Best Buddies Leadership Conference, by Noemi Reyes

Fun chats, awesome performances and cool events. When I first arrived in Bloomington, Indiana I had no idea what was in store for me. During the opening ceremony as Best Buddies staff, students and passionate volunteers sang “Call Me Maybe” I stood in the Indiana University auditorium taking in the energy of the Best Buddies Leadership Conference of 2013. Now in 2015 I sit here eagerly awaiting my third LC experience. You maybe asking yourself,  “What makes LC so special?” And I’m here to tell you that it’s not “What” but “Who” that makes LC so special. I’ve had the opportunity to attend and teach workshops at the conference but I can honestly say that the students at LC have taught me more than I could have ever taught them. My favorite experience was the World Café where I was able to share ideas with passionate student leaders from all around the world. This experience instilled a motivation within me that still moves me today. It put into perspective all our efforts and showed me that the Best Buddies mission is truly achievable. I caught a glimpse of a world where individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities would be recognized for their abilities rather than their “disabilities.” I saw a future where no one would use the R word to bring someone down. A place where people would be viewed and accepted for who they are. The students at the World Café showed me that change is possible if we work together. For those of you heading to leadership conference this year I encourage you to share your dreams and goals with others. It is a place where you will see your dreams reflected in people around you who will stop at nothing to make them a reality.

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I wish you the best of luck,

Noemi Reyes

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