Best Buddies Missouri was started with a dedicated group of passionate people coming together in 2013 with one shared vision; help the Show-Me State better understand, accept and include people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Their commitment and leadership has created countless opportunities for people with IDD to have access one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development programs.
The Best Buddies Missouri office officially opened doors in January 2016, which at the time operated three (3) College Friendship Programs. Today, there are 27 school-based programs (and counting) empowering youth with and without disabilities to build meaningful friendships with each other at and away from school and assert themselves as leaders for inclusion in their community.
More than 70 student and community volunteers have represented Missouri at the Best Buddies Leadership Conference in Indiana, which prepared them with valuable skills to help programs positively impact nearly 4,000 people with and without disabilities across the entire state of Missouri.
Missouri currently offers five (5) Programs led by three mission pillars; Friendship, Jobs and Leadership Development. All programs are designed to foster more equitable, diverse, inclusive, collaborative and accountable communities. The vision for Missouri is to offer all eight (8) Best Buddies Programs by 2020, including the introduction of Best Buddies Jobs. To achieve this goal we need your help.
Below are a few ways how you can be a part of the movement:
- Attend an event
- Join a Committee (Friendship Walk, Champion of the Year, Advisory Board, Program)
- Launch a school or corporate program
- Host and/or Lead Program Training
- Make A Donation
- Meet us and share how you want to advance the mission
For me Best Buddies is more than a passion, it is a way of life. My parents taught my sisters and me, that no one person was more valuable than the other, that we each possess the abilities and qualities that prepare us to live our best lives. Growing up it never occurred to me that my dad, who has a prosthetic leg, was different from any of the other parents. In fact when asked if I have a family member with a disability, my reply is no. I spent my childhood watching my parents play couples tennis, coach youth softball, dance to Motown and lead by example. There was always a focus on what they can do, not what they can’t. And that is how I chose to lead Best Buddies in Missouri.
It is an honor to guide mission advancement initiatives focused on empowering you to be the difference that makes Missouri ‘MO’ Inclusive for all.