2014 YLC Application!

Hello from the YLC!

We are so excited that the application for students interested in joining the Young Leaders Council has been released! The application is due THIS Friday, February 28th, so we wanted to provide some more information for anyone who may be interested!

We are looking for student leaders of Best Buddies programs that exemplify not only a passion for Best Buddies, but also exceptional leadership, organizational, and time management skills. The YLC is a group of motivated, hard-working students who are dedicated to the mission of Best Buddies. We encourage you to think about the opportunity to be a part of the YLC and how you would contribute to our initiatives and further development.

While becoming a member of the YLC is very honorable, it is also a big commitment. Members are required to serve on a committee where they must create and actively pursue both short term and long term goals. In addition, personal goals must be set and achieved during the term each student serves. Each committee holds at least one conference call a month as well as attends one YLC conference call every month. Members must remain active and show progress towards goals by submitting monthly updates. Finally, all YLC members must attend Leadership Conference while serving their two year term.

This is a very selective process so we ask that you please take this into consideration. We unfortunately cannot accommodate a YLC representative from every state, so we hope you keep this in mind.

If you are interested in this opportunity, we ask that you please contact your Program Manager! They have the link to the application and can talk with you more about the responsibilities that come with being a YLC member. We will review each application using a blind application reading process, meaning that we will remove all identifying information and score the applications solely on the responses to the questions and how they align with the values of the YLC. We will then determine the candidates that will move on to the interview round. Following interviews, Program Managers will be notified directly as to whether you were accepted to the YLC and they will inform you of the results.

Thank you so much for all that you do for Best Buddies and we look forward to reading all of the amazing applications! Remember, all applications are due THIS FRIDAY the 28th!

We would also like to share the story of one of our amazing YLC members and incredible leaders, Marina Haley. Below, she shares how being in Best Buddies and on the YLC has impacted her life. Thanks for sharing this with us, Marina!

Marina’s Life Story

Growing up with Non-Verbal learning disability is not easy, I have realized that it is very hard because to most people having a disability makes you stand out in a bad way and you are considered different from the norm in society.  I had seizures when I was little which resulted in obtaining my Non-Verbal learning disability, which means that you struggle with logic, such as math and numbers, organization, and you also have some social skills problems that can really set you apart from other people.   I never was invited to any parties, or other social activities.

Before I joined Best Buddies at my high school I was made fun of and called names such as stupid and (the R word) Retard, which my brother used to call me all the time.   There was one time where a group of girls I thought would be my friends at lunch forced me to throw their trash out for them, and I had to get the principal to tell them to stop.  My eighth grade year I felt shunned by the entire school and I was pretty much watching other people live their lives, and not having a life of my own.  I felt socially awkward, my confidence and self-esteem was very low, and I came home crying every day.  One day, I was pushed over a pile of backpacks by someone in the cafeteria.  My parents almost had me transfer out of Unionville High School to a different school but I said no, because I wanted to keep fighting.  This continued all through my ninth grade year of high school, until I found an amazing nonprofit organization called Best Buddies.

In my sophomore year of high school I found an amazing Club called Best Buddies, which I learned is an organization that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities create one to one friendships with their non-disabled peers, while also helping people with disabilities find jobs through their job program.  This Best Buddies program was started by the Shrivers.  Best Buddies is against the r word. This club helped me become the leader I am today and the confidence to get my life back on the right track.  I found many friends and mostly all of them were life changing. My three amazing buddies I had during my time at Unionville Best Buddies were Shannon O’Brien, Tara Takoushian, and Haley Miller.

My first buddy I had was the president of our Chapter and she changed my life big time because she helped me with my problems, and she helped me find friends and meet new people.  She also showed me Facebook and helped me set up a Facebook page, so I could learn to network with my friends in Best Buddies and stay in touch with people over the years, and I really liked getting a Facebook.  She even interviewed me for our school newspaper and planned a surprise birthday party for me which I did not expect.  After my first buddy graduated, I had a second buddy named Tara who helped me out, and we would go out and do many fun activities together like getting our nails done, shopping, and going out to eat like any good friend would do with someone. They helped me at the friendship walks and one year I was even top fundraiser for the walk.  My last buddy Haley was really into horses so she took me to her stables and let me help out with the horses, we also went to Longwood Gardens together, and we went to the mall together.  Every buddy taught me something about myself I did not know, and most importantly they helped me solve problems and get my confidence back.

During my time in Best Buddies Unionville I took on three Leadership positions.  After being a buddy for a while, I became Buddy Director where I worked with the officers in the club and did all the communication for the club.  My second position was Buddy Ambassador, so while I was still doing all the communications work for the club I started speaking at all kinds of different Best Buddies related event and telling everyone my story, I dedicated one of my speeches to one of my friends in Best Buddies who passed away named Josh Friedman.  I also spoke at my chapter meeting to 50 people, and read a Best Buddies poem to them out loud, I was scared and upset about it and my buddy Shannon finished it for me which is what a best buddy should do and it was my first speech.  I spent five years in high school because of my disability, and I was super involved in the program.  I helped out at bake sales, selling food and snacks to people to help raise money for the club.  Then my fifth year of high school (my last year) I thought I was going to leave Best Buddies forever and never see my friends again, but that did not happen.

Instead, our program manager at the time told me that I should sign up for the Best Buddies Leadership Council, and I said Ok without even knowing what I was getting myself into.  So she sent me an application and told me about the long interview process I had to go through to join the council.  So I rolled the dice, filled out an application, and was one of few who got selected to be on the international council. I was ECSTATIC when I found out I had gotten picked!  So I went to the Best Buddies Leadership Council as a volunteer the next year and helped form the YLC which is a group of amazing student leader from around the globe that help Best Buddies International plan and execute events and activities like leading sessions at leadership conference.  We also helped out at the rides to help raise money for Best Buddies and cheer on the bikers who support us.   We were a very small group the first year and we took many thrills and spills all together and worked as a team to accomplish our many, many, many goals we set out to achieve.  This year we have expanded and became a larger group and I hope we continue to grow, learn and accomplish many goals for our future.  After my first year on the council, I became a Best Buddies intern and worked in the PA office for a little while.  I got myself onto the Communications Committee for the YLC and now I am one of the chairs, but now my second term is coming to an end and I don’t know what is going to happen afterwards.

I also got accepted to Cabrini College and my first year was very difficult for me, it is hard living in college with a disability.  I was happy to go, but I was also very nervous and insecure coming in a freshman.  I was not sure if I could live on my own, make friends, or pass college classes.  In the beginning I had trouble finding out how to get support but eventually by the end of freshman year I figured everything out and made a bunch of friends.  My living situation was difficult my first year and I had an overload of classes and too many other crazy events happening in my dorm.  Now I am currently a sophomore at Cabrini College and I am using all supports available to me, I am currently in the honors society for the disability resource center at my school, and I been attempting since my freshman year to start a Best Buddies Club at my school. I told all my friends about it last year, and this year we are trying to achieve the goal of having a Best Buddies Program here at my college.


One response to “2014 YLC Application!”

  1. Matt burns says :

    love you best buddies. Been back fundraising top 3row about you too win my 4row champion top fundrasing

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