HP Bagpipe

HP Bagpipe

HP Bagpipe

Best Buddies Club Fosters Friendship and Inclusivity

Club members describe the organization’s mission and impact through community-wide events.
Photo by Mila Segal

Junior and communications officer Audrey Teeples was compelled to join Best Buddies club because of the sense of the community the club provided.

“I love it because everyone is so involved and people really want to make a difference,” Teeples said.

Best Buddies is an international non-profit organization that aims at developing leadership, inclusion and friendships between students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are many Best Buddies club chapters across the world. The Best Buddies club at our school is one that many students are a part of and find enjoyment in.

Club members are assigned families, typically groups of four to seven people that hangout with their “buddy” a few times a month outside of meetings. Many families go to lunch or do various fun activities.

“We go to movies, or after an event we go to get froyo, just to spend some one on one time with them,” freshman club member Jaqueline Bill said.

So far this year, the Best Buddies have hosted many events, including pumpkin painting, Friendsgiving, a Christmas movie party and a sports game day. Bill states that her favorite event has been the Christmas movie party because of the excitement during the movie.

“The buddies were all talking about their predictions for the movie and it was really sweet,” Bill said.

Similarly, senior and club president Brynn Bassest’s favorite event was also the Christmas movie party. The party featured a Christmas movie, Chick-fil-a, hot chocolate and quality time with friends.

“Everyone was together, drinking hot chocolate and just having fun,” Basset said.

Bassett explains that being club president is a lot of work, but she has enjoyed the journey and is delighted in leading the club. She loves planning and creating new activities and events despite having to organize such a big club.

“When you’re not president you don’t know what goes into it, but it’s really fun to be able to start new ideas and put everything together,” Basset said.

Basset is proud of the high level of participation from students in the club. For many clubs, it is difficult to get members highly involved in events, but this is not a problem for the Best Buddies club.

“We are very lucky that we have so many kids that are inclusive and want to be a part of Best Buddies, and we have such a big chapter [at our school]” Basset said.

Teeples states that she has grown close with her assigned family and has made many meaningful friendships. She loves the work of Best Buddies as it has helped many people to overcome societal preconceptions.

“[The club] shows that people with special needs are still people that want to have friends and hangout,” Teeples said.

Over her three years as a club member, Teeples says that this club has taught her subtle but impactful social skills that have helped her become even more inclusive.

“I’ve learned the importance of being inclusive to people in ways I wouldn’t normally think of like inviting people into conversations, inviting people to play games and being aware of my surroundings,” Teeples said.

Furthermore, Bill discusses that the club events are a great opportunity for the buddies to participate in sports or activities that they usually don’t get to. Additionally, having familiar faces around throughout the event makes socializing more fun.
“Everyone wants to be a part of what they are doing,” Bill said. “They want to play basketball, they want to play any sport they can, even if they can’t do it like everyone else.”

There are numerous clubs for special needs kids at the school such as Spirited Scots, Special Olympics club and SOAR. However, Best Buddies is unique because there are active chapters in all 50 states.

Additionally, one of the most highly anticipated events of the year for the school is the Best Buddies Friendship Walk. During the fundraiser, North Texas chapters walk together to make friends and promote inclusivity. The Best Buddies have also made plans for several other events this spring.

“This year we are going to try to do an event with the elementary school and middle school Best Buddies just to really get everybody together,” Basset said. “I just love being able to create more friendships [for them].”

Overall, one of the most important values of Best Buddies is friendship. Bill states that more students should join the Best Buddies club because it is important for the buddies to expand their social circle and foster new friendships.

“The more people that are here, the more people these kids know in the hallways and can say hi to and reach out to,” Bill said.

Similarly, Teeples emphasizes the need to be inclusive to all within our community. One of the fundamental aspects of humans is interacting with others, and that starts with reaching out and being kind.

“I think it’s really important to recognize that everyone should have a friend and deserves to be welcomed, ” Teeples said.

About the Contributor
Mila Segal
Mila Segal, Designer
Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why? Greece! It looks gorgeous! If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pizza If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Malibu