BENEFITING: Best Buddies International, Inc.
ORGANIZER: Best Buddies
EVENT DATE: Nov 01, 2015
On the surface, my sister Melanie and I seem to be polar opposites. She has red hair, I have brown. She loves to sing and dance, I can’t carry a tune. She is a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities and I am fortunate to live a typical healthy life. Yet despite all of these differences, those who know us well understand just how similar we really are. We both love Taylor Swift. We both went to college in the state of Virginia. And most of all, we are both extremely social and love to make new friends.
As my only sibling, best friend, and maid of honor in my wedding, Melanie has played an extremely important role in my life. I have chosen to run my second NYC marathon with a charitable organization that has played a special role in hers – Best Buddies.
Best Buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies first entered Melanie’s life when she was in high school. Since Melanie’s academic environment was different than that of a “mainstream” student, Best Buddies provided a way for her to establish friendships outside of her classroom. It allowed valuable social experiences like dances and outings in the local community. Melanie never wants to be limited by her disabilities so she thrived in the Best Buddies setting. She loved being able to walk down the halls of the high school, stopping to say hello and give hugs to all of her new friends!
Melanie continued her journey with Best Buddies at the George Mason “LIFE” program down in Virginia. In fact, its existence at GMU was a critical factor in her decision to travel so far from home. After 4 years of living on a college campus, Melanie is back at home with my parents in Rockville Centre, NY. While Best Buddies has an amazing presence in schools across the country, the adult network is somewhat limited. Melanie has no problem making friends- but in the absence of a network like Best Buddies, it is certainly more challenging to develop new relationships. My hope is with more funding, Best Buddies can explore the possibility of expanding their efforts so that adults like my sister, Melanie can still benefit from all of the amazing opportunities offered to her when she was younger.
I am so honored to run my second marathon on behalf of this wonderful charity. It is very easy to take friendship for granted. But as the older sister of someone to whom friendships mean the world, I can’t begin to emphasize the importance of Best Buddies. Your donation to Team Best Buddies NYC will support existing programs and increase the capacity to respond to the growing waitlist for school friendship programs (over 30 schools!) and the tremendous interest in starting a jobs program. What might seem like a small amount of money, will go a long way - every bit counts!
TEAM BEST BUDDIES NYC This is our third year as an official Community Charity Partner with the New York Road Runners for the NYC Marathon. Last year Team Best Buddies raised over $40,000 and this year our goal is to raise $52,000. By running with Team Best Buddies you will be making strides for social inclusion!
In love and friendship,