If you have ever considered hiring someone with a disability, you NEED to read this mom’s letter

I received this letter from a parent whose son is involved with our Best Buddies Jobs program in Miami Beach. Joni’s message is a strong testament to the determination of our participants to be part of an inclusive workplace that allows them to fulfill their professional goals. Our Jobs staff is dedicated to building strong relationships between people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the companies who hire them.  I challenge every business leader that reads this to consider hiring through Best Buddies Jobs by visiting www.imintohire.org. Are you In To Hire?

Anthony K. Shriver
Founder and Chairman, Best Buddies International


Dear Anthony,

As you know, up until a few months ago, I was the Assistant Mayor of Bal Harbour. In that capacity, I represented Bal Harbour on the Miami-Dade County League of Cities and began working with its Executive Director, Richard Kuper, and Best Buddies in trying to secure employment for adults in the municipalities within the League. I am very proud to say that many municipalities have stepped up and are employing a number of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with more openings forthcoming. Working with Andrea Schonenberg and Kevin Devine has been not only productive, but rewarding and gratifying to me as well. These individuals truly care and go even more than that extra mile. And although I am no longer the Assistant Mayor, I am committed to continuing my involvement with this partnership.

My initial intention of being involved comes from the fact that I have a son, Billy, that has some special needs and I know firsthand how important it is for him to be employed. He was living in Cambridge, Massachussetts and commuted via two trains for over an hour to a Whole Foods Market in Brighton. Yet he went to work everyday with a smile on his face, a great attitude, and a sense of self worth. And with all that snow, he never missed a day’s work!

Billy decided, on his own doing, to return home last year to be close to his family. He began working at a nearby supermarket as a grocery bagger and was content until his schedule had him working nights, weekends and shifts beyond midnight, mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms. He was not happy, and one day announced, “I don’t want to bag groceries my whole life.”

I never thought that we would need the services for Billy that we were trying to get for others. But after discussing Billy’s situation with Kevin, he was adamant in pursuing something that better fit Billy’s skills. Kevin worked hard in securing employment for Billy and keeping us informed throughout the entire process. He is a very kind and caring person. Best Buddies is lucky to have him and we feel so fortunate to have had this help from Best Buddies.

Because of Best Buddies, Billy is now working at the City of Miami Beach as an Office Assistant. Words cannot express how his life has changed. He is glowing and happy. He leaves our home at 8:15 A.M. to take the bus to be at work at 10 A.M., even though it’s only a one-hour commute. He wants to be sure he is always on time. He has regular hours enabling him to make plans with friends and family. He has structure in his life that he so desperately needed. And most importantly, he feels good about himself as a contributing member of society. I had the opportunity to speak with his supervisor Jackie last week and she said he is doing a great job and everyone loves him. Not only is Billy elated, but so is his entire family!

I felt compelled to write this letter to you Anthony, to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for all that you do for this special population of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. You have people like Kevin and Andrea who truly care, you run this organization with passion, and you invite all involved into your home. And most importantly, you show the love in what you do on your face and in your hugs, and that makes all the difference!

With sincere appreciation,

Joni D. Blachar

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About Anthony K. Shriver

Anthony K. Shriver is the Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International, which he created in 1989 to foster one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Recognizing the tremendous volunteer potential of university students, Shriver first inspired his college peers to personally collaborate in expanding the realm of opportunities that persons with intellectual disabilities should experience. Today, through Shriver’s stewardship and entrepreneurial spirit, Best Buddies® has grown into a leading nonprofit entity with increasing international reach across six continents, 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.

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