Meet Emma Brose & Samantha Weston
“My name is Emma and I am a senior attending Menomonee Falls High School. Ever since I was a little girl, the special education community was something I was very drawn to. Not knowing how to get involved, for many years I stayed off to the side. As I grew older, I looked for ways to get involved and jumped at the opportunity to join the Best Buddies chapter at my school as a junior, (the first year it was put in our school district). Hardly knowing any of the students with intellectual or developmental disabilities (buddies) involved, I decided to volunteer as a peer buddy, a student without a disability that is matched with one of the buddies.
“I knew I would be extremely busy my junior year, but I was determined to make this a priority in my life. The very first match party took place in October on a Wednesday. I was a bit apprehensive when walking in; realizing I only knew the Chapter President and Vice President, but none of the others.
“I happened to sit down next to two girls, and began a conversation with them. The girl sitting directly next to me was bubbly and friendly, and I instantly liked her. Pretty soon after, the officers announced they were going to give each person a silly band (fun bracelets in the shape of different objects), and we had to find the person who had the same one. As soon as I got my silly band, I glanced over and to my surprise the girl I had started a conversation with, Samantha, was holding the exact same one!
“Soon after, we began to exchange contact information and qualities about ourselves, even finding out that we went to the same church! We had been missing each other because they sat in the back and always headed out right away, while my family was on the opposite side. What are the odds?! I hardly doubted that this was a coincidence. She was the perfect buddy for me.
“Sitting in the cafeteria that night, I never could have imagined how extremely special Samantha would become in my life, and also how much of an impact Best Buddies as a whole would have on me. I never would have thought Id have the courage and patience that Best Buddies gave me. It has changed my perspective completely of people with IDD, and the extreme beauty that resonates from each person in the organization has changed my heart.
“Samantha is beautiful inside and out. She has a love for everything Taylor Lautner, and owns every CD there ever was (Im serious). She is an inspiration to me with her faith, always positive personality, and giggles. For the past two years, Samantha has become so much more than a buddy to me. She has become a constant friend, a source of joy in my life, and even more she has become a sister to me.
“Our relationship everyday requires attention and perfecting. We have been frustrated with one another, had to work through issues that have arisen, develop more patience, and learn to forgive each other. Like any friendship, it has required dedication. But we have also had some of the most wonderful times; laughter, hugs, eating out together, enjoying each others company and so much more.
“Those have far outweighed any problem that could have come up and has made our friendship so worthwhile and so beneficial in both of our lives. Samantha has opened my eyes to see things from her perspective many times. And from seeing that, it makes merealize how beautiful and fragile life is and how we need to take advantage of everyday and love the people around us unconditionally.
“My life is richer because of this beautiful young lady. I am incredibly grateful to Best Buddies for providing an opportunity for not only people with special needs to create life-long friendships, but for us as well. I hope that you can have a similar experience to mine and that your life is changed as a result.”