Meet Daniel Noltemeyer
Daniel helped found Best Buddies Kentucky in 2009. He currently serves as a Best Buddies Ambassador at local, state, and national events; as a Best Buddies Kentucky Advisory Board Member; and also participates in the Best Buddies College Program at the University of Louisville.
Daniel embodies the Best Buddies mission because he takes an active role in our organizations global volunteer movement to create social change for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He is engaged in a one-to-one friendship with his buddy, Kayla –demonstrating that people with disabilities can make meaningful and important relationships; he manages two paid employment positions – showing the community that he is a skilled worker; and he is a leader and advocate for the Disability Rights Movement, which he displays through public speaking at the local, state and national level.
Daniel became involved in Best Buddies Kentucky through his brother, who served as a Faculty Advisor for the Best Buddies chapter at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Once Daniel heard about Best Buddies, he became involved with the University of Louisville chapter, where he served as the Buddy Director. Best Buddies Internationals Founder and Chairman, Anthony Kennedy Shriver, contacted Daniel and asked him to participate in the organizations annual Leadership Conference on the Buddy Ambassador Track. Since Daniels first Leadership Conference, he has gone on to advocate for people with disabilities throughout the nation, as well as within Kentucky.
Daniels mother, Lois Hart, said, “Heres a person with IDD that can say, Hey, look at me- I have gifts, I have talents, and I am here to make a difference in the world.”
When Daniel speaks on behalf of Best Buddies, he shares his personal story of social isolation and bullying, and why Best Buddies is so important to him, because he now is included within his community. He talks about his two jobs, and wants people to know that his disability does not matter when it comes to work; he is a hard worker, enjoys his work, and loves contributing at his workplaces.
Daniel also enjoys volunteering and wants people to know that people with disabilities love taking part in giving back to theircommunities. In fact, Daniel has been recognized both locally and nationally for his service to Best Buddies! He was a finalist in Louisvilles 2013 New Faces of Philanthropy Campaign (November 2013), and most recently was awarded the 2014 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, presented by the NASCAR Foundation (December 2014). Daniel was one of four nationwide finalists for the NASCAR Foundations highest honor, and was selected as winner through online votes. His win was huge both for him personally, and as a testament to society that people with disabilities are strong and compassionate leaders. His win also garnered a $100,000 grant awarded to Best Buddies Kentucky for the purpose of expanding into more schools within the state.
Daniel and his buddy, Kayla, enjoy hanging out at the movies, with their Best Buddies chapter, and spending time with each others families. They also served as the Honorary Buddy Pair for the 2014 Best Buddies Kentucky Champion of the Year Campaign, where they shared their story of friendship.
Kayla has said of Daniel, “Our friendship is no different than my other friendships because in my eyes Daniel isn’t different. If anything, he is extraordinary.