Meet Michael Taylor
“At 12 years old, my mother put me in Rosewood Center, an institution for people with disabilities. It was difficult being away from my family and friends, including those at Best Buddies Maryland. I was there until I turned 40 years old. Rosewood is now closed for good, and I am happy about that. The worst part about Rosewood Center was that I had no freedom. I wasn’t allowed to decorate my room and I could not even make a phone call to my family. I felt alone and sad.
“Now what I treasure most, and appreciate being a part of, is the Citizens Program. I have been matched with my friend Wayne since 2003. We have done so many things that I wouldn’t know where to start. We’ve hung out at the movies, gone to restaurants, attended a lot of Best Buddies Maryland Citizens events, attended sporting events (Go Os!) and I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad time.
“Although I am not part of the Jobs program, I feel like I am contributing to the success of the program as an employee of Best Buddies. I appreciate coming to work and interacting with my colleagues. Since one of my responsibilities is answering the phone, I also have an opportunity to connect with everyone who calls our office. State Director Vince Fiduccia recently commented on my work, saying ‘Michael is an integral part of our team at Best Buddies Maryland. He has an infectious attitude which makes our culture in the office so much better.’
“I have also been given the chance to advocate on behalf of individuals with IDD in the Ambassador Program. I have spoken to students ranging from middle school to college, adults at our Leadership Training Days, and at the Staff Leadership Conference several years ago. I’ve joined program managers on many school visits to simply introduce myself and share a little bit of my life story.”