Student Leaders from Around the World to Unite at the 29th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference in Indiana
Bloomington, Indiana, July 16th, 2018 — Best Buddies International, a groundbreaking nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver to establish 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), is excited to announce the 29th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference: This Is Me in Bloomington, Indiana, on July 20-22.
The Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC) brings together leaders with and without IDD from middle schools, high schools, colleges, and communities worldwide, providing chapter leaders and ambassadors personalized training that develops the leadership skills needed to organize a Best Buddies chapter. Over 2,300 student leaders, 350 Best Buddies staff, and over 50 guest speakers and performers are expected to attend. Participants from the following countries will also be in attendance: Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Haiti, Hong Kong, Macau, Mexico, South Korea and Thailand.
This year’s Leadership Conference theme is “This Is Me” which emphasizes the importance of being your true, unapologetic self. 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 educational sessions.
“Best Buddies empowers the special abilities of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by helping them form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, and feel valued by society,” said David Quilleon, Senior Vice President, Global Mission, State Development & Operations. “This global volunteer movement is all about changing the world for people with IDD and our student leaders attending Leadership Conference this weekend are the catalyst for all our programs.”
Special guests expected at this year’s Leadership Conference include:
Larger Than Life (Band)
BEST BUDDIES: THE HIP-HOP MUSICAL performance
Speakers: Jimmy Page, Christopher Gray, Frank Kitchen, Jennifer Powers, Gail Williamson and Brian Donovan
In addition to instructional sessions and workshops, attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in many interactive activities, such as leadership development classes and roundtable sessions with global leaders, educational panels comprised of professionals engaged in the disability rights community, movie screenings, and a Friendship Walk, as they connect with experienced student leaders to share tools and techniques for success.
The opening ceremonies will take place at the Indiana University Auditorium from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, July 20 and will include a welcome address from Anthony K. Shriver, inspiring speeches from Best Buddies participants, moving performances from Rebecca Black, Kechi Okwuchi and Larger Than Life, the annual Best Buddies International program awards, and a special memorial tribute by members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Best Buddies chapter.
The weekend’s festivities will conclude at closing ceremonies inside the Indiana University Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 22. The opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the Saturday educational sessions will be streamed at bestbuddies.org/bblc
For the first time this year, Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), a company focused on the intelligent movement of people and goods, will be bringing along its flagship product, Gita, to BBLC. Gita, a mobile-carrier that follows humans on the go, will roll alongside participants to raise awareness and support inclusion for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Attendees will return from BBLC inspired, motivated and prepared to change the world!
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 ext .41
The closing and opening ceremonies will be open to media.
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 nearly 2,500 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 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 1.2 million 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. 362