Finding Stability & Inspiration Through Best Buddies
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.
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.