As everyone knows, March is Best Buddies Month. Best Buddies Month is a month where Best Buddies comes in to play. Not only is March Best Buddies month, but it’s also Spread the Word to End the Word month. Now, in my speech below, you will understand how much this campaign means to me. This campaign will not only make you realize how much this word hurts me, but it also make you realize that this word should not be used in your daily lives.
The Best Buddies Friendship Walk is the biggest fundraiser for many of our state programs. Thousands of students, families, schools and volunteers come together each year in cities across the United States to fundraise for their states and spread awareness about the Best Buddies mission. The Best Buddies Young Leaders Council had the opportunity to help set up for the 2014 Best Buddies Leadership Conference Friendship Walk at Indiana University by chalking the walk path with phrases such as “I walk for inclusion” and “You can do it” and by setting up cones along the walk course.
Best Buddies Friendship Walks are something I hold VERY close to my heart since I have been on Best Buddies AZ’s Friendship Walk Committee for the past few years and I have been able to experience the drive and determination our committee has had to make the walk succeed above average in Arizona. In July 2013, our Friendship Walk received a “Pacesetter” award from Best Buddies International at the Leadership Conference along with many other states. This year is exceptional. We are driven to raise over $57,000 for the walk and so far we’ve raised $9,224. We’ve hosted two “give back nights” with the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey team and we have hosted our first annual Buddy Dash 5k run in partnership with Roadrunner Sports in Tempe, AZ.
With my experiences in mind, I decided to set out on a mission to collect highlights from a phenomenal group of student leaders who are passionate about Best Buddies at their schools and in their states. Below are statements from a few student leaders who share insights about experiences relating to Friendship Walks:
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!
This year the YLC was excited to welcome 11 new members from across the United States onto our team. After seeing what we’ve accomplished in our first year of existence, we can’t wait to see what more we can do in the coming year with even more members!
Meet Our Newest Additions
Fiona Hayden – Leadership Conference
Fiona Hayden first joined Best Buddies in middle school and, in her fifth year of involvement, will be representing Guilderland High School in New York. She’s excited to serve her first year on the YLC on the Leadership Conference committee. In her free time she likes to read (Jodi Picoult, anyone?) and bake. However, she’s most passionate about the work she does with Best Buddies. In her future, she sees herself working with individuals with disabilities and further educating herself on the inclusion movement. She can’t wait to continue her service to this incredible organization!
The Best Buddies Young Leaders Council (YLC) engages young adults with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities around the world to represent Best Buddies school friendship programs, and serve as a liaison between Best Buddies International (BBI) and their communities.
Our diverse group has deep experience in the many aspects of Best Buddies including the High Schools, Colleges, eBuddies, and Ambassadors Programs. We’re experienced, passionate, and tireless in our pursuit of solutions to spread the mission of Best Buddies. Read More…
My ‘Best Buddies story’ starts in 2009, when I was a freshman at New York University (NYU). I was so happy to be in a big and exciting city, but also desperate for a sense of community. I attended the club fair during the first week of school to learn about opportunities to get involved at NYU, and met with the Best Buddies College Buddy Director (CBD). Read More…