Leadership Development program - Ambassador
In the fall of 2021, Best Buddies Minnesota Ambassador Allie Henley presented the following speech at Minnesota’s 4th Annual Champion of the Year Gala:
Hello! My name is Allie Henley and I want to share with you a bit about myself and why Best Buddies means so much to me. My middle and high school years were hard. I remember being in high school and never getting a phone call to hang out. That made me so sad. I didn’t have many friends in middle school and in high school; I just wasn’t included in activities. I was in a different lunch than most of my friends, so I often sat alone. Think back to your middle and high school years and think about not having friends by your side. It was not fun to say the least.
Instead of sitting back and just accepting this as the way my life would be, I started getting involved in activities geared towards individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). I became a Best Buddies Ambassador because I want to advocate for myself, and my peers within the IDD community.
I love that Best Buddies helps connect people with and without IDD who have similar interests. I am part of the Best Buddies Citizens adult friendship program and the day I was matched with my buddy Nicole was a day filled with excitement. My buddy and I are a perfect match. We are both disability advocates, we’re also both great public speakers, and we love to have lots of fun together. So far, we have gone to the farmer’s market, to some coffee shops and eaten outside at restaurants during the pandemic.
I am excited to see so many people advocating for people with IDD through Best Buddies. It is important to have our voices heard and it’s important to be included. That’s what the Best Buddies’ Ambassadors program does so well. – Allie, Best Buddies Minnesota Ambassador