A Best Buddies Story: Alphonso Murphy
Meet Alphonso Murphy, a global ambassador for Best Buddies International, the organization that the MTeam supports through our fundraising efforts. Alphonso shared his personal story with us and the reasons why he values Best Buddies and their mission of inclusion, talks about the role he envisions Best Buddies will play in his future, and shares one of his favourite Best Buddies memories from his decade involved with the organization.
MTEAM: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
ALPHONSO MURPHY: Hello, my name is Alphonso Murphy. I’m from Tampa, Florida. I enjoy hanging out with my friends, going to the movies, shopping at H&M and Old Navy, and going to Disney world. I enjoy traveling and flying to new countries and places; my goal is to one day travel to Paris, France, to see all the historic sites and museums, which are my favorite places to visit. I'm also known for my laugh; it’s so contagious, it causes a chain reaction!
Interesting fact: I was 1 lb. 12oz when I was born, three months early. The doctors thought I was not going to be able to live. I was diagnosed with a slow learning disability, a mild case of cerebral palsy, and a seizure disorder ( although I was taken off of medication when I was 12-years-old). God had other plans for my life. In the sad loss of my mother Theresa Miller, she would tell everyone that I was her miracle baby. Now, I have the opportunity to share my miracle story with you.
Currently, I'm a full time student at Hillsborough Community College, majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
MTEAM: How long have you been involved in Best Buddies and why it the group’s mission of inclusion close to your heart?
AM: I have been involved with the organization for 10 years. When I think about the mission, it brings me to tears. It’s dear to my heart, because when I was in middle school, I was bullied; my book bag was thrown into the shower in the boys locker room and a student put a weight on my leg while I was in the weight room. Now staying true to the mission, Best Buddies helped me gain independence, leadership skills, and most of all building long lasting friendships with my buddies Matt, Amit, EJ, and Nick, along with other friends that I hang out with.
MTEAM: When and how did you become a global ambassador for Best Buddies?
AM: On September 6, 2018, I completed an ambassador employment training with my state chapter USF. Then, on October 26, 2018, I was asked by Jaclyn Clark, a former program manager for my chapter, to speak with my buddy EJ at our Champion of the Year gala. Mrs. Ashlee Simmens and Mr. David Quilleon liked how I delivered my speech, and that is how I became a global ambassador for Best Buddies.
MTEAM: What are some of the coolest things you get to do as an ambassador for Best Buddies?
AM: I get to network with different people and, share my story, participate, and help out with different events through best buddies. And I get to speak at different cool events like the Hyannis Port Best Buddies Challenge.
MTEAM: What do you love most about the Best Buddies and why is their work important? How have they helped to support you personally?
AM: I love developing the one-on-one friendships and to be able to share my story no matter where I go. It gives young adults with disabilities a chance to advocate for their rights and to be able to have employment opportunities, and gain independence to excel in the world.
MTEAM: How do you see Best Buddies playing a role in your future? Do you have a career path you’d love to follow in mind?
AM: I would love to travel around with Best Buddies to different countries, speaking and sharing my life story on how I overcame so many obstacles in my life, to inspire others with all types of disabilities that there is hope; you just have to keep the faith and always stay positive! And yes, I would like to become a professional motivational speaker.
MTEAM: How would you explain Best Buddies to someone who has never heard of the organization before?
AM: I would first give them a short elevator speech with my name and how best buddies has impacted my life, and leave them with my business card. Than I would invite the person to come out to one of our Best Buddies functions that we have on USF campus to help them get more involved and to see if they would like to be matched with a young adult that has a disability.
MTEAM: Have you met anyone through Best Buddies who really inspires you? Who and how so?
AM: Kellie Howard. Not only is she one of my closest friends and like my big sister, but she has a cool genuine love for Best Buddies and, despite all she had to go through growing up, she does not let anyone limit her abilities to be excel in life.
MTEAM: Do you have a favorite memory from your time with Best Buddies?
AM: When I first became team captain of my chapter back in April 2013, it was hard trying to call every member on my team to push them so we could win the next incentive, and sending inspirational messages to post on the team page to inspire their family and friends to give more funds so we could go to the Best Buddies Leadership Conference, but through staying positive and a whole lot of praying, we came in second place. We even won the VIP tent that year!
MTEAM: What would you say to someone who was considering about supporting Best Buddies or joining a Best Buddies Challenge community like the MTeam, but not sure whether to go ahead?
AM: The sky is the limit. Sometimes you have to go out and try new things. You never know what you can do. Doors are waiting to open just for you. Inclusion is the key to happiness!