blake Bortles volunteered with Challenger Football, an organization that pairs athletes with students with special needs to play football. It was there that Blake met CJ, a freshman in high school who loved sports – especially football – and had autism. Blake and CJ’s friendship developed both on and off the field, playing football, watching old games and shooting hoops. Their friendship has deepened over the years, continuing as Blake attended college and throughout his NFL career.

While Blake was taking steps to prepare for the 2016 NFL season, CJ was learning to live independently through The Arc Jacksonville’s Summer LIFE Experience program. For four weeks CJ lived with roommates in a four bedroom/four-bathroom apartment, learning to cook, clean, manage his money and much more. He loved it. The Arc Jacksonville was there to help him take that next step in his life.

CJ with Blake Bortles in high school