Today was an absolutely amazing and life-changing day.

Today at my host site I was given the opportunity to experience an “Ambassador Training,” where we work with individuals with an Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) to help them develop their leadership and public speaking skills, as well as helping to empower them and build their confidence in their ability to advocate for themselves.

The Ohio Youth Leadership Forum is holding its annual conference this week, and today one of my supervisor’s and I were given the opportunity to lead a small group session at the conference where we conducted an “Ambassador Training,” which focuses on helping individuals with an IDD write a speech that tells their story and develop the skills and confidence to present it.

Going into today I was beyond nervous, mainly because it was going to be my first time directly interacting with individuals with an IDD. But, as soon as I entered the room and felt their excitement all of my nerves completely went away. Seeing their excitement about being given the opportunity to write and tell their story really put into perspective the importance of Best Buddies. These individuals not only talk about their story of living with a disability but also discuss the ways in which they want to change the world. Their ability and strength to overcome everyday stigmas, negatively and doubt is something that I will never be able to measure up too. And after hearing the stories of the individuals and their plans for the future, I firmly believe that one day they will change the world.

Today also gave me a deeper perspective of what my role will be at the upcoming Leadership Conference this weekend, and I can’t wait to hear more stories and the ways in which our world will be changed by such strong and impactful people.

About emilycallahan8

Summer Fellow through the Columbus Foundation Summer Fellowship Program, working with Best Buddies International.
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