Victoria and Rita’s story

“Of all the things you’ve ever done for this school, this is by far the best “

When we first learned about Best Buddies we were at a semi formal dinner at St. Joseph’s Morrow Park School. We were excited about the program and quickly wrote down our contact information for the representatives there. Little did we know that Ms. Casalino and Mrs. Grella already had this project in mind back at Madonna.

Before we knew it, we were paired up with two amazing girls.

Best Buddies is a partnership between senior students who volunteer their time with students who face various challenges. Through this program we’ve developed strong friendships with the girls. Through arts and crafts sessions, dancing in the student government office, eating lunch with our buddies daily, and making our debut in the school talent show, we have grown to love and admire all of the time we have spent all together.

It’s ironic that when we first decided to take part in this program we were convinced that they would benefit from it more than us. In fact, it was quite the opposite. We have learned so much about ourselves through them. The people we know have all noticed the change. We have grown to be more respectful to the people around us and to speak up for those who have no voice in our society. We strongly recommend that the students who can get involved with this program do so.

The hardest part about this program is how attached you become to the girls whom you have to leave behind once you graduate. We will never forget this experience and we thank all who helped make it a reality for this is one thing that, for the rest of our lives, we will never forget.

Victoria Newell and Rita Valeriano

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To establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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