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OH Best Buddies Chapter Named National Fundraising Champion at Summer Conference

Olympic+Heights+Best+Buddies+Club+officers+Courtney+Reiff+%28left%29+and+Jacob+Pasternack+%28right%29+accept+a+banner+recognizing+the+OH+chapter+as+the+top+fundraiser+in+the+nation+from+Anthony+Kennedy+Shriver%2C+Best+Buddies+International+founder.
Olympic Heights Best Buddies Club officers Courtney Reiff (left) and Jacob Pasternack (right) accept a banner recognizing the OH chapter as the top fundraiser in the nation from Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies International founder.

Olympic Heights Best Buddies Club officers Courtney Reiff (left) and Jacob Pasternack (right) accept a banner recognizing the OH chapter as the top fundraiser in the nation from Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies International founder.

Olympic Heights Best Buddies Club officers Courtney Reiff (left) and Jacob Pasternack (right) accept a banner recognizing the OH chapter as the top fundraiser in the nation from Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies International founder.

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When transitioning from the school year to summer break, socializing replaces socializing, beach-time replaces class-time, and late nights replace early mornings. While school-time efforts are usually lost in the haze of summer, for one Olympic Heights club, the fruition of these efforts was finally witnessed. The OH chapter of Best Buddies, a branch of an international nonprofit organization which helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities build strong friendships, proudly represented the school on the international level.

Best Buddies International holds its “Best Buddies Leadership Conference,” an annual event where student and adult leaders worldwide gather to exchange ideas and learn new leadership skills, on the campus of the University of Indiana. This year, both OH chapter president Jacob Pasternack and chapter officer Courtney Reiff represented OH at this event. At the conference, they were engaged in a variety of learning and social workshops, allowing them to network with other Best Buddies leaders worldwide.

At Leadership Conference, the OH chapter was presented with an incredible award for its efforts in raising over $26,000 during the 2017-2018 school year. Because of the incredible fundraising total, the OH chapter was awarded with the National Fundraising Champions award-recognizing that the OH Best Buddies chapter raised the most funds of the 2,500 chapters worldwide.

Chrissy Reynoso, the Best Buddies program manager for Palm Beach County and an attendee at Best Buddies Leadership Conference, said of the OH club’s recognition, “The Olympic Heights chapter has a competitive yet creative spirit that sets them apart from the rest. I was extremely proud of them.”

Pasternack, an OH senior and president of the chapter, was ecstatic about the recognition, “This award justified what I already knew about this chapter-that they are a hardworking, motivated group that truly cares about creating meaningful friendships and advocating for inclusion and acceptance. I couldn’t be prouder of the chapter and more thankful for my officers and chapter members. I’m excited for what this upcoming year has in store.”

Reiff, also an OH senior and chapter officer, reflected on her Leadership Conference experience: “When I walked on that stage with Jacob to receive the award, I realized how incredible it was that a small school from Boca Raton was able to have enough community influence to raise this amount of money for such a good cause.”

Reynoso continued praising the chapter: “Since I started working for Best Buddies, I have been consistently amazed by this chapter. The sky is the limit for them and I have full faith they will find some way to outdo themselves. They have such a heart for the mission and that’s what has helped them create this amazing school culture.”

The impact of the club is clearly visible, and they represented OH proudly at this international event.

“I hope the chapter is motivated by this award and is ready to continue to inspire change within our school and community,” Reiff commented.

Students interested in joining Best Buddies or other Olympic Heights clubs can sign up during the annual OH Club Rush to be held during both lunches on Thursday, Sept. 6.

 

 

 

 

 

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OH Best Buddies Chapter Named National Fundraising Champion at Summer Conference