Best Buddies Month: Paige Randolph, Purdue University
In celebration of Best Buddies Month we will be showcasing outstanding volunteers, employers, and supporters of Best Buddies every Monday as part of our Monday Mission Moment series.
We are excited to introduce you to Paige Randolph from the Purdue University chapter in West Lafayette, Indiana. Paige has been a volunteer with Best Buddies for eight years and is currently a senior who will be graduating in May with a nursing degree. Please enjoy reading about Paige and her dedication to Best Buddies!
Purdue University, Chapter President
Years in Best Buddies: 8
How did you learn about Best Buddies?
I first joined Best Buddies by coming to a call-out meeting I had heard over the school announcements my freshman year of high school at Pendleton Heights (Pendleton, Indiana). I honestly had no idea what I was even going to, but looking back now I truly can’t imagine what my life would have been like never having attended that meeting.
After a year of attending meetings as an associate member I was already completely hooked on the infectious fun and laughter of the activities with the buddies. The following year I stepped up as a treasurer and was matched with my first buddy, Angel. The next two years matched with her I grew as a person and a leader. My junior and senior year I became chapter president and quickly learned the ropes of being a student leader.
My friendship with Angel and then Lyndsey my senior year is what fueled my passion for Best Buddies. I wanted everyone to have an opportunity to have a friend like I did in them. As I went off to college I was so sad to leave the chapter behind that made me fall in love with the mission, but was extremely excited to meet my peers in the Purdue University chapter.
The past three years I have been matched with Charli. I could have never been matched with a better buddy. Charli has a spark in her and genuine happiness that matched my personality perfectly. Between the two of us you would never be able to get us to stop talking. She has been my right hand woman running the monthly chapter meetings as I have been the chapter president at Purdue the past two years as well.
What does Best Buddies mean to you?
Best Buddies is not a club I am in or simply a hobby. Being in Best Buddies has shaped my entire personality over the past eight years. Best Buddies truly means lifelong friendships to me. It has gone beyond the amazing one-to-one friendships and leadership positions. The people I have met that also share this passion for Best Buddies are my very best friends and support system. I don’t see disabilities anymore, I see the ability to love and support each other through any life experiences.
What is your favorite thing about your buddy, Charli?
My favorite thing about Charli is her vivacious and vibrant personality. She is always in a great mood and it is contagious. No matter what was going on in my life that day, no matter how hard that exam was or how much homework I had, one text or phone call from her can turn my day around.
Charli had never been in Best Buddies before the year we were matched so I have been able to introduce her to this wonderful organization and see how involved she has gotten in such a small period of time. It breaks my heart knowing I’m about to graduate and she will be matched with a new peer buddy next year, but I absolutely cannot wait to see how many great people she will become friends with through the Purdue University chapter.
What do you and Charli like to do together?
Paige: We text and talk on the phone constantly and love attending Purdue basketball games. We also like to go to the mall, or just hang out around her house playing with her dogs and horses. She and I both love watching The Voice, especially because of Blake Shelton as we are both huge country music lovers.
How has Best Buddies changed your life?
I cannot even say how Best Buddies has changed my life because I cannot really remember a time before it. It has created this support system that is invaluable to me. With everything going on in the world it is easy to forget how many good things and people there are. I have attended the Best Buddies Leadership Conference for the past six summers and I always describe it as my own personal utopia being surrounded by 2,000 genuinely great people. That’s how I feel when I attend any outing with my buddy, or a chapter meeting. I feel like nothing else matters at the time!
Another way Best Buddies has changed my life is through the opportunities I have had as a Leadership Conference Intern the past two years, and the opportunity I had to attend the Best Buddies Challenge and give a speech with Mollie Noble. Although Mollie and I have never officially been matched in Best Buddies, I absolutely cannot speak about Best Buddies without mentioning the impact she has had on me.
Mollie and I worked together, have been roommates at times, and have undeniably became sisters in the process. She inspires me every day to be a better person and I can honestly she is one of the most important people in my life.
Why do you think others should join Best Buddies?
I encourage anyone who has a desire to be a lifelong friend and meet amazing people in the process to join Best Buddies. Best Buddies is growing every day with the help of initiatives such as the Best Buddies Friendship Walk and Best Buddies Challenge rides. If you want to get involved but do not know how, maybe start by attending one of these events!
Events like the walks and rides enable Best Buddies chapters to open in more and more schools and have the potential to change as many lives as possible. I recommend for anyone who wants to get involved to contact your local state office to see when the next event is scheduled, or just stop by to meet the staff.
Special thanks to Paige Randolph for her commitment to Best Buddies and passion for the mission. Help us celebrate Best Buddies Month by participating in activities this month on our celebration calendar! To learn more about Best Buddies and how you can get involved please visit us at www.bestbuddies.org.
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About Best BuddiesBest Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
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