A Special Gala
“As we lose ourselves in the service of others we discover our own lives and our own happiness” -Dieter Uchtdorf.
I had an incredible time at the 2017 Best Buddies Gala! Walking in, I was greeted by the happiest, sweetest buddies who were beyond excited for the celebration! The event was beautiful, fun, inspiring and a huge success. Anthony Kennedy Shriver founded Best Buddies in 1989 after growing up and seeing the incredible impact of Special Olympics, which was started by his mother, Eunice Shriver, in 1968. This year is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Special Olympics. I admire the Kennedy-Shriver family and all they have done to break social barriers and promote inclusion for all people of all abilities.
Three years ago, I became a partner player with Special Olympics and this year an ambassador. During this time, I also got involved with Best Buddies, a natural extension of SO. Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement. It creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies helps them form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, improve public speaking, self-advocacy and communication skills, and feel valued by society.
They’re doing just that at one of my favorite indulgences…Howdy Homemade. Howdy is a fabulous ice cream store where they empower special needs heroes to succeed far beyond what most people think is possible…and make some pretty yummy ice cream while they’re at it! Their motto is, “you’ll come for the ice cream and stay for the people,” and it’s so true. Remember never to underestimate, under value or put limitations on anyone.
I can truly say that working with both of these organizations have impacted my life in the most incredible ways. I’m a more understanding, patient, compassionate, and empathetic person. I would encourage everyone to get involved in service and giving back to their community. Dieter Uchtdorf said it best, “As we lose ourselves in the service of others we discover our own lives and our own happiness.”