Message from our State Director
Best Buddies Hawai’i grew in 2018 thanks to starting off the year with a generous two year $45,000.00 grant from the Harold Castle Foundation. We were able to open 3 new schools and help bring friendship and inclusion to the Winward district.
The power of inclusion was in full force as our ‘Ohana showed up in full support for our annual Best Buddies Friendship Walk in March. With the help of generous sponsors and volunteers, our schools and corporate teams were able to create an inclusive event full of friendship and great entertainment.
Summertime was eventful and lucrative for Best Buddies Hawai‘i. On July 1, we received a grant from the Honolulu City Council for $124,500 to continue our Friendship programs. We also received continued funding from Maui County for $85,000. We are so grateful to receive such generous government funding.
The Best Buddies Leadership Conference is always a great time to have our participants meet other Best Buddies participants from around the world. We were fortunate to take a group of Maui and O’ahu participants to the 29th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference in Bloomington, Indiana. The participants were able to reconnect to the mission of Best Buddies and set goals for the upcoming school year.
We ended the year with our 7th Annual Friendship Jam – Champion of the Year event on Oahu. We blended a long-standing event model with a new one. On Maui, we had our first ever Maui Holiday Friendship Jam. Both events raised more money than we ever have in Hawaii. These events were a great way to have our Best Buddies ‘Ohana have fun together while also witnessing how friendship is impacting their community.
There are no other programs like ours in Hawai’i transforming the perception society has of people with disabilities. That is why we will continue to work with the community to put an end the social isolation that people with disabilities face.
As Best Buddies Hawai‘i moves forward through 2019, we are grateful for the continued support from government, private foundations, individual donors and the business community. We will continue to expand our programs throughout the state. Best Buddies has made a tremendous difference in our local schools and the community. We will continue to work tirelessly to promote our mission one friendship at a time.