Message from our State Director
Best Buddies Ohio was started with a dedicated group of friends coming together in 2014. By 2016, we raised enough community support to launch an official Best Buddies office in Central Ohio. The goal was to create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development.
Today, there are 26 school-based programs pairing friends, we have brought more than 60 students to the Best Buddies Leadership Conference in Indiana, and we have led six leadership Ambassador training sessions. These programs have positively impacted nearly 2,000 people with and without disabilities across the entire state of Ohio. Along with staff, the talented group of individuals making up the Ohio Advisory Board have planned many events with the goal of expanding this programming and raising awareness.
Our work will not stop here. By 2020, Best Buddies wants to be a household name across the United States. In Ohio, we will expand our programs across the state and eventually launch the Best Buddies Jobs program to achieve that goal.
I encourage you to join us by:
- Attending an event
- Volunteering for our Friendship Walk Committee
- Launching a school program with the Ohio Program Manager, Emily Reed
- Having your company launch a corporate citizens program in Ohio
- Meeting with us to see how you can advance the mission and impact inclusion
While attending a session at the Best Buddies Leadership Conference in 2017, I heard many students and parents speak about how the power of friendship has changed their life. Katie Meade, Best Buddies Global Ambassador, said something that resonated with me and I think about every day. She said, “DON’T LIMIT ME!” My greatest hope for Best Buddies Ohio is to work ourselves out of a job – to live in this great state where all people feel included and are given the opportunity to offer their gifts to our communities. Together, we are going to change the world!