Coming off a previously challenging year, the 2015-2016 school year was different for our DePaul University chapter. Before the start of the school year, my Vice President (VP) and I attended the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference in July of 2015. We watched in awe at the Chapter of the Year awards being given out to chapters from around the world during the opening ceremony.
My buddy’s name is Emma. We met through the Best Buddies Citizens program. We have been Buddies for several years. One of our first outings was to see the Christmas Lights at the Brookfield Zoo. We went with the Best Buddies Citizens group and we had a great time. It was a good start to our friendship.
In June of this year, Best Buddies started what promises to be a long-term partnership with an up-scale grocery store, Heinen’s. Originated in Cleveland, Ohio in 1929, Heinen’s is a family-owned and operated store.
The Best Buddies Jobs program differentiates itself from other employment networks because of a model of full-lifecycle employment services for our participants and employers. Part of the lifecycle includes seeking opportunities for Jobs participants to grow professionally whether it is in the workplace or other outside opportunities.
On July 22nd, more than 100 participants from Best Buddies Illinois traveled to Bloomington, Indiana to join over 2,300 student leaders from around the world for the 27th Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference…
The Jobs staff from Best Buddies Illinois recently attended the Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst (APSE) conference in Cincinnati, Ohio along with other Jobs staff from across the county. APSE aims to provide a space for like-minded people and organizations with similar values to discuss successes and challenges that are still very relevant in the community.
Advisors play a key role in helping lead our school-friendship chapters to success! They are classroom educators by day and leaders of change by night. In his first year as a faculty advisor at Belvidere North High School, Mr. McGill helped his chapter grow significantly by fostering 25 one-to-one friendship matches, engaging the associate (non-matched) members of the chapter in more activities, and helping develop and mentor his student officer board.
The first time that Chelsea and I hung out I was so nervous! What if she didn’t like hanging out with me? What if we didn’t have anything in common? When I first moved to Illinois I remember having these same exact thoughts when I began meeting new people.
A partnership is the association of two or more people. At Best Buddies, these associations are the heart of our mission each and every day. Just look at our school friendship programs. These programs operate in partnership with local schools and community host sites and involve the matching of two people in a one-to-one friendship.
Hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities isn’t just right, it’s good for business! Just ask Joe, a manager with Sodexo where one of our Jobs participants, Chris works. “He’s just a bundle of joy, always in a good mood and sharing his wisdom with the staff” says Joe.