Tag Archive | inspirational

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.

Best Buddies United States, by Anthony Kennedy Shriver

If you ever feel like you have no idea what to do next, or that there really doesn’t seem to be a plan for your life, or at least a plan that’s seems to be coming together, don’t worry; I promise you aren’t alone.

Do you ever feel a bit confused or struggling to find direction in your life? To be honest, that’s exactly how I felt when I was in college at Georgetown University. I was a junior with no idea what to do with my life, where to live or what really made me happy.

The only thing I truly knew in my gut was that I had gotten through my junior year in college and through years of school and sports because I had an amazing network of friends — friends who I played football with, coached me, educated me, tutored me and inspired me.

I knew that without this network of “buddies” I would never amount to anything in life.

As I now say, friends are the ticket to success. Friends of all types are the reason we succeed. One of my most unique and special friends was my aunt Rosemary Kennedy.

She had a huge heart, a one of a kind smile, piercing blue eyes, and her favorite day of the year was her birthday. She also happened to be a person with intellectual disabilities.

I also realized that despite her disabilities, she had an amazing ability to swim. She swam better than any other Kennedy!

I learned at a young age that no matter who the person is or how different he or she may appear, each person has a unique talent. It is our challenge to discover that talent, celebrate and rejoice around it.

I decided in college that every young person should learn that lesson in school when they are young and looking for direction and a passion. If we instill a sense of acceptance in all young people, imagine what a different community we would all share, not to mention how high we would lift our lives and the lives of our “buddies.”

This simple idea of friendship has become a global movement, mostly because of friends all over the world deciding that they want to join the team and do something fantastic for themselves and their community.

Best Buddies was born out of that spirit. It is my hope that those of you who are a bit lost or looking for direction will dig deep and discover in your heart what your true passion is through the joy of friendship.

My goal is for all of us to work relentlessly in support of Best Buddies so that we can achieve our goal of reaching 50 countries by the end of 2010.

I hope all of you will follow the stories that will come in from each of our countries throughout 2010. We will hear a story from each of our international friends.

My story began in the USA, but please learn about all of our global stories as we feature a new country each week during 2010.

Join the Best Buddies movement for no other reason than to make a friend who will change your life from now until the day you die!

Anthony Kennedy Shriver
Founder and Chairman
Best Buddies International

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