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Society News

Miss Teen USA Stevi Perry from Hamburg Arkansas with a Buddy

Miss Teen USA Stevi Perry from Hamburg Arkansas with a Buddy
Photo by: Sara Herbert-Galloway




November 13th, 2008. New York City. Best Buddies Israel held a celebration onboard the Forbes' private yacht "The Highlander" at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers. Guests were treated to cocktails, and a beautiful sail around Manhattan while dining.

I learned about Best Buddies last spring when my friend Tatiana Platt was honored at The Crystal Pavilion in Palm Beach. I attended on her behalf and met many wonderful humanitarians including Mike Marcus, Best Buddies Vice President of National Marketing. Mike kept me informed about the progress of Best Buddies, I think it is an amazing charity that has grown rapidly. It's speed in touching individuals lives for the positive amazes me.

Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment.

Anthony visited Israel in 2006. As a result, Best Buddies is now bringing its model for friendship and employment programs to Israel. If funding goals are achieved a job program will be initiated in 2009. There are an estimated 280,000 Israelis with intellectual disabilities who will benefit from the much needed programs Best Buddies will provide.

Mission Statement: Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,400 middle school, high school, and college campuses across the country and internationally. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States and have accredited international programs on six continents with additional country programs under active development. There are six formal programs – Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e -Buddies and Jobs – it will positively impact more than 350,000 individuals this year. Best Buddies volunteers annually contribute services to the community that equate to more than $70 million USD.

Goal: Even though Best Buddies has advanced tremendously in our short existence, many areas of the country and many regions of the world still lack programs to help people with intellectual disabilities become part of mainstream society. Our goal is to continue expanding nationwide and at the local community level, while more broadly engaging the global community through our programs.

Photos and coverage by Sara Herbert-Galloway
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