Best Buddies’ plans for upcoming year

Mariya Vashchenko, Reporter

Best Buddies, an organization on campus which pairs students with those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, or IDDs, has new plans for the 2014-2015 school year. These plans include a new booth at Homecoming, new fundraising ideas and more parties.

The students and buddies gather together to share happiness, smiles, and to improve the lives they live. The goal of the organization is to promote inclusion for those with disabilities through the school. This goal is achieved by creating friendships among all of the members.

“It’s the happiest organization on campus. It’s all about making friendships, how could it not be?” Sarah Creveling, chapter president, said.

Inspired by her summer trip to the annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference at Indiana University, Creveling has many new plans ahead. In addition to having more meetings to discuss how to have effective and positive friendships, Creveling has planned more over all involvement opportunities for the members.

She plans to establish associate committees. Associates are those who are part of the club, but not paired in a one on one friendship. By establishing these committees, Creveling hopes to give the associates a chance to form bonds with the buddies. Some of these committees will be in charge of making sure each buddy receives a card on their birthday, or coming in during a lunch to just talk.

Best Buddies also has plans to create a basketball tournament against other chapters from schools in the district. Each team will have three buddies and two peer buddies. Peer buddies are those students who are paired in a one on one friendship. Other members will act as cheerleading teams and to run concession stands.

This year for Homecoming, Best Buddies will be selling color friendship bracelets that have been made by the buddies and students themselves.

Best Buddies and students from Creek unite to show that people have a choice to decide to choose hope.

“Originally I joined it because I thought it sounded cool, but then my Buddy became my best friend,” Christina Morrison, Best Buddies treasurer, said. “It’s especially important not only to treat the Buddies the same, but make sure other people treat them the same too. Unless you take the initiative, other people aren’t necessarily going to respond the same way to the Buddies.”

The goal of Best Buddies is provide a big and wonderful family. But to keep the organization running, officers have to take on different responsibilities. The officers for this year are Sarah Creveling as president, Lisa Nhan as vice president, Christina Morrison as treasurer, Sahar Jiwani as secretary, Emily Berthiaume as community relations, Arbera Bedini and Sydney Albro as historians, and Audree Hall and Evey Shanks as party coordinators.

“Basically as secretary, I try to keep everything that’s going on during meetings, and try to keep everybody on track with what is going on and stuff like that,” Jiwani said. “I’m the intermediary between the members and the officers.”

Other officers work to promote the club within the school.

“Right now, I just think my main thing is to keep people updated on parties and meetings and just have everybody actually be involved. I think it is the main purpose right now, and also to encourage people to join Best Buddies,” Bedini said.

The students at Creek want to support their Buddies and show how much inclusion can change the lives of those with IDD’s.

“I am definitely going to make my buddy a mum and make sure she feels like she has the typical Homecoming experience so that she can have the best year that she can,” Morrison said.

The program has helped change the Buddies’ lives for the better by giving them a chance to be seen as equals.

“A lot of people get really happy and empowered when they see they’re not being treated as inferiors and that we’re just their friends. I think that a lot of people I had gotten some really strong bonds and friendships through Best Buddies and that’s really great,” Sahar said.

The group’s historian, Arbera Bedini, has cousins with disabilities, which was her motive for joining the cause.

“I can understand their position; I feel that every student should have a friend or somebody to talk to,” Bedini said.

Although the sign-up process for the program hasn’t finished yet, there are about 40 students who have already planned joined Best Buddies.

For those interesting in joining to help Best Buddies’ goal of changing the world with one friendship at a time, information can be found at B116.