Written by: Lindsay Jewett
In the spirit of friendship, I would like to share with you that Best Buddies is here in Rochester and Western New York! Best Buddies is an international non-profit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies was founded in the late 80s by Anthony Kennedy Shriver following the great legacy set forth by the Kennedy family of social responsibility and leadership. Since coming to the region in 2016 we have opened School Friendship Programs in over 30 schools, establishing over 200 friendships and affecting over 1000 individuals with and without disabilities.
Our School Friendship programs match general education students in one-to-one friendships with their fellow classmates and peers with IDD. These programs provide opportunities for: friendship, inclusion and socialization. Our programs allow students of all backgrounds and abilities to feel as if they belong and are a part of a greater social movement. Our programs start at Kindergarten and reach all the way up through adulthood. It is amazing to see the reach that our programs have.
Best Buddies is a huge resource to the community here in Rochester because it gives individuals the avenue to really affect social change and make the world more inclusive for all.
How to Help
Best Buddies has a variety of volunteer positions open here in Rochester:
- International Advisory Board: We are looking for individuals that are passionate about inclusion in our community. This board will meet quarterly and will help with raising awareness for Best Buddies and help formulate the plans for the years to come. Board Members will also help in event planning such as Annual Events like our Friendship Walk and our Champion of the Year Event.
- Best Buddies Friendship Walk Committee: We are looking for individuals that love event planning and feel passionate and knowledgeable about fundraising. Our walk is held the first week of May and we are looking for a commitment of once a month meetings. This is a great way to network and get your Non Profit feet wet!
For questions, concerns or schedules please contact Lindsay Jewett at LindsayJewett@bestbuddies.org.