Leaders from Around the World to Unite in the Name of Inclusion at the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference in Bloomington, IN.
Join us July 21-24 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Bloomington, Ind. (July 19, 2023) – Summer vacation will hold a special meaning for nearly 2,000 student leaders, volunteers, and staff from Best Buddies International’s programs around the world, who will participate in the event July 21-24th at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Best Buddies International is a groundbreaking nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
After a three-year absence from the conference being in person due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the theme for this year is Reunited for Inclusion. The conference will prepare the organization’s students leaders to be strong, passionate forerunners as they promote the mission of Best Buddies in their local schools and communities and inspire the world one person at a time.
“Best Buddies student leaders have been working to change the world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for almost 35 years and it all begins here with this inspiring conference,” said David Quilleon, Senior Vice President, Global Mission, State Development & Operations. “The trainings, guest speakers, and educational sessions are the catalyst for this incredible global volunteer movement that is creating communities and schools committed to fully integrating people with IDD.”
The Opening Ceremonies (open to media) will take place at the Indiana University Auditorium from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, July 21, and will include a welcome address from Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International, along with performances from participants Marlana Vanhoose, Lisa Smith, and special guests Jenson Gering, star of Nickelodeon comedy series, “Erin & Aaron” and “Anthem Lights” as well as the annual Best Buddies International chapter awards. This year’s notables scheduled to attend include several members of the cast of the film Champions — Joshua Felder, Madison Tevlin, and James Day Keith. Miss Teen USA Faron Medhi and Miss USA Morgan Romano, Billy Blanks, Jr., Yahoo Reporter and former contestant on the Bachelor, Garin Flowers; Actor Tanner Stine and Indiana’s very own Kid Quill will also be in attendance.
The conference will celebrate the incredible impact volunteers with and without IDD are making in the world as a result of their leadership and commitment to the Best Buddies mission. The conference theme will focus on the values of belonging, friendship, and inclusion strategies and provide conference attendees with an opportunity to network with their peers from states and countries around the world. In addition to interactive education sessions and workshops, conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in fun, engaging activities such as film screenings, pep rally and the annual end-of-conference party.
A TedTalk inspired roundtable of learning from a variety of notable speakers will take place with the goal of inspiring our leaders, as well as providing them with concrete ideas to drive our mission forward and continue to innovate when they return to their communities.
On Saturday night at 7:30 pm, July 22, the students will visit the iconic Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for a high-energy pep rally around inclusion along with an integrated celebrity basketball game featuring the Indiana Pacemates, Recording Artist Kid Quill, the Indiana RedStepper Dance Team, Ron Fulford, Jr, and stars from All Elite Wrestling.
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 23.
For more event information, visit bestbuddies.org/bblc.
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, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to nearly 3,000 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ nine formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors, Promoters and Inclusive Living — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 49 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 1 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 media inquiries:
Best Buddies International
305-374-2233, ext. 343