BBMN Newsletter: Summer 2022 Jun 30, 2022 | Minnesota News | Message Preview Hello BBMN families and friends, Summer is in full swing and so is Best Buddies! We are very excited to share our summer newsletter with you. There is a ton of information packed into this email, which is a testament to the growth and impact we've had in just two short years because this community believes in the power of inclusion. From exciting professional athlete visits and opening a record number of new school chapters to a memorable night under the sea, this spring was one for the books and summer is looking to be just as amazing. We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events or volunteer opportunities this summer! Katey DeMarais State Director, Best Buddies Minnesota Upcoming Events Celebrate International Friendship Day with Best Buddies Summer Picnic | Saturday, July 30th | 12 – 2 pm Register Now Best Buddies participants, volunteers, supporters and their families are invited to our 1st Annual Summer Picnic on Saturday, July 30th, at Bush Lake Park in Bloomington. Please join us for an afternoon of friendship and fun as we celebrate International Friendship Day with the Best Buddies Minnesota community. Food, drinks, and yard games will be provided. Catch Best Buddies in the Community Mark your calendar and visit the Best Buddies booth at the following community events: Gigi's Playhouse Fitness Fun for 21 Sunday, July 31st | 9:00 am Target Field Event details Cowchella Disability Literary and Music Festival Thursday, August 4th | 4:30 pm Springboard for the Arts Event Details PACER Symposium (About Children & Young Adults with Mental Health and Learning Disabilities) Tuesday, August 16th | 8:00 am Minneapolis Convention Center Event Details In Case You Missed It Best Buddies Friendship Walk Raised $83,175 for Minnesota Programs Thanks to the support from generous walkers, donors, and volunteers, these funds enable us to continue supporting our 20 school friendship chapters, three community adult friendship programs, and allow us to expand our life-changing programs to new schools and communities across the state. Thank you to our event partners, including our Presenting Sponsor, Allianz Life, for moving our mission forward. Read More View Photos Mission Moment: Friendship Program Highlights 1st Annual Best Buddies Prom Best Buddies participants had a blast at Best Buddies Prom in April, generously hosted by Eastview High School! Best Buddies Prom is a celebration of our school chapters and a chance for students with and without disabilities across the state to share in our mission of friendship. Over 100 students attended and danced the night away with friends! View Photos Chapter Shoutout Our Top School Team at the Friendship Walk this year, Minnetonka Middle School West, showed up in full force. They had 52 team members and raised $2,890. Way to go, MMW! Welcome, New Schools! This spring, we opened six new school chapters. A big Best Buddies welcome to Clear Springs Elementary, Dayton's Bluff Recreation Center, Black Hawk Middle School, Owatonna High School, Cooper High School, and Zimmerman High School. We can't wait to see the amazing impact these chapters have on inclusion at their schools! If you want to learn more about starting a Best Buddies chapter at your school, please reach out to Kai Walsh at email@example.com. Better Together: Community Partner Highlight Tackling Exclusion One Friendship at a Time with the Minnesota Vikings This spring, two of our school chapters, Falcon Ridge Middle School and Excelsior Elementary, had exciting visits from Minnesota Vikings Players Harrison Phillips, Kenny Wilkes, and Josh Metellus. Students and staff had fun getting to know each player and sharing the importance of inclusion. The Vikings have been a committed partner of ours since 2018. View Photos Get Involved: New Opportunities for 2022 Join Our Gala Committee Looking for a way to get involved? Best Buddies Minnesota is looking for people to join our Gala Subcommittee, a group of dedicated volunteers who work to support the annual Best Buddies Gala. Open roles include helping with the silent auction (securing and styling baskets) and logistics (planning, decorating, and setting up the event). The Champion of the Year Gala is on November 11th. Interested? Reach out to our Gala Chair, Jess Scheu, at Jessicalscheu@gmail.com. We're Growing Our Ambassador Program Best Buddies Ambassadors is welcoming new participants to join our team of community advocates and leaders! Our Ambassador program educates and empowers people with and without IDD to become leaders, public speakers, and advocates. Participants attend free training courses with Best Buddies staff and have the opportunity to speak and represent Best Buddies at community events. Anyone age 14 and up interested in learning more can contact Kai Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org. Disability Awareness: Did You Know? This Pride Month, we celebrate LGBTQIA+ individuals, including those with disabilities. Research shows that LGBTQIA+ people are more likely to have a disability than the general population. The fight for LGBTQ+ rights and disability rights go hand in hand, from workplace protections to healthcare access. Known as intersectionality, studying the complex barriers faced by people with multiple, historically marginalized identities is critical to fully understand and address inequities in health outcomes and access to care. The fight for access to meaningful employment, social acceptance, healthcare, and more are shared by many marginalized identities and must be looked at through an intersectional lens. Disability rights are LGBTQIA+ rights, and Best Buddies promotes the inclusion of all individuals with IDD, including LGBTQIA+ individuals. Happy Pride month from Best Buddies Minnesota! Learn More Buddy Spotlight: Meet Elijah and Shelby New Twin Cities Citizens buddy pair Elijah and Shelby enjoyed some music and sunshine together at Groovin' in the Garden at Como Park this month. Adults 18+ with and without disabilities are welcome to join our adult friendship program. Visit bestbuddies.org/join to apply. Save the Date Champion of the Year Friday, November 11th | Quincy Hall Register Now Best Buddies in the News Best Buddies Fosters Lifelong Friendships Read Story Harrison Phillips: A Nurturer by Nature Read Story To receive the latest Best Buddies news and announcements, click here. Tags: minnesota news 5 Share You also might be interested in BBMN Newsletter: February 2022 Feb 22, 2022 Winter Newsletter: New school chapters, upcoming events, buddy highlights and more! Best Buddies Summer Newsletter Aug 5, 2020 Check out Best Buddies in Minnesota's summer newsletter! BBMN Newsletter: Fall 2022 Nov 3, 2022 Check out our Fall newsletter.