Goal: Focus on building a welcoming and positive community
Thanks to the opportunity provided to me with Best Buddies, I was able to see just how important a supportive community can be. Working with differently-abled persons provided me an insight as to how important the “essentials” can be in life. Regardless of the amount of stuff we have or how much money we obtain, the simple things or basics are the only things that matter. Friendship, love, and respect are pillars to any group. When working with persons that cannot do or process things as easily as everyday people, I really got an insight as to how to build a community.
Staying positive but acknowledging the negative is the first step. Secondly, listening to what other think and feel is essential. When I say listening, I actually mean processing what is being said and not just hearing. The third aspect to building a lasting community is to respect differences. Everyone is entitled to having their own opinions. Even with differences, all community members must be willing to respect different, even conflicting viewpoints. This can be done through focusing on other aspects that group members have in common. Although I have not been consistently active in Best Buddies, due to scheduling conflicts, being part of it for three years, has given me ample time and exposure to the importance of community.
Outside of Best Buddies, I have noticed that these “essentials” carry true for any organization, team or group. For any team I am a part of, I always try to connect with team members any way possible. I have noticed that the more I am able to relate with those I am working with, the better the results and satisfaction. Best Buddies has been an important part of my college experience and that is why it has helped me develop as a leader and person.