Best Buddies in California Newsletter: December 2021 Dec 9, 2021 | California News | Message Preview 2021 has been a year for the records here at Best Buddies in California. It is through your support that our programs and events have reached new heights! We are wishing you well this holiday season and hope you will feel inspired seeing the impact Best Buddies in California has made in 2021. An Incredible Year! 2021 has been a year for the records at Best Buddies in California. It is through your support that our programs and events have reached new heights! We are wishing you well this holiday season and hope you will feel inspired seeing the impact Best Buddies in California has made in 2021. A Year in Review Friendship Program Fostered 2000 friendships Opened 40 NEW chapters Jobs Program Served 253 individuals 61 NEW job placements Opened 2 new offices Leadership Program 27 NEW Ambassadors 160 Ambassadors Friendship Walk 2,111 Walkers Over $349,000 raised Champion of the Year 23 Champions competed Over $316,000 raised We love our Volunteers Meet Alyssa Ponratana, Leadership and Jobs Volunteer in Los Angeles Describe your current and previous involvement with Best Buddies? I volunteer with the ambassador and jobs programs! In the ambassador program, I mainly volunteer as a speech coach, but I also ran an ambassador training once. Additionally, I've worked with ambassadors on their bios. In the jobs program, I volunteer as a mock interviewer. Lastly, I'm the chapter president at The Archer School for Girls (shoutout to the Archer chapter!) What is your favorite Best Buddies memory? Out of all the amazing Best Buddies memories I've made this year, I would have to say my favorite one was my very first ambassador training, where I met my friend, Johny! We were paired together and had a great time thinking of ideas for his speech, writing it, and practicing it. We kept in touch after that training, and we've been friends (and a speech coach/ambassador duo) ever since. How has Best Buddies impacted your life? Best Buddies has honestly brought a light into my life. I love volunteering and meeting new people. The joy that everyone in this organization has is unmatched. I've made new friends, and it's incredible to know that I've impacted people's journeys in some way, whether that means I helped them get a job or advocate for themselves. Amir is Living the Best Buddies Misson! Amir has been in his job as an Office Assistant at Holland & Knight law firm for seven years and has grown exponentially both professionally and personally. Amir's main duties include tracking inventory of office and kitchen supplies, restocking those supplies as well as sorting, organizing, and delivering mail at the office. Through role-playing with his job coach, Amir worked up the confidence to ask his supervisor about expanding his duties, specifically so he could partake in printing, scanning, and helping to bind documents. His supervisor was on board! He is thrilled to have even more responsibility around the office. He also served as the campaign manager for his colleague, Karl, in their campaign for Champion of the Year. Over the years that Amir has participated in the Ambassador program, he has gained confidence in his public speaking skills. He has spoken at multiple Friendship Walk kickoff events for Holland & Knight and served on our Advisory Board this year. 2021 was a big year for Amir as he not only got engaged but also got married just last month! Additionally, Amir has been matched in our Citizens program for almost a year. Here's what he's had to say about his experience in our citizen's program: “I was matched with Andrew over a year ago. Andrew is very nice, patient, and friendly. We talk over zoom every other Tuesday about our week and what each of us is doing over the weekend. We also talk about movies and sometimes play games, such as Pictionary. What I appreciate about Andrew is that he likes movies and likes to travel. I appreciate my friendship with him by talking to him about movies, tv shows, and life in general.” Thank you for making a difference in Amir's life through supporting Best Buddies! Get Involved with Best Buddies Do you want to learn more about Best Buddies and how to get involved? Join our October orientation! In just 30 minutes, you will learn about our mission, programs, and local volunteer opportunities. Plus, you'll get to meet other awesome individuals interested in making an impact! December Volunteer Orientation Wednesday, December 15th 5:00pm-5:30pm | Zoom SIGN UP HERE Should you have any questions, contact RichardNakai@bestbuddies.org. To receive the latest Best Buddies news and announcements, click here. Tags: California News 6 Share You also might be interested in Project SEARCH and Community Health System Partnership Jun 3, 2022 Learn more about our partnership and get to know Jobs program participants, Deanna Best Buddies in California Newsletter: August 2021 Aug 2, 2021 A Summer of Best Buddies Best Buddies in California Newsletter: May 2022 May 20, 2022 MAY the BEST be yet to come!