Emma LaCosse, Director of Operations and Programs, shares how Best Buddies’ mission has changed her life and the lives of her friends with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
When did you first get involved with Best Buddies?
During my freshman year of college.
What was your inspiration to become a Peer Buddy?
I have a younger sister with Down syndrome and I’ve always been passionate about inclusion of people with IDD and Best Buddies seemed like the most fitting organization for me to get involved with in college.
What inspired you to pursue a career with Best Buddies?
After participating in Best Buddies during college and learning more about the organization, I decided to pursue a concentration in the nonprofit sector and part of my concentration required an internship. I interned with Best
Buddies Illinois and that solidified a mission I knew I wanted to work for.
Can you recall your most memorable experience at Best Buddies?
There are so many memorable experiences, but one of my most memorable experience has been watching one of our participants, Jack Mayor, grow within the Best Buddies programs. I remember walking with him to an Ambassador Training session during the Best Buddies Leadership Conference in 2017. I asked him, “Jack, you’re graduating next year, what’s next for you?”He replied, “My dream is to speak around the world about how great of an organization Best Buddies is and what the organization means to me.” Six months later, he was doing just that. I had the pleasure of communicating with Jack and his mom over the course of his speaking engagements and will never forget the texts I received from his mom,
sharing how amazing their experience has been and what impact the organization has had on their family.
“That solidified a mission I knew I wanted to work for.”
Why are education and support so important for communities?
It’s important to educate the community about Best Buddies because friendships, meaningful employment and leadership opportunities are essential for fulfillment in anyone’s life, but unfortunately Emma LaCosse and her buddy Dana Wax these three pillars are not always easily accessible for someone with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Best Buddies’ mission bridges that opportunity gap.
What does Best Buddies mean to you?
Best Buddies gives equal opportunity for all to have an exciting and meaningful life. Just think about where you would be without your friendships, career and opportunities to impact others?
Why is it important for Alumni to reconnect with Best Buddies?
Alumni should reconnect with Best Buddies because there’s so many opportunities for someone to get involved and impact others in meaningful and creative ways.