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Nonprofit Creates One-to-One Friendships Between Volunteers and People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Elizabeth Salazar & Jamauriah Rodgers1.jpg
Elizabeth Salazar & Jamauriah Rodgers

WGCU is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act this month by being a part of the “Move to Include” initiative. It’s a nationwide public media effort to motivate people to embrace different abilities and include all people in all aspects of life.

This week we’re learning about the international nonprofit Best Buddies, which creates one-to-one relationships between volunteers and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


  • Melanie Musick, Area Director for Bestbuddies International.
  • Addison Berger, president of the Best Buddies chapter at Florida Gulf Coast University.
  • Ellie Salazar, president of the Best Buddies chapter at Lehigh Senior High School.
  • Jamauriah Rodgers, Ellie Salazar's buddy who just graduated from the Lehigh Senior High School.
Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University. 
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week.  Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.