Blog #96~ Best Buddies Program
Spring is in the air! I scrolled the Facebook wall over the weekend admiring all the beautiful gals dolled up in their prom dresses and the young men looking so handsome in tuxedos. It’s a rite of passage for high school students, but one that my son Nick never had a chance to experience. Nick has Down syndrome and autism and the prom just wasn’t in the cards for him. I don’t write this to get sympathy, but to draw attention to a program called *Best Buddies.
Students like Nick who have intellectual and developmental disabilities are often isolated and left out of traditional school activities. That’s where the Best Buddies program comes in.
“The Best Buddies program fosters one-to-one friendships between students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies helps to create an inclusive school climate breaking thru social barriers at an important time in a young person’s life. This non-profit organization is dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership for people with IDD. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies has grown internationally from one school chapter to 1,700 middle schools, high schools and college chapters worldwide. Best Buddies has eight formal programs impacting 800,000 individuals both with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities worldwide.”
How did Best Buddies impact Nick’s high school experience? Because of Best Buddies, Nick was able to enjoy a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. Each month the group participated in meetings, community volunteering, parties, and social events such as bowling, going to the movies, out to eat and to local parks. In addition, the group hosted two dances a year.
Nick volunteering at a Knights of Columbus fundraiser……
Nick heading to the Best Buddies Spring Dance……
Nick looked forward to these events and being paired up with his peer partners. I am very grateful for these students who volunteered their time to the Best Buddies program. Nick had a special connection with each of his peer partners. This program truly enriched his high school experience. That’s what is in my noggin this week.
For more information on Best Buddies: http://www.bestbuddies.org