Best Buddies Programs
- Population Served:
Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,500 middle school, high school and college campuses across the country and internationally. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States. Furthermore, the organization has active international programs on six continents; with new country programs under active development. Our eight formal programs: Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, Jobs, e-Buddies, Ambassadors and Promoters will positively impact more than 700,000 individuals this year. Best Buddies also is systematically implementing its 2020 initiative that will witness the organization's continued significant growth, both domestically and overseas.
Program Long-Term Success:
Program Short-Term Success:
<p>• In honor of its 20th anniversary, Best Buddies updates it mission statement t “To establish 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).”<br />• For the first time, Best Buddies has programs in 50 countries around the world.<br />• Best Buddies Ambassadors becomes Best Buddies’ seventh formal program.<br />• Best Buddies Jobs expands to Washington D.C. and San Francisco, CA.<br />• Best Buddies Promoters officially launches as our eighth program for the 2012-2013 school year in high schools and colleges. In addition, Best Buddies Promoters becomes the first of our programs to open to elementary schools. </p>
Program Success Monitored by:
<div>Best Buddies defines a successful school-based chapter as one that facilitates new and positive friendships where matched participants maintain their commitment of contacting one another weekly and seeing each other twice per month. We also consider the number and quality of leadership trainings we hold, the number of friendships we make, and the number and quality of chapter activities in our evaluation of the project’s impact. We use four tools to evaluate the effectiveness of program activities. The first is the Friendship Update, a form completed monthly by the Chapter President (a student leader selected and trained by Best Buddies staff members to manage an individual school-based chapter) that logs the progress of Buddy Pairs. The second and third tools are a Mid- and End-Year Report, which student officers submit at the end of each semester. These reports detail chapter activities, number of matches, goals for the following semester, etc. Best Buddies' staff uses the information gleaned from these reports along with detailed information gathered throughout the semester from communication, observation, and chapter visits to complete their own comprehensive Mid- and End-Year Reports for each chapter. The last evaluation tool is the Best Buddies Annual Survey, developed by Dr. Michael Hardman, Dean of Education of the University of Utah, which analyzes factors such as whether participants enjoyed their experience, whether they would recommend it to others, and whether they gained a better understanding of the challenges faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
<p>The outcomes of our Jobs Program are measured using our Outcome Management System. This evaluation tool measures effectiveness, efficiency and customer satisfaction. Current measures include:</p>
<p>1. Participant satisfaction with services.</p>
<p>2. Employer satisfaction with services.</p>
<p>3. Amount of individuals maintaining employment for greater periods of time (job retention). </p>
<p>4. Number of participants moving from part-time to full-time employment.</p>
<p> </p>Best Buddies Jobs utilizes two forms—a Participant Satisfaction Survey Form and a Supervisor’s Evaluation of the Program—to follow up with the Best Buddies Jobs Participant and the Employer Partner to determine if the participant is satisfied, needs additional placement, or if the Employer Partner has questions or concerns. The surveys ask questions about the efficacy and helpfulness of the Jobs program and staff, company benefits, emotional well-being at work (including how the participant perceives the employer’s and co workers' attitudes toward him/her), and employment goals. Both the participant survey and supervisor evaluation forms are administered at 90-day, 180-day, and 12 month intervals. Employment Consultant’s are in continual communication with the Employer Partners to address their needs and provide ongoing training for the Best Buddies Jobs participant if needed.</div></div>
Program Success Examples:
<p>2012 Programmatic Accomplishments</p><p>Launched our eighth official program, Best Buddies Promoters. A promoter chapter is implemented at a school, usually private, that may not have a special education department. Currently, promoter chapters at 38 high schools and five middle schools in 12 states empower youth to become advocates for people with IDD. Students who take part in Best Buddies Promoters are introduced to the disability rights movement and the importance of the inclusion revolution through local awareness events.</p><p>Improved our outreach efforts to engage more volunteers in our work than ever before. In 2012, BBI had 3,440 middle school participants, 34,277 high school participants, and 16,431 college participants. An additional 3,100 volunteers participated in our Citizens, Jobs, and e-Buddies programs.</p><p>Organized an extremely successful 23rd Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference. In July 2012, nearly 1,500 middle school, high school, and college students and community leaders from around the globe attended this three-day conference. Our theme was “Inclusion Revolution”, which encouraged participants to think about the global effects of social inclusion of people with IDD. This year, Best Buddies provided 37 scholarships to disadvantaged student leaders who would not have otherwise attended. We also introduced the Best Buddies International Young Leaders Council (YLC). The YLC engages 20 young adults with and without IDD around the world to represent school-based friendship programs and serve as a liaison between BBI and their community. The YLC provides members with the opportunity to incorporate new ideas, build on existing programs, and share global initiatives with participants and staff.</p><p>Partnered with Special Olympics to celebrate the life and legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) Day was created in 2010 in her honor, to inspire people to experience her legacy, embrace the movement she founded to bring awareness to the disability movement, and champion the rights of people with IDD. The day promotes a global call for people to commit acts of inclusion, acceptance and unity. This year, the third Annual EKS Day was held on September 22nd throughout the U.S. and in 100 countries. Activities included playing sports, picnics, canned-food donations, leadership trainings, and pledges to stop the use of the R-word.</p><p>Played an important role in the campaign to eliminate the demeaning use of the R-word. On March 7, 2012, Best Buddies continued our partnership with Special Olympics and dozens of other organizations to raise awareness of the hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and encouraged people to pledge to stop using it. Hundreds of Best Buddies chapters across the country staged Spread the Word to End the Word assemblies and events at their schools. A 30-second PSA featuring BBI Board member Lauren Potter from “Glee” and co-star Jane Lynch made a call to action to stop using the R-word and to promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with IDD. More than 300,000 people made online pledges and 43 states have passed or introduced legislation to remove “mental retardation” from laws and replace it with more respectful people first language. </p><p>Continued building awareness and expanding Best Buddies Jobs. In 2012, the Jobs program actively supported 245 Individuals in the cities of Boston, Los Angeles, and Miami and added 33 new employers. In an effort to find and create more opportunities for employment of people with IDD, Best Buddies expanded the Jobs program to the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Area and Northern California. Our goal is to increase the number of people served annually to 280 with future expansion goals of bringing the Jobs program to Chicago and Phoenix.</p><p>International programs department has focused its efforts on strengthening existing country programs and developing skills of international field staff. Best Buddies served 12,579 participants in 50 countries, with 4,685 friendship matches, and impacted the lives of 125,790 people with and without IDD. Bolivia, China, Paraguay, Sierra Leone and Ukraine became accredited programs in 2012 and relationships were forged with Bahamas, Grenada and Morocco.</p><p>Supported 3,314 e-Buddies participants hailing from all 50 states, as well as Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. This includes 70 special education class groups, as well as 51 agencies serving participants with disabilities. These participants exchanged more than 67,000 e-mails, and posted more than 5,000 messages on the e-Buddies Community message boards. </p><p>Implemented the third year of our Ambassadors program. This year, approximately 300 ambassadors (individuals with IDD) were trained to become speakers throughout their communities, showcasing their abilities to self-advocate and bring awareness to the disability movement. Over 80 buddies attended speech writing and public speaking courses during leadership conference in July. Ambassadors had opportunities to speak at the 2012 Best Buddies Challenges: Hearst Castle, Hyannis Port, and Washington, D.C. as well as Friendship Walks, Life Is Sweet and Business Buddies events, local leadership training days and Friendship Balls.</p><p>Continued fundraising efforts to achieve objectives of the 2020 Initiative through the Momentum Campaign. The goals of the 2020 Initiative includes opening offices in all 50 states, expanding into 100 countries, and impacting 3 million people with and without IDD worldwide by the end of 2020. The initiative also includes plans to train 4,000 buddy ambassadors, develop 1,000 jobs for people with IDD around the world, and increase the number of school-based chapters to 2,500. As a result of these ambitious expansion efforts, Best Buddies hopes to become a household name by the end of 2020. To date, the Momentum Campaign has raised over $3.5 million, including a $2 million gift over two years from Carlos Slim and his son-in-law and Best Buddies Board member Arturo Elias Ayub.</p>