Best Buddies Leadership: Becca’s Story
Hello everyone! My name is Becca Barnett. I am an Ambassador for Best Buddies in North Florida and I also have DeGeorge Syndrome. Doctors told my parents that I would never be able to interact with other kids and they would make me sick. A few days after my birth the doctors told my parents that I would need multiple open-heart surgeries. They tried to convince my parents not to do the surgery. Of course, my parents did not listen. They gave me a chance. After the surgeries, doctors told my parents I would have five years. This year I celebrated my 25th birthday!
Middle school was a challenging time for me. I had a speech impediment that made it impossible to interact with others. I had a difficult time connecting with people. I went to speech therapy and worked hard every day to overcome these challenges. Now look at me today, I am an ambassador!
I joined Best Buddies in high school, and everything changed. I met my friend Mary Grace, and the rest is history. Or should I say, I created history? My friendships through Best Buddies helped me branch out in my school. I was the first individual with a disability to be invited to be a part of our Varsity Cheerleading team – go Sharks! I was also the first person with a disability to become Chapter President in the state of Florida. Through my leadership, I have attended the Best Buddies Leadership Conference, participating in leadership development trainings to continue to grow my leadership and public speaking skills alongside 2,000 people who care about making the word a more inclusive place.
I made many great friends that I still have today. These people are my best friends and will always be. In March 2024, I look forward to being a bridesmaid in my best buddies’ wedding! It has been so fun to go dress shopping and prepare for the bridal shower for my best buddy! I’ve also started a new job as a hostess at Cruiser’s Grill. It is so fun to have a community of coworkers to collaborate with and build new friendships, while also gaining more work experience!
For me, Best Buddies was the door to getting to my true self. I started with the hope of feeling a part of a group, and I found a family. My participation in Best Buddies has taught me how to advocate for myself and people like me throughout my community. Now I get to be a part of the revolution of inclusion. Best Buddies not only cultivated my voice but amplified it. I am now the best version of myself because of Best Buddies. I am an advocate, a proud leader, and proud to be a part of the group that is creating space for us all to become the best versions of ourselves.
Thank you for reading my story and Go Best Buddies!