Thank you for a Successful 2017
Best Buddies Wisconsin would like to thank all of our participants, supporters, volunteers, and donors for a fantastic 2017! We have so many successes in 2017 to be thankful for.
We added five new school chapters in the 2017-18 school year: Nature Hill Intermediate, Clarendon Elementary, Shorewood Intermediate, North Middle School, and Jefferson High School. We now serve 50 school chapters and more than 3,300 participants!
Our Citizens program continues to grow and now has 95 active participants. We had six Citizens group events this year, including a March Madness Party, a potluck picnic, and a bowling event. We also trained 13 Ambassadors through a series of workshops including Novice, Advanced, and Media Etiquette training.
January kicked off with the fourth annual Project: Inclusion, which saw nearly 150 Best Buddies Wisconsin participants come together at the Northwest YMCA for training on building inclusive communities and improving leadership skills.
All-Chapter Dance & Spread the Word to End the Word
In March, we celebrated Best Buddies Month with the All-Chapter Dance and the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. Chapters held many events to end the use of the “r-word” – from banner signings to videos, and assemblies. Thank you to all those who pledged to never use the r-word!
Best Buddies at the Brewers Game & Tailgate
Another highlight of the year, the Best Buddies Brewers Game and Tailgate, was a lot of fun for the more than 800 in attendance. A visit from some players, games, and of course, plenty of tailgate food, made for a great time!
Best Buddies Golf Outing, presented by Eggers Imprints
The Best Buddies Golf Outing presented by Eggers Imprints continues to grow every year! Nearly 200 golfers enjoyed the gorgeous weather at North Shore Country Club on May 15, while raising money for local Best Buddies programs. Huge thanks to Advisory Board Member Dan Eggers for championing this event.
Best Buddies Friendship Walk
More than 700 people walked for friendship and inclusion along the Milwaukee Riverwalk on May 20th. The Best Buddies Friendship Walk is our biggest fundraising event and is the single largest Best Buddies event in Wisconsin! We are so thankful to ManpowerGroup for once again hosting.
Best Buddies Leadership Conference: Pass The Torch
July saw the biggest Best Buddies Leadership Conference yet! More than 2,200 student leaders from around the world took over Indiana University for three days of training, inspiration, and idea sharing.
Best Buddies Wisconsin sent fifty-nine chapter leaders, four Ambassadors, six conference volunteers, three board members, seven staff, and one intern! Everyone left Bloomington, Indiana feeling energized and ready to spread the message of inclusion in their schools and communities.
Best Buddies Leadership Breakfast
The annual Best Buddies Leadership Breakfast, held October 26th, was a celebration of all Best Buddies Wisconsin participants and supporters. Congratulations to our Spirit of Inclusion award winners, Don Weber and Stephanie Graham! We continue to be inspired by those who live the mission of Best Buddies every day.
One of the most impactful moments of the morning was when Magaly spoke about the friendship between her daughter, Tatyana, and her peer buddy, Ava.
“Tata’s face brightens up the moment she sees Ava. The amount of joy she has is easily seen through her expressions, giggles, reaches, and how her hands shake with excitement as she awaits a hug from Ava.
“I can tell you that when they spend time together my worry fest can slow down for a bit because I notice how much she is enjoying herself. In this process, Ava has learned how to care for Tatyana and in turn, Tata has learned how to show Ava how to interpret her needs and be there as her advocate.
“For instance, going to the mall, the museum, after-school Best Buddies parties, visiting her classroom, going to the Sensory Needs Nutcracker performance, The Best Buddies golf outing event, several lunch outings, The HS Winter Formal and the Angelman Syndrome Walk have strengthened the girls relationship in a short period of time by allowing them to learn to communicate effectively in a way that not many others would comprehend.
“Honestly, life without Best Buddies would not ever allow us to gain the many positive memories that we share as a family…The Best Buddies program has not only brought Tatyana and Ava together but our families have also connected very well which would not have happened without this program.”
Those who were in the room that day can attest, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after Magaly spoke!
But the truth is, none of this would have happened without YOU. Without your support, buddies like Ava and Tatyana might never have met. Without your support, there would be no Best Buddies.
So THANK YOU to everyone who has helped make 2017 a success. Your belief in our mission allows us to continue to grow our programs and events in Wisconsin. If you would like to contribute with a year-end gift, please visit our donation page at the link below.