LC Senior Prepares for New Best Buddies Role
From a workout with Mark Wylie (a recent contender on the Biggest Loser TV reality show) to musical performances by blind pianist Brittany Maier, the Best Buddies conference held July 20- 24 in Bloomington was jammed-packed with training, inspiration and camaraderie.
Many attendees wore “I See You” T-shirts to get the message out that intellectually disabled individuals need not be “invisible” in our community. They also enjoyed a fashion show and a Saturday night dance while completing the four-day Best Buddies training program.
Kelly Northcutt, a senior at Lawrence Central, attended the conference to prepare for her duties as the school’s new Best Buddies chapter president. Kelly was one of more than 1,300 young men and women from around the world taking part in the training program held annually at Indiana University.
“I was truly inspired,” said Northcutt, “especially after hearing what the experience meant to the Best Buddies of the Year winners.”
The Best Buddies program, founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989, is an international organization designed to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for friendship, social interaction and integrated employment. With middle school, high school and college campuses reaching all 50 states and across the globe, the program will positively impact 350,000 people this year.
Northcutt’s goal is to have the new Best Buddies program at LC in place by mid-October. She will be recruiting officers into the chapter as well as associate buddies. Part of Northcutt’s responsibility is to maintain communication with the office of Indiana Best Buddies for guidance and to ensure the integrity of the program. She will also be planning fund-raising events for the LC chapter throughout the school year.
Northcutt will be holding a parent information meeting as the school year gets underway. To get involved, students need only be willing to commit to maintaining weekly contact and attending two monthly social events with their peer buddy. Social events will be planned in addition to attending school dances and sporting events.
Northcutt plans to attend Indiana University to study international business after graduation. She has served as a teacher’s assistant and is active in the community as a member of VFW Post 7119 Ladies Auxiliary. She works part time and enjoys shopping and spending time with her friends.