Virtual Program Toolkit

As schools and workplaces across the country are closing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, your participation in Best Buddies is more important than ever before. We must stay connected to ensure that social distancing does not lead to social isolation. We can do this though virtual programs!

Things may seem really different in this moment, but our mission remains the same. We can make a difference! This toolkit will help us continue spreading inclusion and friendship even when we are apart.

Practice Self Care

During this unfamiliar – and confusing! – time, it’s more important than ever to feel connected and safe. But, given our country’s warning to practice social distance and self-isolation, it’s hard for many people to feel like they have outlets that make them feel comfortable. Best Buddies has been fighting social isolation for over 30 years, and we are here to provide guidance, connections, and friendship – even if it has to be done virtually for now!

As you look through this site for ways to engage with your friends, chapter, and community in a safe way, we want to remind you to take care of yourself! Your well being and good health is what makes you a good friend – and we all need a good friend during this time. Best Buddies wants you to know that there are lots of people that care about here, and we are here to help however we can!

Here are a few quick tips to follow on ways to care for yourself:

  • Breathe! Inhale through your nose like you are smelling a flower, and exhale through your mouth like you are blowing out a candle.
  • Color: Take time to be creative and let your mind wander.
  • Journal: write down your feelings or just your daydreams.
  • Take time for yourself. Take breaks, eat the food that makes you feel good, get rest when you can, and move your body. Pick up your old hobbies or try something new you’ve been curious about for a while. You need to prioritize time for yourself during this time!
  • Connect with others. Join the Best Buddies’ calls and video chats, or reach out to a friend on social media or through texts. Make a connection that helps you feel seen and reminds you that you belong!
  • Stay informed. Read articles and watch the news to understand what is going on, but take breaks from too much exposure. You want to have information on what is happening, but not wondering ‘what if’ day in and day out. Find a balance that doesn’t consume you.

Stay Connected  

Meeting in-person is not the only way to engage with other Best Buddies members. Here are some activity ideas that don’t require being in the same place.

  • Stay in touch: use your technology of choice to talk to your friends (e.g. phone call, text, e-mail, social media, online gaming)
  • Virtual get-togethers: use audio and video conferencing tools (like Facebook Messenger, Facetime, Google Hangouts, or Zoom) to interact with your friends; think of fun, themed activities that you can do together (e.g. fun group discussions, virtual arts and crafts, virtual karaoke, virtual dance parties, virtual yoga, etc.).
  • Best Buddies Mobile: stay connected with your chapter and safely share your updates.
  • Join e-Buddies: a great way to make a new friend via e-mail.
  • Call each other: pick up the phone and talk to your friends, they will be happy to hear from you!
  • Send letters/postcards: everybody loves getting mail (that isn’t junk mail), especially people who aren’t big e-mail or social media users; FYI, experts say that sending mail is safe.

Remember, we’re all in this together, so let’s make sure that all of your friends know that someone is thinking about them!

 

Virtual Program Checklist

E-Buddies

E-Buddies is an e-mail pen pal program that provides safe opportunities for one-to-one e-mail friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Computers are an integral part of modern society, providing access to an abundance of social and creative outlets.  By participating in e-Buddies, members develop technology literacy skills and become more confident communicating online.

E-Buddies matches a person with an IDD in an online friendship with a person without an IDD.  Participants are matched based on age, gender and similar interests.  Anyone over the age of 10 can participate in e-Buddies. Students are matched with other students and adults are matched with adults. E-Buddies is available throughout the United States and internationally for English-speaking people.

Click here for more information and join e-buddies!

Instagram Live

Join us on Instagram Live every week for a wide variety of activities! Upcoming schedule and past sessions will be posted here and on our social media. Join us!!

Click on the calendar events for more information and check out our Instagram page.

Instagram Live Recordings

Missed our IG live session? No problem! We upload all past Instagram Live activities to our Youtube channel so that you can do them over and over again!