Katherine Devine, a WKU senior from Bowling Green, was recently appointed Best Buddies Leadership Conference Committee chair. Devine is a student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program.
Best Buddies is a 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 (IDD).
Devine is the WKU Chapter president of Best Buddies and also serves on The Young Leaders Council (YLC) of Best Buddies International. The YLC is a group of 20 Best Buddies student representatives from across the nation providing the student perspective for Best Buddies International initiatives. Members of the council serve on committees focused on different aspects of Best Buddies involvement to maintain a steady connection between students and Best Buddies International. The YLC provides its members with the opportunity to incorporate new ideas, build on existing inclusion programs and share global initiatives with Best Buddies International participants and staff throughout the world.
The Leadership Conference is a weekend conference held annually in Bloomington, Indiana. Student leaders within Best Buddies come together to share experiences, gather new ideas, and gain the inspiration to bring inclusion back to their own communities. As chair of the Leadership Committee, Devine will collaborate with a Best Buddies International staff member to formulate new ideas and activities for the Best Buddies Leadership Conference in the U.S. She will work with her fellow YLC Leadership Conference Committee members to bring these ideas to fruition and delegate tasks for members to complete to enhance the experience of Leadership Conference participants.
Locally, Best Buddies has accomplished many things worth noting in the past school year. “We have raised $1,500 for a local family, the Tichenors, who mean a great deal to our organization,” Devine said. “Jane Tichenor is the host site coordinator of WKU Best Buddies and Kate Tichenor is our Buddy director. They sadly lost their home in a fire in February. When WKU Best Buddies heard this we knew we wanted to give back to this family who has given us so much so we planned the Team Tichenor Pasta Dinner.”
Devine was also WKU Best Buddies’ Homecoming Queen representative last semester along with her escort, Junior Morgan.
“Junior and I made it into the Top 10 candidates meaning we got to walk the field at halftime,” she said. “This was a great accomplishment for our chapter as it was the first time in WKU history that someone with an IDD has been able to walk the field for Homecoming. We were so grateful for this opportunity to increase campus and community awareness of the mission of Best Buddies.”
The WKU Best Buddies Chapter’s biggest accomplishments are the friendships established among college members and their buddies and the progress made this year toward full inclusion of individuals with special needs throughout the community.
Contact: Leigh Anne Roden-Carrier, (270) 745-4683