Giving Back

Best Buddies Looks to Establish Chapters in Glen Rock

3f2222e638e2b40ded3f_Best_Buddies_-_New_Jersey_CMYK_logo.jpg
3f2222e638e2b40ded3f_Best_Buddies_-_New_Jersey_CMYK_logo.jpg

Glen Rock native Holly Goshin and Vallye Adams are looking for some 'Best Buddies'.

The two have paired-up to raise funds with the goal of opening a Best Buddies International office at a soon-to-be determined location in Bergen County.

“The need in New Jersey is tremendous,” said Adams. “I’m predicting there will be a second office and location right now we could use.”

Sign Up for E-News

Glen Rock will be the first school in Bergen County, with a chapter scheduled to open by year’s end with Goshin’s 15-year-old daughter, Emma, a sophomore at Glen Rock High School, heading it up.

Best Buddies International has impacted more than 1 million people, with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), by training thousands of buddy ambassadors, developing jobs for persons with IDD and increasing the number of chapters with participating schools – all in the name of providing a better quality of life for individuals with such disabilities.

Best Buddies currently operates accredited programs in more than 50 countries throughout the globe from Brazil to Northern Ireland. Six years ago, the volunteer-run organization established a goal to open offices in all 50 states in America, expand into 100 countries impacting all stakeholders by the completion of 2020.

The initiative, according to Adams, has provided a balanced reciprocity, as volunteers equally benefit knowing they’ve made a contribution toward the cause.

On Nov. 3,Goshen and Adams are spearheading an inaugural gala to be held at the Brownstone in Paterson. The theme: Champion of the Year.

The two grew up around people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Now, the duo, who work for the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to affording opportunities for leadership, employment and friendship for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), are on a mission to give back to those individuals.

Adams noted the autism population in New Jersey is 1 in 41, compared to the national average of 1 in 68. Aside from autism spectrum disorders, Best Buddies also covers other intellectual disabilities, including persons with cerebral palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome and traumatic brain injuries, among others.

The organization was founded in 1989 when Anthony Shriver observed that people with IDD had lacked meaningful social ties with their peers without disabilities. According to a news release, Shriver believes self-esteem is founded upon not only positive self-talk, but companionship as the ingredient to live a happy and productive life.

Currently, the organization he fondly christened “Best Buddies”, offers the following eight programs: middle and high schools, colleges, citizens, e-Buddies, jobs, ambassadors and promoters with over 2,300 chapters around the world.

It is Goshin and Adams’ hope to open New Jersey’s first chapter in Bergen County, and the demand for such an office has been astounding, they said.

“Because the need is so great,” according to Adams, the director of expansion, she receives on average of two calls per week at the Miami headquarters for an office in the Garden State.

Getting involved is personal

The women’s personal ties to the organization dates back to their college years.

For Goshin, a Glen Rock resident with children in the district, it was a chance encounter at American University in Washington, D.C.

After college, a desire to work in the nonprofit sector and help the special needs population drove her to secure a job at the international offices of the Special Olympics in 1994 right around the time Best Buddies had started its regional presence at the Nation’s Capital.

Goshin, who is the director of the nonprofit’s leadership academy, has an older brother – now in his 50s – who suffered a traumatic brain injury during birth and needed long term care at an intermediate care facility in Massachusetts. Since then, Goshin developed a passion to aid people in living better lives.

“I didn’t grow up with him,” said Goshin. “I feel like I missed out in a relationship the way our culture and society had not evolved, yet it always inspired me to somehow want to help that issue [of] integration.”

During Adams' years in college, she met a brother and sister with Down syndrome through a friend. She has relatives with IDD, as well.

“I’ve always been drawn to promoting that mission of friendship and inclusion and wanting to make a difference and change the world for them so they’re integrated into society.”

Adams has work for 25 years with the nonprofit, and just recently began her role as director of expansion. At the Year of the Champion gala next month, which will start at 7 p.m. at the Brownstone in Paterson, and will include dinner, dancing and live and silent auctions among other festivities, the women are hoping to raise their target of $250,000 needed to cut the ribbon to a Best Buddies office in New Jersey.

Fourteen individuals are champions of Best Buddies’ mission and nominated by the Advisory Board in New Jersey. One will be crowned the grand champion at the event for raising the most funds. These champions, some of whom include employees of large corporations and staff members of Best Buddies, have aimed to raise $5,000 prior to the event in order to help Best Buddies reach their goal.

“The great thing about Best Buddies is that not only does it change the life, family, community and the school of an individual with an IDD, it also changes those without IDD,” Adams said. "So the way Best Buddies works is a mutually beneficial relationship established with IDD and without. The positive changes are seen in both realms where not only are we creating leaders, friends and employees in participants with a disability, but we are creating future advocates of those with a disability.”

According to Adams, there are about 350 students in New Jersey who are active members. As of late, there are five participating schools in New Jersey. They include Mount Olive High School in Flanders, Ocean City High School in Ocean City, Princeton University, the College of New Jersey in Ewing, and Warren Hills Regional High School in Washington.

Glen Rock will be the first school in Bergen County, with a chapter scheduled to open by year’s end with Goshin’s 15-year-old daughter, Emma, a sophomore at Glen Rock High School, heading it up.

“You can talk with their friends, family and feel and hear and see firsthand the [impact] it has made in their life student without a disability has come up to me and said I joined because I wanted to make a difference in the life of a disabled [person and] they’ve made a difference in my life,” said Adams of the positive impact experienced by the volunteers. “They are able to recognize the fact that because someone has a disability, [and] looks different, walks different or thinks different or acts differently that most of society is afraid of that.” She continued, “for society the entire population of IDD have been shunned not to be seen or heard from. With Best Buddies, that population is corrected. We’re showing the world that individuals with IDD make amazing friends, they make excellent employees that can be leaders in the community just like you and I know.”

It brings joy to Goshin that the cycle of good is coming full circle with her kin. Her reaction to her daughter’s involvement?

“It couldn’t be more poetic,” she said with a laugh. “The fact that I have a 15-year-old is crazy enough, and on top of that, I remember working with Best Buddies as early a 20-something. All this time later opening a chapter it speaks of the strength and magic of the mission. To me it’s astounding and I couldn’t be happier.”

To purchase tickets for the event and for sponsorship options, go to bestbuddieschampion.org

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Fair Lawn/Glen Rock

Conversations with Joan Herrmann: Think Independently, Create Limitless Opportunity

There is great power in independent thought, although these days, it seems group think is what we seem to get. Just because you hear it on the news or from a pundit doesn't mean it's true. In this conversation, Joan takes a look at how we can train ourselves to think more independently and challenge ourselves to get to our personal truth.

Q. I think people like to be accepted and ...

Belmar Parasail: Soar Into Summer with a High-Flying Adventure Along the Beachfront

July 14, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — As Belmar finally basks in picture-perfect weather, it may be time to check off a summer activity on your bucket list. And for many, parasailing is one of those “must-do” experiences.

At Belmar Parasail, the season is in full swing, offering boat trips from the Belmar Manutti Marina to the beachfront where passengers are lifted 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean ...

Morristown Happenings: Things to Do in Morristown This Weekend; July 14 - 15

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Jump for joy....it's the weekend! Don't let Friday the 13th scare you away, there are lots of fun things to do in and around town this weekend! Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday July 14

Tri harder Triathlon; Ginty Pool and Ginty Field; 8:30am

25th Annual George Gramby Softball Game; Cauldwell Playground; 9am

Urban Farm Stand is Open; 14 ...

Glen Rock Police Blotter - July 16

July 16, 2018

During the period between July 9 and July 15, 2018 members of the GRPD handled 255 calls for service, the highlights of which included:

July 9 -10:35 AM – During the course of a motor vehicle stop, P.O. Tarantino arrested a 34-year-old male out of Newark, NJ on an outstanding Passaic County warrant for unpaid child support. The male was transported to the Passaic County Jail and turned ...

New Restaurant Buys ‘Pocketed’ Westfield Liquor License

July 12, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield’s town council approved the transfer of a liquor license to Westfield Hospitality LLC for its Westfield Fish & Brew Company during the council's meeting Tuesday night. The license had been bought from Jeffrey’s when it closed in 2014 and remained unused, or “pocketed,” by that owner until now.

Though the restaurant does not ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 16, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

TRENTON, NJ – The Murphy administration on July 16 announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease ...

Glen Rock Green Team Hosts "Plastic Ocean" Movie Screening July 31

GLEN ROCK, NJ - The Glen Rock Green Team Interns will be hosting a movie screening of the documentary “Plastic Ocean”  on July 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Borough Hall Council Chambers. Refreshments and food will be provided before the movie and a question and answer session will take place after the movie.

This life changing documentary is about the growing amounts ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_7611ce284a8c86d65b64_37d34f9a-c5cd-4fb1-8bf8-b5b7319cb94e

Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Paterson Board of Education , Paterson

Teacher Job Fair

Education

Sat, July 21, 11:00 AM

The Hermitage Museum, Ho-Ho-Kus

Food Truck Festival at The Hermitage

Arts & Entertainment

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...