Bloomington, Ind. (July 14, 2016) – Summer vacation will hold a special meaning for more than 2,200 student leaders, volunteers, and staff from Best Buddies International’s programs around the world, who will participate in the 27thAnnual Best Buddies Leadership Conference on July 22-25 at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
This year’s Leadership Conference theme is “All For Best Buddies” – a theme that emphasizes the importance of commitment and dedication to the Best Buddies’ mission, and will provide conference attendees with an opportunity to network with their peers from around the world. During the event, individuals will learn, grow and foster a cultural shift in their community for inclusion and acceptance. The conference will celebrate the incredible impact volunteers with and without IDD are making in the world as a result of their leadership. Attendees will receive lessons from global leaders in the disability rights movement; watch inspiring performances; witness moving testimonies; and attend compelling and empowering education sessions. Attendees will return from BBLC inspired, motivated, and prepared to change the world.
In addition to interactive educational sessions and workshops, conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in fun and engaging activities including a Rio Carnival Celebration, and view a screening of the documentary The Family Next Door. Attendees will also participate in a Friendship Walk on Saturday July 23 from 6:30PM-9:00PM, that will concluded with festivities in Dunn Meadow.
“Best Buddies’ global volunteer movement is changing the world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and creating a more inclusive community,” said David Quilleon, Senior Vice President, Global Mission, State Development & Operations. “These student leaders are the catalyst for all of our programs and I’m excited to see how they leverage our mission of friendship, jobs, and leadership development as agents for social change in their schools and communities.”
The Opening Ceremonies (open to media) will take place at the Indiana University Auditorium from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, July 22 and will include a welcome address from Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International, and the annual Best Buddies International chapter awards. Opening Ceremonies will also feature Best Buddies Global Ambassadors and actresses Lauren Potter and Jamie Brewer. Best Buddies Global Ambassador and Beauty and Pinups Spokesmodel Katie Meade will also attend the opening ceremonies, as well as speak throughout the conference.
Guest speakers and performers scheduled to attend this year’s conference includes:
- Shasta Nelson, a friendship expert, Founder and CEO ofcom, and author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen and Frientimacy
- Jonathan Murray, Born This Way Executive Producer
- Canaan Sandy, 2013 ESPN Fan Hall of Fame and Best Buddies Arkansas Community ImpactAward Winner
- Lisa Smith, Interpretive sign language artist
- Marlana VanHoose, Singer and Pianist
- Brittany Maier, Pianist
The weekend’s festivities will conclude at Closing Ceremonies (open to media) inside the Indiana University Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 24.
The opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the Saturday educational sessions will be streamed live at www.bestbuddies.org/bblc.
For additional information about the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference, please contact Natalie Siebert, State Director of the Indiana chapter, at NatalieSeibert@bestbuddies.org or 317.436.8440.
ABOUT BEST BUDDIES INTERNATIONAL:
Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,900 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ eight formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs, Ambassadors, and Promoters — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in over 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 900,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org, facebook.com/bestbuddies or twitter.com/bestbuddies.
For media inquiries (including requests for credentials):
305-374-2233 ext. 203
317-436-8438 ext. 41