Meet Patrick Wood
My name is Patrick Wood and I am a super senior at Centreville High School. I have been a part of Best Buddies for the past five and a half years. I have been involved in Best Buddies Ambassador trainings for the past three years.
As an ambassador, I have participated in numerous sessions on speech writing and presentation. These sessions give me the confidence to give my opinions and share my experiences with other people, both inside and outside of Best Buddies. I am grateful to all of the professionals who take time out of their day to work with me and help me to develop my speech ideas. They encouraged me to speak clearly and make eye contact with my audience, and let me know that I have value and can reach other people through public speaking.
The Best Buddies Ambassadors program is the reason that I am successful as a leader in my school chapter. I completed my first year as the peer buddy director in the spring of 2016. I continued in this position for the 2016-2017 school year and was responsible for setting up buddy relationships and coordinating events. I really enjoyed being in an officer position and also helping the student who became the peer buddy director for the 2017-2018 school year.
I attended my second Best Buddies Leadership Conference in July. At Leadership Conference, I received additional training as an ambassador and had the opportunity to talk with other people with IDD about increasing my independence. The environment at the conference is fun, social and informational. It takes place on a university campus and is filled with friends and people who care about me. I got to share a room with a peer buddy who helped me stay on track and who I still keep in touch with.
At the end of 2016, I was invited to participate, as an ambassador and a student leader, in a webinar series with buddies and student leaders in Russia. This is called the P2P Webinar Series and it was created to start a conversation with students with and without disabilities about disability rights and leadership for people with IDD. I attended my first two webinars in December and I am really excited about the discussions that will follow.
Finally, as my abilities as an ambassador have improved, I have become more interested in participating in all the opportunities that Best Buddies has to offer. I will attend Best Buddies events at other high schools even if I am the only one from my school present. I know that every Best Buddies event will have accepting people, who will value my friendship. I want to encourage other students to get involved with ambassador trainings because it has been great for me.