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Augustana's Best Buddies wins recognition

May  17, 2016

Augustana's chapter of Best Buddies has received the Chapter of the Year honor for central Illinois. Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

Much of the Augustana chapter's success is owed to the group's president, Michelle Dempster.  

"Michelle was stellar in leading Best Buddies at Augustana," said associate professor and Best Buddies' faculty advisor Dr. Allison Haskill. "She was truly the reason we were able to achieve such an honor."  

Dempster graduates from Augustana this Sunday with a degree in communication sciences and disorders. She is invested in the Best Buddies program because it gives individuals an opportunity to reach their full potential.  

"Best Buddies breaks down barriers and creates an inclusive community," said Dempster. "This year we went to a Mallards game, hosted a movie night, played bingo, and so much more."  

They also organized what she hopes will become a recurring event in collaboration with the Augustana Student Speech Language Hearing Association and Hand-in-Hand, a local respite and disability services nonprofit agency. At this event, Quad-Cities adults with disabilities, including those involved with the Augustana Best Buddies chapter, were treated to a red carpet-themed evening of music, games and socializing.  

In addition to this year's events in the Quad Cities, the Augustana Best Buddies sent two members to the first Central Illinois Ambassador Training, and also sent an ambassador to Knox College for their Spread the Word to End the Word event.   

If you or someone you know in the Quad Cities would benefit from the Best Buddies program at Augustana, please contact Haley Kornfiend.

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833