Webster’s newest club, Best Buddies, hopes to establish “a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” according to the organization’s website.
Last year, senior Francia Munoz proposed the club. This year, Best Buddies was approved and has hopes to spread the mission of the international group.
With sponsorship from Special School District teacher Emily McIntire, the club will meet every first and third Thursday of the month.
“My hopes are that everyone feels included in our club. We want to create a place where anyone and everyone can join no matter what. I want everyone to get to know one another and create friendships through our club,” Munoz said.
About how she got the new club implemented into Webster, Munoz said, “Mrs. McEntire was actually the one who approached me about starting the club at our school. She wanted to help include the students of the SSD in our school. Of course I said ‘yes.’ So she found Best Buddies, and we got in contact with them, and they were excited about it, too.”
Students interested in joining the club have the choice of how involved they want to be.
“If you’re able to make the time commitment to Best Buddies, then you can sign up to be a Peer Buddy, which means that you will be assigned a buddy, or a person with IDD (intellectual or developmental disability),” Munoz said.
Students paired with a buddy are required to meet at twice a month and encouraged to hangout more than twice outside of school.
“You are also required to make contact with your buddy every week,” Munoz said. “That could be eating with them at lunch or just sending them a quick text.”
Students unable to make a larger commitment have an opportunity to be involved in other ways.
“If you’re not able to make that time commitment, then you can also become an associate member. Associate members are people that aren’t assigned to a buddy but can still come on our monthly group activity. They can also help with our fundraising and other activities,” Munoz said.
This will be Elise Keller’s second year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.
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