Social Work student attends Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference


Charlotte Yeung (second left) with participants

Hong Kong Shue Yan University (HKSYU) year 2 social work student Miss Charlotte Yeung attended the 25th Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana on July 25-28. She, together with over 2,000 student leaders, volunteers, and staff from Best Buddies International programs around the world, learned new ideas, shared services experiences and built friendships during the conference, and attended some training programs afterwards.

Best Buddies International Inc. is a non-profit organization, founded in 1989, dedicated to establishing the global volunteer movement – Best Buddies – that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In 2004, Fu Hong Society was invited by Best Buddies International to be the organization in Hong Kong to launch the “Best Buddies Hong Kong” and set up the Hong Kong Chapter. HKSYU is a member of the local Chapter and the Department of Social Work had contributed to its establishment.

Miss Charlotte Yeung shared her experiences and feelings after returning to Hong Kong:

Before I started my journey to the States, I told my friends I was heading to U.S. for a conference and some leadership training. But once the series of training sessions started, I knew that this 10-day journey would be something amazing that was far beyond words.

“Everyone deserves to have a best buddy, no one should be left out.” As normal as this statement seems to be, it is not what is happening in Hong Kong. What I’ve experienced the most in this journey, is the comparison between cultures in different countries. My friends from Peru and Mexico told me that they will talk to their buddies on the phone regularly, go to the park for a walk and visit their buddies’ home. I couldn’t describe how astonished I was when I heard this, and I gradually realize that, after all, the heart of this movement is how people view our IDD buddies, and whether this movement can advance further actually lies in people’s attitude.

I believe that before planning what we can do to promote one-to-one friendship, we should always start from small – to learn how to genuinely appreciate and respect our buddy friends, and with the aid of our concerted efforts to hammer out different promotion strategies. I believe that things will be much more effective.

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” – John Lennon

Charlotte Yeung (second left) with participants

Source: October Issue 2014

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