A Best Buddy is more than just a mentor or a leader – they're a friend, says Kimberly Stoks, a customer of the Las Vegas, Nevada branch location of Ultimate Staffing Services (a specialized business line of Roth Staffing Companies). Best Buddies International is a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating relationships, employment opportunities, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)… but more importantly, it's a program that creates lifelong friendships between those with IDD and people like Kimberly.
Best Buddies pairs people with disabilities with special friends and mentors. The friendships arise organically during fun events like bowling nights, sock hops, group dances, and thanks to Kimberly, the annual Best Buddy Friendship Walk. She organized the first annual walk, taking the role of chairperson when the organization needed someone to take the reins even though she had no event planning experience.
In just a few months, Kimberly brought together a hugely successful fundraising and awareness walk – more than 1,000 people attended, raising $45,000 in donations! She has already started planning next year's walk while fulfilling her duties as a veteran Best Buddies advisory board chairperson… and Kimberly still makes time to attend and champion Best Buddies' many events including community outreach and awareness functions, oftentimes connecting personally with Best Buddies members.
At one event, a shy young girl with IDD sat crying in the corner of the room because she was afraid of being bullied by strangers – a normal occurrence for her. Kimberly and her fellow Best Buddies brought the child into the fold and watched her flourish in an environment of compassion and understanding. Several months later, the young girl excitedly participated in the Friendship Walk with her new friends!