Best Buddies Champion of the Year Nominee – Our Friend Ansley Dawidziuk
by Brian Coll
Before I say anything else, I need to apologize to Ansley. She stopped by the shop one day, we had a great conversation. I took some info from her and I totally spaced on it. This article is not timely at all and I am so sorry.
Ansley is a neighbor of ours on Fayette Street, she is also an amazing teacher, volunteer in our community and a friend to everyone she meets. I know I am a better person because she is in our community. Honestly, if we didn’t get talking one day recently I probably would have been more timely with a post of some sort, either on here or our Facebook page, but we had such a good long talk that after it was over, I dreamed of doing an amazing story on Ansley and the Best Buddies Champion of the Year campaign. Ansley was telling me all about it, how it was founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver (and yes, one of those Kennedy’s….) and how it was very cool for the program to be started by him. Anthony is the son of the late Eunice Mary Kennedy (sister of President Kennedy as well as U.S Senators Robert and Ted Kennedy) More importantly in this case, she is known as the founder of Special Olympics. So, for him to start the Best Buddies campaign is a very cool thing.
About Best Buddies…. It sounds simple enough. Young people with disabilities can sometimes have a hard time making friends, that can lead to isolation, depression, maybe even being bullied on top of dealing with their disability. Best Buddies is a program that pairs up students with each other to form one on one friendships. It sounds like a win-win program and I’m proud of my friend Ansley for incorporating this into the Colonial Middle School.
I’m really sorry of the timing of this, there was a fundraising campaign and I’m sure our community could have got behind Ansley to help her out. Regardless, if you would like to give to this amazing organization I’ll include a link to their website. You can read more about the organization and the mission there.
Ansley, if you see this, no matter if you won or were one of the runners up, you’re a champion in our community. Your students are lucky to have you and I really hope the Best Buddy program is going well there for you. If you have any other events coming up, stop by my shop and make me sit down while you are here and write something!