Samantha and Stephany, Hawaii’s Dynamic Duo
Meet Samantha Pires and Stephany Yee-Autele, our dynamic duo. They first met in 2016 at Kapolei High School. They have embraced the true meaning of a one-to-one friendship in only one year. Samantha was recruited as the Chapter President because of her great personality, willingness to learn new things and her ability to lead groups of individuals. A current junior at the high school, she has an amazing resume, stellar academics and is involved in National Honor Society, taking advanced AP courses, and plays a number of musical instruments and sports. Stephany, a sophomore and buddy director is a perfect match as she equally has made a name for herself.
Stephany mentions, “before Best Buddies, I didn’t say much because I was shy and sad that people always looked at me differently. Now I am able to be myself because Best Buddies lets me meet new friends and I can help others too.”Stephany continues to break down barriers of acceptance not only in her school but in the community. She has received training both nationally and locally on the mission and how to run a chapter. Her participation at the Best Buddies Leadership Conference in 2016 has inspired her to begin the process of writing her story and sharing it with people at the Annual Friendship Walk, Local Advocacy
Stephany continues to break down barriers of acceptance not only in her school but in the community. She has received training both nationally and locally on the mission and how to run a chapter. Her participation at the Best Buddies Leadership Conference in 2016 has inspired her to begin the process of writing her story and sharing it with people at the annual Best Buddies Friendship Walk, local advocacy training sessions, conferences hosted by the state, and at fundraisers. She has received multiple awards for her enthusiasm and success at her school. Stephany has been a great role model for her peers and in her friendship with buddy Samantha.
This year, Samantha and Stephany have spent a lot of time getting to know one another and finding new ways of spreading awareness about Best Buddies. They meet frequently and enjoy spending time watching movies, shopping at the local malls and having sleepovers.
“I love hanging with Stephany because she lets me be who I am and I know that I don’t have to be someone else around her”, says Samantha.
March 2017, the buddy pair attended a Youth Summit at the Hawaii State Capitol that gave student leaders from high schools statewide the opportunity to share what challenges youth face today. Breakout sessions provided the buddy pair time to share information about the Best Buddies friendship program, network with other peers as well as practice their stories amongst state legislatures and representatives.
This dynamic duo inspires Best Buddies staff in Hawaii to continue establishing more friendship programs. They both dream of going to the college of their choice and gaining employment to support themselves. We are so proud of all the work they are doing and are honored to have the chance to witness their journey as a buddy pair and as true friends.