september, 2021

04sep15:3016:30Event OverVirtual EventInjustices Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental (IDD) Disabilities FaceMichelle Raitman, Margo Meley, Jack Mayor, and Kellie Howard15:30 - 16:30 UTC Event TagsDay 2,Session 11

Event Details

One does not fully understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of another, especially for an individual with an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). Often individuals with an IDD are put into the shadows of society and always having to take a back seat to social justice conversations. Throughout this session one will gain a new perspective of walking the path with an individual who has an IDD, as Margo and Michelle describe the true inhumane treatments conducted such as shocking for behavior treatment, leading the conversation the daily struggles of dating diving into the inadequate focus on disabled romantic relationships. To wrap up the session, they have invited two special guests (two Best Buddies International Global Ambassadors) to provide insight on how to easily adapt yourself and organization’s behavior to be more inclusive of all abilities.

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Michelle Raitman

Michelle Raitman, born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, discovered Best Buddies in high school. She instantly fell in love with the organization and was fortunate enough to become the chapter’s Vice-President in her senior year. Fast forward 4 years, Michelle served as the Co-President at her university – the University of Toronto Scarborough. Joining that chapter allowed her to meet her current Buddy, Leo. After learning about the Young Leaders Council and finding out they were opening their applications to Canadians for the first time ever, she took the opportunity to apply. She is now one of two first-ever Canadian leaders. She also just had the privilege of speaking at the 2021 Best Buddies Leadership Conference. Outside of Best Buddies, Michelle studies psychology and international development. This year, she will be focusing on completing an undergraduate thesis. In the future, she aspires to become a clinical psychologist and provide mental health support to underprivileged communities.

Margo Meley

Margo joined Best Buddies in 2016 while finishing her Associate’s Degree in General Studies at Quinebaug Valley Community College. She has continued her involvement in the Best Buddies Eastern Connecticut State University college chapter program where she is currently paired with her buddy Natalie, who she considers her apart of her girl squad. “I just love that Natalie doesn’t see my challenges; she just sees me.” her an inspiration to anyone who meets her. Margo’s ambitions and passion to not only advocate for herself and others sets her apart from anyone else. But she didn’t get there overnight. When Margo has a dream, she sees it through. For example, participating in the National Miss Amazing pageant and organization in 2016 also gave her the to succeed confidently in the world. When Margo entered the Ambassadors program in 2017 it became a game changer. In 2018, by enhancing those skills she used the tools and confidence to give a moving speech at closing ceremonies at BBLC 2018. This allowed her the connection she needed to further her leadership development skills. It opened up her opportunities to become a member on the Best Buddies Young Leaders Council in 2020 and as of January 2021 she was elected to be an incoming co-chair for the 2022-2024 term.

Jack Mayor

Hello everyone! My name is Jack Mayor. I’m 17 and a soon-to-be senior at Neuqua Valley High School in Illinois. I became an Ambassador for Best Buddies last year and I am loving every single second of it and I will tell you why. Before I share my story about Best Buddies with you, I want to share some things about myself. One in 68 kids are diagnosed with autism and it affects one in 42 boys. I am one of those 42 boys. I was diagnosed with autism at the age of six. Life with autism is a daily struggle. I am different but I am also unique and I have been blessed with special gifts like super memory when it comes to calendars. Now that you know some things about me, I’ll get back to why I am here today. That is all because I found the best organization on this planet…Best Buddies.

Kellie Howard

Hi my name is Kellie “Boo” Howard. I’ve been a part of Best Buddies since 2009. I’ve accomplished so many leadership pillars. I’m YLC alum & Board of Directors alum and Current Global Ambassador. Now I’m with the Job Program and Citizen Program and work for the Company Kforce as a Social media Specialist on the Reconnection team. My favorite things are Social media and Food and Music and Family. Helping others.

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(Saturday) 15:30 - 16:30 UTC

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