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‘Best Buddies’ Helps Developmentally Disabled People Land Work

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Looking for a job can be tough.

That challenge can be even more daunting for people with developmental disabilities.

Saturday, hundreds of families with special needs children and young adults will attend Stephanie’s Day — a special day for families with special needs.

One of the attending organizations will be Best Buddies.

CBS2’s Kristine Lazar recently spoke with Chris Tenney, a stand-up comic who has autism.

She said Tenney has no trouble bringing down the house in his stand-up act at night  — finding a day job proved more difficult. “Some of the applications didn’t pan out. I never got a call back,” he explains.

Best Buddies to the rescue.

Worldwide, the organization helps those with developmental and intellectual disabilities find employment.

The group was started in 1989 by Anthony Shriver, Maria’s brother and Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver’s son.

“[Best Buddies] gives that person a chance to have more confidence in themselves and feel that they can move forward in their lives and in society and take those steps toward independence,” says Rachel Spooner, jobs supervisor with Best Buddies.

Tenney has been working at Relativity Media, a major movie studio, for five years.

His favorite aspect of the job? “Well, obviously getting paid for something,” he laughs. He also said he enjoys his co-workers.

Best Buddies also helps foster one-on-one peer relationships with a disabled and typical student at middle schools and high schools.

Tenney’s father Kevin knows the value of that relationship. “It’s tough for a child that doesn’t have friends over or doesn’t go to a friends’ house. So the fact you have maybe a kid there who volunteers to make a point to be this child’s friend, I think it’s great.”

Kevin Tenney remembers when Chris was 3-years-old, he was told his son might never talk. Twenty years later, he has this advice for parents with children with disabilities. “It is overwhelming. I would tell them though it is not the end of the world.”

 

 

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