Best Buddies impacts students’ lives

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Best Buddies is an international organization that promotes friendship, leadership and employment opportunities for people with intellectual or developmental disorders.

The clubs mission is to integrate the disabled students into the community of the school.

“Best buddies is special because it gives students with disabilities the opportunity to interact with students in general education classes, which they don’t normally have the chance to do,” Senior peer buddy Haley Hataway said. “I have developed a really special bond with my buddy from last year and without the Best Buddies program; I probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to get to know her at all.”

The club allows for students with disabilities to form connections and friendships with the general education peers.

One of the three Best Buddies officers, Senior Elizabeth Galanti enjoys participating in the club because it supports inclusion and friendship between disabled students and supportive students.

“The club is unique as it is simply about forming friendships and enjoying the company of others.” Galanti said.

Another one of the three Best Buddies officer, Senior Sophie Barrowman finds Best Buddies to be beneficial because of the opportunity to create meaningful friendships with disabled students.

“I love Best Buddies because of the joy that it brings to the kids,” Barrowman said. “I have met some of the most genuine and kindest people through Best Buddies.”

The club participates in many different events and has a chapter meeting every month where the club participates in various group activities.

“We have chapter meetings once a month and do activities in the community like the Best Buddies 5K, movies, sporting games, etc,” Special Education advisor Rachael Crawford said.  “The Best Buddies 5K just passed and we are looking forward to our November and December chapter meetings.”

The club has many events planned for the 2013-2014 school year.  The first major event of the year was the Audi Best Buddies Challenge 5k held at Morven Park. The team raised over $1,000 to donate to the Best Buddies Organization.

This year the club will participate in events such as the Valentines Dance at George Mason University, The Best Buddies Prom, Spread the Word to End the Word week in March and more.

“We are also looking forward to our future meetings in April and May,” Barrowman said.

Best Buddies is a club meant for anyone who wants to spread awareness and make meaningful friendships with students with disabilities.

“Everyone is welcome to join the club and participate in the meetings and events held,” Galanti said. “Students in both general and special education are invited to become a part of Best Buddies. The club is unique as it is simply about forming friendships and enjoying the company of others.”

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