Introduction to Best Buddies

Written by Kennealy Nolan

Since 1993, Best Buddies, along with its dedicated members, has worked towards the formation of friendships between individuals with, and without, intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). This non-profit organization preaches and promotes inclusion, acceptance and friendship. As a school community, St. Francis Xavier has contributed to this extraordinary movement through its very own Best Buddies Club. With the support of teachers and students alike, St. Francis Xavier has been able to create lasting impacts within the school and throughout the community at large.  

The values of inclusion, acceptance and friendship have been spread across some fifty-six countries worldwide since Best Buddies originated, with programs both in, and out, of school communities. As the official Best Buddies Canada website states, “Our programs are geared towards people who have an intellectual or developmental disability. The IDD community that Best Buddies serves includes, but is not limited to, people with Down Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities.” This organization’s mission is separated into four pillars: One-to-One Friendships, Integrated Employment, Leadership Development and Inclusive Living. The first pillar, one-to-one friendships, is the formation of relationships between members and non-members of the IDD community. The second pillar, integrated employment, is the creation of opportunities for members of the IDD community to obtain an income while paying taxes and supporting themselves. The third pillar, leadership development, encourages and educates people with and without intellectual or developmental disabilities to become leaders, public speakers and advocates. The final pillar, inclusive living, is the newest pillar. It creates integrated living arrangements between members and non members of the IDD community. With the help of fundraising and generous donations, Best Buddies has continued to thrive while creating lasting friendships and opportunities within the IDD community. 

Here at St. Francis Xavier, students of all grades have upheld and embodied this organization’s values through their membership in Best Buddies. This year, the Best Buddies have organized both Halloween and Christmas events and fundraisers for the school community. Their most recent – and ongoing – fundraiser is the Knights Popcorn Sale. During the month of January, the Best Buddies will continue to sell popcorn each Friday on the lunch breaks. Popcorn is being sold for two dollars and comes in three delicious flavours: butter salt, salt and vinegar, and caramel. Make sure to visit the popcorn table on your lunch break to enjoy these delicious snacks!  

It is evident that the Best Buddies program at St. Francis Xavier is an outstanding club, with committed members, who embrace, and share, the values of inclusion, acceptance and friendship throughout the school community every day. 

It is not too late to join this amazing initiative yourself! For students interested in participating in the Best Buddies program, please join the Google Classroom. The code is as follows: nibbgul. Have a great winter break and stay safe Knights!

References

Mazza, EliseIntroduction to Best Buddies