Best Buddies: Buddy director shares his story

Hi, my name is James Kleimola. I am the buddy director for Best Buddies and I live on EMU’s campus. I go to school at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District program on campus at EMU. I have cerebral palsy and it doesn’t stop me whatsoever. I am involved in my church activities and I play guitar at my church.

I work for The Eastern Echo delivering newspapers. My boss is Kevin Devine. I am also the manager for the EMU football team and our new coach is Coach Creighton. I help carry equipment, water bottles and pick up the balls. It is a good experience. I like football a lot. It is my passion. My dream is to work for the NFL.

I like to hang out with my Best Buddy, Jordan. Jordan and I play guitar together at my apartment. Jordan and I have been matched for two years in Best Buddies. It has been a great experience. Jordan plays saxophone and guitar at my church with me.

Jordan is a really good friend of mine, and he supports me a lot, which is really good because we can talk about things together. We get through hard times together. We write music together and stuff and we do activities too.

I am also part of the Peak Biking program. I have a biking instructor named John. This program is where cyclists ride with people who have disabilities. I went up to Lansing to talk about the complete street legislation and the vulnerability bill. I am making a difference in my community.

I currently live at Cornell Courts with my roommate. Next year I will be moving on and into a new apartment. This has benefited me a lot, and I want other students to get a lot out of it too. It is a lot of hard work living on my own, but it is worth it.

I went on an Alternative Spring Break trip with Best Buddies last year. We had to get permission from the university to do this and get letters, and we were able to get the support that we needed to go on this trip. It was a great experience because we were changing people’s lives and serving people throughout the week. This year we will be going on another trip.

I want people to understand that nothing is going to be given to you in your life, You have to work for what you get. That is just the way it is. I am really blessed for my paying job because it really helps me out a lot. Life is a blessing because I have a lot of people that support me in my life. I’m just happy every day.

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