Best Buddies: An Organization, My Dream, My Goal
Post by Deborah Cohen ’19
Best Buddies: an organization, my dream, my goal. Best Buddies is a non-governmental association that builds one-on-one friendships for people with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD), encouraging inclusion and providing jobs for them. I have been working with Best Buddies for five consecutive years, thus I became truly passionate about inclusion and friendship. Nevertheless, until attending the Best Buddies Leadership Conference I was convinced Best Buddies was a lifelong organization I would be working for. The Best Buddies Leadership Conference was a turning point in my life, now I understand what Best Buddies stands for, I dream of creating a future project and will build a strong chapter at Babson College.
Best Buddies is considered a worldwide organization, yet it differentiates itself since it has the power to change the world. Best Buddies can change how people act and think regarding individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is the world’s largest organization dedicated to end social, physical and economic isolation of 200 million people with IDD. Through their one-on-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development, Best Buddies promotes inclusion and shows the world the talent and charm of people with IDD. Thanks to the Best Buddies Leadership Conference, I was able to meet some of the most talented actors in Hollywood, such as Lauren Potter who acts in Glee and has Down Syndrome. Additionally, I was able to meet amazing singers and musicians with Autism who perform worldwide. Best Buddies proves to the world that people with IDD can be as talented as other individuals.
After meeting extraordinary people who have IDD, disregard society’s stereotypes, and have demonstrated the world that they can excel, I was extremely conveyed and started to dream in my lifelong dream. My life long dream is to start an art gallery in Guatemala, my home country, where individuals with IDD can display their artwork. Chealsy, my Best Buddy, paints and does marvelous art pieces; however, finding places to exhibit her artwork is challenging for her. My Best Buddy is my inspiration to bring my dream to life and become a facilitator for individuals with IDD. I want their talents to be shown and to keep on spreading the mission of Best Buddies.
Spreading the mission of Best Buddies starts now, it starts from the way I act and think. On campus I want people to recognize me and know that I represent Best Buddies. My goal for this year, as president of Babson Best Buddies, is to increase the number of one-on-one matches at Babson. To make the community aware of the talent of people with IDD, to stop people from saying the “R” word and to celebrate the importance of friendship. I will do so by doing at least one group activity monthly, participating in the Best Buddies Walks, and in December uniting all the Boston chapters by organizing a Holiday Party. Some monthly activities will include visiting museums, going to sporting events, and participating in cooking and art classes. I am anxious to start executing all these activities to accomplish my goals and apply what I learned in the Leadership Conference.
More inspiration and passion grew within me as soon as I returned from the Leadership Conference. I was able to see the power of Best Buddies worldwide and its accomplishments throughout the years. It inspired me to dream big and start an art gallery back home. Also it motivated me to start strong and to set goals for my chapter. I am positive Babson Best Buddies will change lives, both of people with and without IDD, and create a positive atmosphere full of inclusion and love.