Member Spotlight: Maria Shriver
Name: Maria Shriver
Why did you found TEAM MARIA?
I founded Team Maria in 2008 with my good friends, Donna Lucas and Margaret Lyons. This team is such a fun way of bringing all the people in my whole wide world together to raise awareness and money for Best Buddies. My brother Anthony founded this life-changing organization back in 1989 and its mission is so near and dear to my heart.
Why is the Best Buddies program, and its mission, so important?
Best Buddies’ work, at its heart, is about letting people with intellectual disabilities know that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Best Buddies encourages schools, individuals and work places to include people with intellectual disabilities in society and their lives. Each and every day, the organization sets out to prove to the world that people with intellectual disabilities can hold jobs, go to school and be a productive member of society.
I think this is vitally important work. Inclusion – feeling part of a group or team – is just an essential human need. People with intellectual disabilities are often left out of the everyday experiences we all take for granted. Best Buddies truly understands the power of inclusion.
What motivates you to participate in the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle?
I don’t see it as an option. My mother taught all of us that we must live with a purpose larger than ourselves, that we must work to make the world a better place.
Year after year, seeing all of the wonderful Buddies, supporters, families and friends who come out to ride for such a life-changing organization is a wonderful experience. This year is especially touching because Team Maria is riding in honor of both my parents, Sargent and Eunice Shriver.