All over the world, the Best Buddies programs share two main goals – pair students in order to create loving and supporting friendships and end the social, physical, and economic isolation of people with disabilities.
In the Best Buddies program, students form one-to-one lifelong friendships. The program forms a strong bond between peers. After students from the Best Buddies program graduate high school, they are still very good friends and they become a part of each other’s family.
“A lot of the students who we match in one-to-one friendships might not usually have out of school interactions, people might not be calling them to hang out,” said Best Buddies advisor, Christina MacSweeney. “It gives them the to opportunity to feel like they’re part of the community and part of the school. It builds great friendships.”
The buddies go out to eat and hang out with each other, which helps in building social skills. Best Buddies also gives students with disabilities a good friend in their peer group who they can go to for anything. These friendships give buddies the opportunity to become more involved and build friendships.
¨Every year one of our goals is to get the students with special needs in a one-to-one friendship so we can build their social skills,” said MacSweeney.
In Best Buddies, students with disabilities communicate with people which helps them to live independently, improve their skills in self-advocacy and public speaking and to increase their value in society.
Best Buddies meets once a month on Thursdays and the first meeting will be in October. Students can go to the first meeting or sign up online at www.bestbuddiesonline.org.