20th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference 2023
ALABAMA SENDS EIGHT REPRESENTATIVES TO THE 2023 BEST BUDDIES LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA
Birmingham, Alabama – August 25, 2023 – Eight Best Buddies representatives from Alabama attended the 2023 Best Buddies Leadership Conference: Reunited for Inclusion in Bloomington, Indiana, from July 21-July 24, 2023.
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 two years of virtual Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC) and one year of localized leadership conferences, BBLC returned to Indiana University, with this year’s event theme being Reunited for Inclusion. The leadership conference prepared student leaders to operate the Best Buddies chapters at their schools, which involves recruiting new members, planning group activities for their chapters and promoting social integration for people with IDD.
The Alabama office, which has approximately 60 participants across its Friendship and Leadership programs, was opened in 2023. Alabama sent eight representatives to BBLC, which consisted of two staff, one Community Leader, and five students.
“My experience at BBLC was simply life-changing,” Chapter President at University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alex Hayes, said. “Being there as a representative of Alabama and the Expansion Programs made it an unforgettable experience that empowered me to bring the energy and change that I received at the conference back to my state and my campus community. I loved connecting with fellow advocates from across the nation while championing both friendship and inclusion. This conference taught me so much about leadership, accessibility, belonging, and diversity. I do not believe that this experience can be found elsewhere which makes me extremely grateful to have been a part of BBLC 2023 this year.”
Nearly 2,000 students, leaders, volunteers and staff members, representing Canada, Chile, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey and the United States traveled to participate in the conference. Students, selected to participate in the conference for their active leadership roles within Best Buddies, attended a series of interactive workshops focusing on leadership development, community service, civic responsibility, IDD and volunteerism. The leadership conference was live-streamed and showcased the amazing performances, speakers and education sessions that took place this year.Learn More About Best Buddies