Meet Lisa Klaw & Nicole Whalen
Nicole and Lisa exemplify the mission of the Best Buddies Friendship program. Lisa was very shy when she first joined the program and would often hide to avoid social situations. After meeting Nicole, her confidence grew. Lisa is now a member of Nicole’s family and they are always laughing and having a great time together. In 2014 Lisa and Nicole spoke at two of Best Buddies Illinois’ statewide events and shared their Best Buddies experience. Speaking in front of a crowd was something Lisa was never comfortable with but now she often asks, “When is the next time I can give a speech?” This pair truly personifies the benefits and importance of one-to-one friendships.
“My name is Lisa and I am a participant in the Best Buddies Citizens and Ambassador programs. My life before joining Best Buddies was difficult because I was often teased for being in special education classes and I became very shy. One year when I went to visit my sister in California she introduced me to her buddy. She told me about the Best Buddies program and helped me sign up to get involved in Illinois. I hoped through joining I would gain new friends and learn to open up more.
My buddy Nicole and I were matched on January 11, 2007. We love to go out to restaurants, the movies, volunteer together, and we even spoke at the Best Buddies Illinois Gala together. I feel that I am a part of Nicole’s family and have seen her daughters grow up.
Since joining Best Buddies I have more confidence in myself. This is a great organization for anyone who wants a friend because this organization accepts people for who they are. I look forward to many more years of being Nicole’s friend.”