Message from our State Director
Congratulations and thank you to all of our buddies, peer buddies, student leaders, volunteers, donors, sponsors, and supporters. R. Sargent Shriver, whether best known as the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, father of Anthony Kennedy Shriver or founder of the Peace Corps, is credited with saying “What can change the world today is the same thing that has changed it in the past – an idea and the service of dedicated, committed individuals to that idea.”
That quote is from 20 years ago and yet still rings true today for our movement of inclusion. What is it that we are changing? We are changing the way people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are viewed in our world in 2016. And, how are we doing it? It is through the enthusiastic and steadfast efforts of students and adults, friends and families, community leaders and champions in government!
In Delaware this past year, our school friendship programs created over 250 one-to-one friendships with more than 500 other students taking on leadership roles in their schools or communities as associate members. Our Citizens Program experienced our largest number of matches ever with nearly one hundred adults with and without IDD paired in one-to-one friendships. We embarked on our most ambitious recruitment effort since the program began in 2008 by focusing our efforts on recruiting adults in southern Delaware where we recognize the unique challenges that exist due to population size, geography, and resources, to name a few.
Our team of Anne Karwath, Shannon Kowal, and Michael Pasquale, along with our wonderfully caring Advisory Board Members look forward to 2016 with great energy and excitement, knowing we have accomplished much yet understanding that there is so much we still need to do to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are accepted for their many gifts!
My thanks to everyone for welcoming me to Best Buddies Delaware in 2015. Please join me as we continue to break down barriers of indifference and narrowness and build bridges of respect and tolerance.