Best Buddies is here!
Initially, when I researched about Best Buddies-the pics I saw with the celebrity ambassadors all had children with Down Syndrome. After speaking with Neva one day when we were together for the Gingersnaps fashion show, I learned that the organization promotes friendship and inclusion for children, teens, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (IDD)
Through eight different programs, Best Buddies promotes positive relationships and friendships for junior high, middle school students, and following through all the way into adulthood. Anthony Shriver started the organization in 1989 with the idea that he could change the lives of people with special needs one friendship at a time. He had always loved and admired his Aunt Rosemary Kennedy who had an intellectual disability but could swim faster than anyone in the family and could beat him in cards. And it was because of his love for her that Best Buddies has eased fears, altered misconceptions, and broken down barriers for the past 25 years with an organization that builds on friendship and inclusion.
Buddies are picked from participating schools through the Best Buddies Club. Usually, what happens is a “typical” or general school will start a club and then find a “special” or inclusive school near by that they can partner with. Students who sign up for the club will be matched with each other…girl to girl, boy to boy, with similar interests. If your child with special needs likes to be creative and artistic-chances are she will be paired with an artistic student from the typical school. If your son with special needs loves the great outdoors-chances are the facilitators will pair him with someone who enjoys the same things. By pairing the buddies this way, it’s likely that they will develop a friendship OUTSIDE of the Best Buddies organized activities. Ideally, Buddies will meet once a month with the group, and once a month for a one on one bonding session of their choice.
And thus…a friendship begins when you are paired with your buddy…
I thought it was wonderful that we were able to kick off the start of Best Buddies MANILA during Down Syndrome Consciousness Month! I was able to attend a training which was sponsored by the Unilab Foundation AND we even had an Open House in Fully Booked BGC the same weekend!
Best Buddies Manila will be celebrating their 25th anniversary on Saturday March 29th with the first pairing! We hope to pair 10-12 sets of buddies with a simple event at Sonja’s in Shangri La Mall.
For more information on Best Buddies Manila and how to get involved, please visit the Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram Feeds.