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A Best Buddies Story: Dana Brown

Meet Dana Brown, a Best Buddies Ambassador in Tampa, Florida. Below she talks about growing up, how Best Buddies made an impact on her life, and one of the coolest memories she has so far from her time as an Ambassador.

 
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MTEAM: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
DANA BROWN:
I am from Tampa, Florida, and I work at Greenwise Publix. My department is customer service as a bagger. I am a triplet. I have two brothers but I am the oldest. From the very beginning, my brothers were crawling, talking, and walking before me. They were leaving me in the dust! After testing, I was identified with a global delay. Through the years, I have had speech, physical, and occupational therapy and worked very hard. But due to my delays, I was a shy and quiet young girl. When people spoke, they talked so fast it was hard for me to follow what they said and it made it difficult to connect socially. I had to attend my own schools different from my brothers. Now, I live with my parents. I like to go to lunch and Starbucks and concerts and shopping with my friends. I have my own dog and I drive.

 
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MTEAM: When and how did you become an ambassador for Best Buddies?
DB:
I became an ambassador in 2012 when they asked me to be in the ambassador class.

 
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MTEAM: Why is this role important to you?
DB:
I’m learning how to do speeches, and speak in front of people. One day, I hope to become a Global Ambassador.

 
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MTEAM: What are some of the coolest things you've been able to do as a Best Buddies Ambassador?
DB:
I got to go to school and speak, and I got to go on a cruise with Best Buddies. I did a speech on the cruise in front of Anthony Shriver and the staff.

 
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MTEAM: What do you love most about the Best Buddies?
DB:
I love meeting new people. It has helped me not to be shy and to have a lot of friends.

 
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MTEAM: Do you have a favorite memory from any of the past Best Buddies events you've attended?
DB:
When I spoke in front of Anthony Shriver.

 
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MTEAM: Are you partnered with a buddy of your own at the moment? If so, tell us about him/her and some of the things you do together.
DB:
Yes, I have a buddy now. We went to Starbucks together. She is a very nice person and we both like Starbucks.

 
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MTEAM: Have you met anyone through Best Buddies who really inspires you?
DB:
Christopher Dourov. I met him at a Best Buddies event. I admire him. He always helps me and is always there to listen and is very caring. He always looks out for me. [Christopher Dourov is the Deputy Director of Jobs in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area.]

 
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MTEAM: How would you explain Best Buddies to someone who has never heard of the organization before?
DB:
Best Buddies International helps with one-to-one friendship for people who have a disability!

 
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MTEAM: Has your involvement with Best Buddies in any way influenced your career plans for the future? 
DB:
Yes. I’d like to become a Global Ambassador and work for Best Buddies.