Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

bust buddies campers and counselors

bust buddies campers and counselors

Vanderbilt Best Buddies Present at 20th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference

Updated on 8/4/2009 10:46:43 AM.

Source: Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Members of the Vanderbilt University chapter of Best Buddies presented at the 20th Annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference held in July in Bloomington, Indiana. Alice Kim, Zach Heath, and Adrian Ewing shared information with over 250 students and Best Buddies staff about their participation in the 2009 Best Buddies Alternative Spring Break (ASB) and provided tips on how Best Buddies chapters across the country can develop ASBs of their own. 

Eight Vanderbilt students and eight buddies spent the week of spring break doing service in Knoxville, Tennessee. The foundation of the trip was to give Best Buddies an opportunity to perform community service and to dispel the false notion that people with disabilities can only be receivers of service and not givers.

“With community service the buddies receive the same benefits that college buddies do,” said Alice Kim. “So many of our buddies live in their own isolated worlds and community service can help them to broaden those worlds and feel connected to their community.”

The Best Buddies ASB was filled with opportunities to learn new skills and responsibilities. The buddies planted a garden at Knoxville Community Center, did yard work at the Knoxville Community College, and worked with the Just Lead afterschool program. They had ample time for entertainment and play as well.

“There were many firsts for our buddies on this trip,” said Kim. “One buddy took her first shower on her own, another made his first peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and yet another buddy pumped gas for the first time. The buddies helped cook meals and even washed their own dishes. The trip was a wonderful opportunity for the buddies to enhance their skill sets and to increase a sense of accomplishment.”

The presentation also laid out the steps that the Vanderbilt chapter took to make the ASB a reality, including partnering with ACCESS AmeriCorps for assistance in connecting the students and buddies with service sites. After the presentation, Kim had a chance to speak with several interested Best Buddies project managers to discuss the push for inclusive ASB trips.

The Best Buddies International Leadership Conference brought together top leaders from high school and colleges worldwide to discuss topics on social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities, leadership, communication, fundraising, and a variety of other topics.

For more information on Best Buddies International, see:

For more information on the Vanderbilt Chapter of Best Buddies, see:

Also, check out this presentation on Best Buddies Spring Break:
Best Buddies Spring Break PowerPoint

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