A Friendship Program
Our program gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to have experiences which most people take for granted – going for coffee, out to a movie, or simply enjoying the company of a good friend. To this end, Best Buddies establishes chapters at elementary schools, high schools, universities and colleges across the country. At each chapter students are matched with people with intellectual disabilities who share similar interests. The “Buddy Pairs” call each other weekly and get together approximately twice a month. Four times a year all the Buddy Pairs at a chapter hold a group activity. Each chapter is managed by a student volunteer, who is assisted by a person with an intellectual disability, a Buddy Advocate, where possible.
Peer Buddies are our dedicated volunteers who want to make a friend with someone who has an intellectual disability. The Best Buddies program allows them to contribute to the community and promote a sense of belonging. Often times, social interaction with people with intellectual disabilities can dramatically change attitudes and help understand the diversity of people and talents within the community.
Buddies are those who join the Best Buddies program, with an intellectual disability, looking to make a friend. Many Buddies face challenges growing up, with the stigma often associated with having an intellectual disability. The Best Buddies program offers a chance to feel included, and enforces the message that we are all equal, and most importantly – deserving. Buddies participating in the program often develop long-lasting friendships and social skills that are vital for a person’s development.
One Buddy at each chapter becomes a part of the Chapter Executive and assumes the role of the Buddy Advocate. Their special role within the chapter is often their first opportunity to be in a leadership role, and the confidence they gain provides a platform for personal growth.
Community Agencies & Organizations
The Best Buddies program works in collaboration with local organizations, such as Associations for Community Living or L’Arche Communities as well as with the Special Education Departments of local high schools. By working together, Best Buddies is able to maximize its resources while enabling community organizations to broaden their programs and provide additional support for their clients.
Start a Chapter
To start a Best Buddies chapter at your school,please fill in the information below.
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