Christina Hundley: Gaining Confidence Through Best Buddies
Hello, everyone! My name is Christina Hundley and I am a Best Buddies Ambassador and participant at the University of South Florida (USF).
I was born at Tampa General Hospital in 1983; I was raised by my aunt, BJ, in Florida after my parents dropped me off at my grandmother’s house and never came back. School was hard for me.
I was teased until I found Best Buddies in middle school. My bond with my middle school buddy helped me because I felt protected from everyone’s teasing and her friendship gave me something to look forward to every day. My Best Buddies’ friendships carried me through high school and now through college at USF where I am a part of the STAGES (Successful Transition After Graduation for Exceptional Students) program.
With the support of my Best Buddies’ friendships, I gained the confidence to find a job at the Fresh Food Company at USF where I’ve worked for the past 12 years.
The friendships that I’ve made through Best Buddies and my job have put me on the road to independence and success. Gaining friends and being independent are two things I hold dear, but singing also has a special place in my heart! At the age of nine, my aunt gave me a karaoke machine to help me open up more.
My love of music flourished. Best Buddies helped me take my love and passion for singing and share it with the world. I’ve had the opportunity to sing at Best Buddies Friendship Walks in Tampa and have been invited to sing at the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle in California and the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port in Massachusetts.
Of all my accomplishments, I am proudest of winning the 2016 Buddy Talent competition and traveling to the 27th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference in Indiana to perform on stage in front of thousands of people (see video above). I’ve had a lot of amazing experiences thanks to Best Buddies!
In closing, I want to leave you with a thought on one of my favorite words: “unique.”The word is defined as “being the only one of its kind.” Nobody shares exactly the same combination of traits, characteristics or hobbies. The moral of my story is that it is who you are and what you do that matters — not how you look.
Best Buddies helped me find my “uniqueness” and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished thanks to this great organization.