Best Buddies, an organization committed to helping those with intellectual and physical challenges, continues to thrive as a school club. Many students are involved for service; however, others join just for the experience.
In the beginning of the year, Best Buddies was able to recruit a lot of people during the activity fair. While this is a service club, its main purpose is to have fun. As senior Erin Gleason said, “The fun environment makes you forget you’re doing service half the time.”
Senior Alice Brennan, who is a member of the organization, said, “People should join Best Buddies because it’s a great way to grow a one-to-one relationship with (individuals) and also gives you a chance to support others with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
For students who did not sign up at the time, everyone is still welcome and encouraged to join.
Gleason continued, agreeing with Brennan, saying, “The buddies you meet are truly the happiest, most genuine people in the world, and getting the opportunity to hang out with them is something I think everyone should take the chance to experience. It’s a great opportunity for people to make connections with others they would have never gotten the chance to meet. ”
As the year progresses, there are still many more Best Buddies events to come. Brennan has been involved since sophomore year and looks forward to continuing her involvement with the club. But, there is one thing she looks forward to the most, as many do – the Best Buddies Friendship Walk.
“The walk is held at the celebration plaza held right outside of the NCAA Hall of Fame Downtown. This walk is the Number-1 walk in the country to raise awareness and to raise funds to support individuals with intellectual and and developmental disabilities.
“Usually the students at Cathedral help to set up the tents and work as course guides. We also spread out around the course to cheer on the walkers. It’s such an awesome experience to get to see how happy the kids are when we cheer them on,” Brennan said.
Another club favorite is Damar’s prom. Damar is a school in Plainfield dedicated to those with special needs, and it throws an annual prom assisted by Best Buddies students.
“This dance is my overall favorite memory – it’s such a fun night because everyone is so happy, excited and looks so handsome and beautiful,” Brennan said. While for most of the night students involved in Best Buddies are helping to set up, having fun, serving food and dancing with kids from Damar, they also help their Buddies get ready by doing their hair, makeup and nails helping choose their jewelry.
For Gleason, the Halloween party, “Trunk-or-Treat,” has been her favorite memory of the three years she has been involved. Gleason said, “It was so fun getting to see all the kids dressed up in their costumes and see their faces light up when we handed out candy to them and played Halloween themed games. It was a great day spent with awesome people.”
Best Buddies is moderated by science teacher Mrs. Maureen Bell and club president and senior Rachel Overstreet. Whether students join to have fun or join to get service hours in, they will quickly find that they accomplished both.