Tag Archive | friendship

Why I’m Involved With Best Buddies


Hola! My name is Nick Balkevicius, and I have been involved with Best Buddies for 5 years. Being a part of Best Buddies has been one of the best things I have ever done. It has taught me to treat all human beings with the respect that they deserve, and that nobody deserves to be picked on because of what they look like or who they are. Here is the story of how Best Buddies entered my life. Read More…

Best Buddies – Truly Rewarding on so Many Levels


Sometimes you participate in a group or an event because you “have to,” but then there are those rare times that you participate in something because you really want to – for me this can easily be said about my experience with Best Buddies. This sentiment is equally shared by my wife Julia and my boys, Nick and Anthony. Read More…

Ozzie Guillen Continues to Support Best Buddies


Kristian Chima and Ozzie Guillen

Kristian Chima and Ozzie Guillen

Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen made Buddy Ambassador Kristian Chima’s day this past Monday. The two met up at Marlins Park—the extraordinary new home of the Miami Marlins baseball team—for a joint photo shoot and public service announcement (PSA). Read More…

Best Buddies Curaçao


Best Buddies Curaçao was launched in 2008 under the umbrella of Totolika, an association for parents of children with disabilities. Arthur Nivillac, Project Coordinator for Best Buddies Curaçao, participated in the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference that same year and during the conference, Arthur witnessed his student leader Christopher Nelson, embrace the Best Buddies mission.

Upon witnessing this, Arthur was confident that the project would be an excellent fit in his native home of Curaçao. With a population of less than 150,000 people, Curaçao has 4 chapters in High Schools and Colleges making friends and making a difference.

After their first year of being matched, the friends came together for a party to say good bye. Many of the Peer Buddies were off to continue their studies in the Netherlands. It was very emotional because the friends had become so close over the course of the year.

As the new school year begins and the chapters reconvene, new frontiers of friendship lie ahead. As they say in Curaçao – No tin riba un amigo: there is nothing better than a friend.

Why Best Buddies Makes Me Smile


This story was written by Sri Rapaka from North Potomac, Maryland. He answered our theme question: Why does Best Buddies make you smile?

Sri and Bryan prior to running the Baltimore Marathon 5k race.Best Buddies makes me smile because it has allowed me to form a rewarding friendship with people such as Bryan Vancavage. I have been matched with Bryan since April 2007.

Why is the friendship so rewarding?

One reason is that Bryan is one of the most caring individuals I have ever met. He constantly asks me about my family and friends. He is very supportive of me after a stressful day of work. He listens very attentively whenever I have had a tough day at work. He has also come out to support me when I have run in races.

I remember one race it was 20 degrees during the race. But Bryan all bundled up was still out there to cheer me on during the course of the race. As I came across the finish line, I could not help but smile. I do not know too many people that would be willing to do what Bryan did.

Another reason is that Bryan’s smile naturally wants to make me smile. If you ever meet Bryan he has one of the best smiles ever. Whenever I see this smile, I just naturally want to smile myself.

Finally, my friendship with Bryan makes me smile because there is a strong committment to support one another. As mentioned previously, Bryan has been very supportive of me. I would like to think that I have been supportive of Bryan as well by offering him the gift of friendship.

Without organizations such as Best Buddies it is difficult for people such as Bryan to form friendships with individuals that do not have a disability. The fact that Best Buddies exists and creates friendship opportunties for individuals such as Bryan is so great, that I can’t help but smile.

Finding Stability & Inspiration Through Best Buddies


Ali Miner (right) and her buddy Lauren at a Best Buddies fundraiser in Milwaukee.

This story was written by Best Buddies Wisconsin participant Ali Miner.

I’ve moved several times in my life but have never gotten used to being outgoing in making new friends. I showed up to my new school on the first day of my sophomore year with nothing but my family.

We were staying in a rental house, my things weren’t going to be shipped for months, and limited classes were available since I was late in creating my schedule.

My mom required for me to get involved in ONE club or sport to help with the emotional distress of the move. Considering that I am not a very athletic person, I chose to pick a club.

I’ve always been interested in disabilities because my brother has several and my mom used to bring me to her work where she babysat children with disabilities to give their parents time to go shopping, etc.

One day during lunch, I heard a kid advertising a club called Best Buddies. I figured, “Why not? Joining would surely get my mom off my back.”

At this moment, I didn’t think anything could improve the chaos of my life. During the first year, I wasn’t very involved with my buddy but I was treasurer and attended all the group activities.

At the end of the year, I was elected to be the chapter president for the following year. I was so anxious for the next year to start. During the summer, I attended the Leadership Conference. This is when my life was turned upside down. I saw so many amazing speakers such as Soeren and Mr. Shriver.

There were times during that weekend when I was so inspired that I cried tears of happiness. During certain moments, it was almost impossible to hold back the tears. I learned so many ways to help those around me who have disabilities and I met so many wonderful people, even from different countries!

I was also taught about the campaign to end the “R” word. This was what really changed my life. I had never really thought of the impact done on people by the use of this word. From that moment on, I have not used that word nor allowed other people around me to use it.

This picture was taken during our first monthly activity right after we found out who our match was.

These upcoming months, my chapter and I are planning several things to help our school become more aware of this ongoing misuse of language. Recently, my buddy and I spoke of our friendship at a Best Buddies fundraiser in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I’m so happy to have Lauren, my buddy, in my life. She is able to bring a smile to my face even on days when I didn’t think it was possible. I am very thankful to be a part of this organization and to be able to experience so many extraordinary things. Go Best Buddies!

Want to learn more about Best Buddies International? Visit www.bestbuddies.org and get involved today!

To get involved with our programs in the state of Wisconsin, visit www.bestbuddieswisconsin.org.

a typical son

two of us are tall and the other one of us is short and has Down syndrome

Chicken Corn Chowder for the Blogger's Soul

Thought bubbles of inspiration, attempted humor, and most likely a lot of pictures and music. (WARNING: You are the only one reading this.)

Best Buddies Young Leaders Council

Educate, Engage, Empower.

michael crawley

Every person is an equal member of the human family.

%d bloggers like this: