As the holiday season approaches, the members of Best Buddies are preparing for their annual holiday party. The party will be held on Dec. 22 in the SC Corral from 7 p.m to 8:30 p.m., and this year’s theme is ugly sweaters. Peer buddies (students who are paired with a buddy with special needs), buddies, and alumni will spend the evening doing holiday activities such as cookie decorating.
“We have one Best Buddies event every month, and we started organizing the calendar according to the holidays,” Best Buddies sponsor Cassandra Niego said. “Our buddies love everything and anything holiday.”
The participants received their buddies and buddy families at the Friendsgiving party held on Nov. 17. These pairings give the buddies and the peer buddies a chance to have a connection with one another. The families also gave the participants someone to hang out with at club meetings and parties, officer Melissa Blouin ‘23 said. Best Buddies has also had some previous events this year, including the Halloween party held in October, the Friendsgiving party, and the pool party at SC in November. Aside from all the engaging and fun events held every month, Best Buddies creates friendships for everyone participating.
“My buddy, [Ally McKirchy] is a great light to my life [because] she is always happy and dancing,” Blouin said. “I think overall I have had a very positive experience with my buddy, because I have had her as a buddy since freshman year, and we get along very well and are always excited to see each other.”
Besides sponsors, the club has student officers leading meetings. Officers are given specific responsibilities such as helping plan meetings and matching up the buddies. However, there are some deeper responsibilities that the officers feel are equally as important.
“I feel as if I am responsible for making sure that all the buddies have someone to talk to and are happy and having a great time,” Blouin said. “I also help other buddies’ families to make sure they are contacting their buddy enough or give them ideas of what they could do with their buddies.”
Best Buddies promotes inclusion and is a fun environment for all students, Blouin said.
“It positively impacts [the community] if you look at some of the things that we’re focusing on, like dignity and inclusivity in terms of disabilities,” Niego said. “Again, we are encouraging friendship of differences. You will see that there is more of a community built in the hallways and when the buddies see or walk past their peers.”