Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-on-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership, development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies participants include people with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and other undiagnosed disabilities.
It’s the largest organization in the world dedicated to ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of people living with IDD. Best Buddies’ programs empower the special abilities of people with IDD by helping them form meaningful friendships, secure successful jobs, live independently, improve communication skills, and more.
Best Buddies at TCC
In 2017, Kim Miller, Director of HR, was presented with the opportunity to participate in the Best Buddies jobs program from TCC CEO Scott Moorehead and TCC Gives Executive Director Julie Moorehead. Once she learned more about their mission, she knew it was something she wanted to be involved with and support, even beyond the workplace.
Kim interviewed RJ Zeph through the Best Buddies program in 2017, and he joined the team shortly after as an HR assistant. Since hiring him, he has been promoted to receptionist, and again to his latest role as facilities porter.
RJ’s favorite part about working at TCC is that every day is different -you never know what’s in store when you set foot into our office. He also says that he’s made lifechanging friendships at work, and the relationships he’s formed with executives and department leaders throughout his five years at TCC really show the amount of support we have at our company.
Champion of the Year
Best Buddies Champion of the Year is an annual competitive fundraising campaign that happens in different regions around the country and unites and recognizes the communities’ most active leaders of inclusion. Champion candidates commit to raising funds and awareness for Best Buddies throughout an 8–12-week period. The campaign ends with a gala to honor the Champions’ collective impact and name the ultimate Champion of the Year.
RJ is participating in the Indiana Champion of the Year campaign with TCC employee Matt Stapleton (Accounts Payable Manager) as his running mate. Matt is excited to partner with RJ this year because he has always been passionate about individuals with intellectual disabilities, as he has an uncle with IDD. Matt says that a group like Best Buddies worked with his uncle, and he saw firsthand how important inclusion can be. After watching RJ’s progression at TCC and becoming more familiar with Best Buddies, he’s found that this organization aligns perfectly with his passions, and he’s thrilled to support them in such a big way.
This isn’t the first time RJ has participated in Champion of the Year -he has won the ultimate title of Champion twice! He won in 2019 with Chris Thornton as his running mate, and he also won in 2020 with Joe Shorr. Good luck this year, RJ and Matt!
Want to support RJ?
Click here to donate to his campaign through Best Buddies.