The term buddies for life really comes to reality when you hear about this club. It is a place where everyone has a friend. There is always someone to rely on and you make memories that last a lifetime. Who would not want to be apart of it? The Best Buddies Program is a year-round club where many different high schools around the nation offer students one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The peers and buddies that pass through this club leave with some of the best of friends and greatest of times.
Senior Grace Selner, who is a peer buddy for her second year now has adored this program and just ran as secretary of the club.
“I just love that you get to make friends with a lot of people that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see at school,” Selner said. “You get to form these friendships that are really awesome.”
In the club, you are paired up with a buddy, and make a year-long commitment to friendship. Once paired up, which is done by matching similar characteristics, you hang out and get together multiple times throughout the year.
Senior and president of Best Buddies, Sophie Katz, explained some of the fun activities she participated in with her buddy from last year.
“We go to the movies, have ice cream, just hang out, any sort of thing to make us bond and for us to grow closer,” Katz said. “Once a month, we have a big event with the entire club, normally for things like Valentine’s Day, or Thanksgiving, and pretty much just the holiday around the month.”
What makes a good buddy is someone who is very compassionate and patient. You need to be open to new ideas and perspectives. Club advisor, Daniel Cox, describes the Best Buddies Club as having fun and making friendships.
When he was asked about his views on the program and how he became the advisor, he was not shy to share his devotion.
“The opportunity came to me my first year, and the club needed additional help during the prom,” Cox said. “After seeing how the event was and how happy the kids were, I knew they needed a new sponsor next year so I just jumped on it.”
Mr. Cox is a special education teacher and loves what he does. He began teaching special education students in his college years.
“When I was substituting during college, every class I subbed for was Special Ed or ESL, and, I felt more rewarded with them,” Cox said.
Senior Kat Smith has loved this program so much, she signed up again. Her favorite part about Best Buddies was the Halloween party in which she and her two buddies dressed up as Monsters Inc. characters. She also really enjoys eating and hanging out with her buddies.
This program has not only allowed the buddies to grow exponentially, but the peers as well. Because of this program, many of them are planning on continuing to work or even pursue a career with students with special needs to help and support them later on.
When Selner and Katz were asked about their futures, they had Best Buddies to thank.
“I want to be a neurosurgeon when I grow up,” Katz said. “I want to be able to help fix autism and different kinks in the brain.”
Additionally, Selner pointed out that she is curious about the medical field as well and how it is definitely on her radar.
Because of this program, kids all around the school are growing and shaping into amazing and compassionate people. This club will brighten your day like no other.
“It’s amazing seeing overtime how the members grow not only as a person but as a part of the community,” Cox said. “It’s really just feeling the part and just being happy with everything that’s going on. Just seeing them smile is what makes it worth everything that’s apart of the club.”