Every once in a while, I like to highlight an organization that I think is doing amazing work, this blog is a shout out to Best Buddies International.
At the heart of Best Buddies International’s mission is the commitment to help persons living with intellectual or developmental disabilities build friendships. To me, the cultivation of friendship is a really amazing mission. Friends serve as confidants, advocates, allies, supporters, well-wishers, admirers, and boosters. Friends make life a little easier, a little more fun and a little more secure. But friendships don’t always come easily, especially if you are living with an intellectual or developmental disability.
Best Buddies International is more than friendship; in fact, they support four key missions – one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living. However, the friendship component is the one that speaks to my occupational therapy heart. By building and maintaining friendships, the occupation therapy goals around leisure activities and social participation are supported. The organization offers volunteers and participants five different opportunities:
BESTBUDDIES® Middle School
BESTBUDDIES® High School
Best Buddies helps match volunteers with participants, hosts local activities, and provides support and monitoring throughout the match. Volunteers are encouraged to commit for at least one year of friendship, participate in meaningful activities at least 2 times a month, and stay in touch at least once a week via email, phone call, texting, social media, or written communication.
Want to learn more? Visit their web site today at bestbuddies.org and see if there is a chapter near you!