Message from our State Director
When my son Silas was born with Down syndrome in 2000, my focus turned toward the issues facing people and families impacted by intellectual and development disabilities. In 2013, I began researching social inclusion programs that could support Silas when he reached high school. Despite a strong network of friends at his small school, he had few social opportunities outside of school. I quickly realized that Best Buddies was exactly what many parents and I were looking for and I made it my mission to bring Best Buddies to Ohio.
With tremendous support from family and friends, I created the Best Buddies Expansion Board in Ohio in 2014. Over two years we worked together to raise the funds, community awareness and support to bring launch an official Best Buddies office in Ohio, and this January (2016) we officially opened! I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to serve as State Director and bring our dream of friendship and inclusion to Ohio. Even more exciting is that Silas now has a Best Buddies friendship chapter at his high school.
Our talented and passionate volunteer Best Buddies Ohio Advisory Board, our event committees and our donors amaze and inspire me with their generosity. I am proud and excited about the work they are doing every day to spread our mission and connect us with the civic, educational and corporate community.
This year, we have grown our network and provided opportunities for friendship and inclusion across the state. We now have 19 school-based friendship chapters, and look forward to 2017, when we will establish our first Corporate Citizens chapters, additional school-based chapters and Ambassador trainings. It is such an exciting time for Best Buddies in Ohio and we welcome you as we strive to reach our goals of inclusion!