Best Buddies hosts annual Halloween party

Club officers plan events for bonding


Best Buddies club members on stage during mummy-wrapping contest at SC corral (Kowalski/LION).

Julia Ludden, Reporter

Best Buddies, a national, non-profit organization that has a chapter at LT, creates connections and establishes friendships between students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their peers, sponsor Cassandra Niego said. Gen-ed students are matched with those of need, and the buddies meet to do activities together outside of school. 

In addition to meeting outside of school, the club hosts monthly events, usually centered around a holiday, where pairs can mingle with other buddy groups. 

“Our first [event] was a mixer, which was more of a social ‘let’s get to know you’ [event],” Niego said “Some people gravitate towards each other, just like a friendship, so we use that to match people up.” 

After this first initial event, holiday parties begin. The most recent event hosted was a Halloween party on Oct. 26. There was a costume contest, bozo buckets, and karaoke. In preparation for the event, club president Melissa Blouin ‘23 recalls being really excited to see all of the different costumes. 

“[Best Buddies] means a lot [to me],” Blouin said. “It’s really fun getting to know the kids and seeing how excited they are when they come to the parties.”

In addition to the Halloween party, Best Buddies will be having a friendsgiving mixer, an ugly sweater seasonal party, Valentine’s Day get together, St. Patrick’s Day event, and a community Easter egg hunt, Niego said. Planning out the events is the job of the Best Buddies student officers.

“Our officers have a lot of responsibilities and leadership,” Niego said. “They get together and they discuss what they want the events to look like and divvy up the roles.” 

There are 16 officers in total, all working together to plan the events at monthly meetings before school.

“This year there are more officers,” Blouin said “The goal was to have more junior officers so they can continue to build a strong future for best buddies.” 

Riley Dunlavy ‘23 has been an officer since her sophomore year. One positive thing about Best Buddies is that it is an open club–anyone can come to the events, Dunlavy said. 

“You can either be a buddy, or a peer where you just come to the mixers without a designated buddy,” Dunlavy said. 

Anyone who wants to attend the mixers can come. There are no requirements, you just show up and sign in, Dunlavy said. 

“To me, Best Buddies means connecting with people who you normally wouldn’t connect with and forming friendships that are built to last,” Dunlavy said.