Mission: Best Buddies International (BBI) is dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Vision: Best Buddies envisions a world where people with IDD are so successfully integrated into schools, workplaces and communities that its current efforts and services will be unnecessary. Until that vision becomes a reality, the organization will continue to educate students, community members, and corporate leaders about the needs and abilities of people with IDD. Target Population: People of al... read more Mission: Best Buddies International (BBI) is dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Vision: Best Buddies envisions a world where people with IDD are so successfully integrated into schools, workplaces and communities that its current efforts and services will be unnecessary. Until that vision becomes a reality, the organization will continue to educate students, community members, and corporate leaders about the needs and abilities of people with IDD. Target Population: People of all races and genders, of all ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, ages 5+ with Down syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injury and other intellectual and developmental disabilities and their nondisabled peers. History: Anthony K. Shriver founded Best Buddies at Georgetown University in 1989 on the premise that one-to-one friendships between people with and without IDD could lead to a truly inclusive society where individuals are recognized for their unique skills and talents, and the social chasm between people with IDD and their typical peers can be permanently bridged. Today we are the world's largest nonprofit organization devoted solely to providing opportunities for friendship, jobs, and leadership training for people with IDD. We currently impact more than 1 million people worldwide. Since 1989, the friendship program has extended beyond the college campus to elementary, middle, and high schools. Leadership, employment and inclusive living components have been added to address the growing and changing needs of individuals with IDD. Over time a structure of state and regional affiliate offices developed to ensure the consistency and integrity of local programming. In 2017 an Expansion Team with 4 regional offices was established to grow and support mission-based programming in US states that do not yet have an affiliate office. Expansion in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana are overseen by the Northwest Regional Expansion Team, headquartered in Portland, OR. Since 2017, Best Buddies has cultivated a Best Buddies Oregon Expansion Advisory Board to raise funds and awareness throughout the state with the goal of opening Best Buddies Oregon (BBOR) state office in 2020. Problems addressed: We seek to address existing systemic inequities facing individuals with IDD: - In Oregon only 14% of students with intellectual disabilities spend more than 80% of their time in a regular education setting, while 52% spend less than 40% of their day in general ed. (U.S. Dept of Ed, '16), limiting exposure that would lead to social skill development and increased comfort levels with differing abilities. - Such social and physical isolation of students and adults with IDD cause deficits in social learning which is critical to success in educational, community and workplace settings - Adolescents with developmental disabilities have higher rates of victimization (19-94% vs. 12-41%) and perpetration (16%-83% vs. 10%-44%) compared with typically developing peers (Sterzing et al, 2012). In addition to the inherent safety issues, bullying discourages people with IDD from navigating social complexities of friendship, creating further disparities in social skills acquisition. - Individuals with IDD often interact only with family members, teachers and paid care providers, resulting in extreme loneliness and depression, exacerbating feelings of withdrawal and further separating people with and people without disabilities. - Unemployment among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities hovers around 81%; of 7,462 individuals with cognitive disabilities receiving employment services from Oregon in 2015, only 32% achieved integrated community employment while 36% participated in "facility-based non-work." Oregon residents with IDD are less likely to be employed, work full-time and year-round and receive 49% of what state residents without disabilities earn. Programs: Best Buddies provides opportunities for meaningful change in the lives of all participants - those with and those without disabilities - as well as the communities that witness the inclusiveness, equity, and diversity demonstrated by BBI participants. Our four pillars of service enhance the way individuals with IDD experience school, work, and community. 1. One-to-One Friendship: School- and community-based friendship chapters match individuals with disabilities into mentorships with nondisabled peers. - Impact: Addresses deficits in social skills necessary for community and career success. Peers experience value of diversity and inclusion, access leadership training, and facilitate/participate in transformative inclusive activities. -BBI friendship programs have evolved over 30 years. The first chapter simply created social opportunities. Today, built-in opportunities for social learning and group activities to nurture and encourage friendships, students with IDD who experience social exclusion learn to trust the process of friendship development and the feelings of vulnerability that come with social learning. - Currently 2,800+ friendship chapters in 52 countries, with 114,042 members. - Oregon friendship programs first launched in 2014 at the University of Oregon. 6 new chapters opened between Spring 2018 and today. Now 140+ participate in these 7 Best Buddies chapters. The one-to-one friendships formed through Best Buddies demonstrate successful inclusion to the community at large, positively influence school and community culture, and enable participants with and without IDD to learn the value of diverse perspectives. 2. Leadership Development: We create leaders of change among and alongside people with IDD. - Impact: Fosters long-term, systemic change as student leaders grow into positions of power in their communities and jobs, with awareness of and respect for all abilities. - Student leaders with and without IDD access biannual local trainings focusing on chapter management, growth and success. - The Best Buddies International Leadership Conference brings together student and community leaders from around the world to share ideas on best practices, disability rights, awareness-building and personal growth. 2,600+ students and community leaders attended 2019 International Conference. - Local and regional Ambassador workshops match adults with IDD with a speech coach to focus on self-advocacy: goal setting, speech writing, public speaking, conversational advocacy and presentation skills. In 2018, 781 adults with disabilities participated in 230 Ambassador trainings around the world. 3. Integrated Employment: Best Buddies Jobs (JOBS) addresses inequities in employment among job seekers with IDD. - Impact: Creates systemic change within workplaces, providing ongoing supports to employer and employee. - Currently: 702 adults with IDD employed in 23 US cities, 283 in Job Development. Averages: $12.54/hr wage, 20.35/wk hours worked. 90.94% retention rate. - JOBS was created and launched in Miami, FL in '94 to provide job training and employment opportunities for adults with IDD in integrated community settings as opposed to segregated facility-based workshops. Competitive, community-based employment in inclusive settings was then and is now the only option for JOBS participants. - Person-centered services and ongoing support assists adults with IDD to secure and maintain a job of their own choosing and learn social competencies necessary for success on the job. - JOBS provides pre-employment training and coaching essential to students with IDD who are transitioning out of high school to find and maintain employment, and to adults with IDD who are seeking meaningful, integrated employment opportunities. 4. Inclusive Living (LIV): Our newest pillar offers a dynamic and enriching environment fostering independent living, life-changing relationships and professional growth opportunities. - Impact: relationship and skill building in an inclusive setting - Currently one house with 12 residents - LIV will provide individuals with and without IDD the opportunity to live together in a vibrant community that supports all residents in advancing their employment, financial literacy, continued education and life skills as they work to achieve their personal goals. Located in Los Angeles in partnership with UCLA, the first house pioneers ways to support individuals with disabilities and their peers. As the program expands, LIV residences will continue to be near college campuses, cultivating mutually transformative relationships and growth opportunities for people of all abilities. Oregon Expansion: Friendship and leadership programming is now supported remotely by Expansion: significant growth, including the launch of JOBS, will happen more effectively and efficiently with staff on the ground in Oregon. A staffed state office will facilitate the creation of partnerships necessary for successful program implementation and will continue to mobilize the support to develop sustainable programming. Our overarching goal is to affect change so that individuals with IDD are fully integrated into their communities. To affect this change, we will: - Hire a Director of Mission Advancement, integral to both the office opening and program expansion, to launch sustainable state office based in Portland - Build network of partners, pursue opportunities for programmatic/fundraising engagement and community involvement - Foster development of a strong Advisory Board - Expand mission-based programming in OR: - Launch JOBS in Portland - Increase size/number of chapters - Hold more leadership workshops for adults with ID
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