Commentary by Pete Smith
I’m sure everyone has had a time where they felt alone or socially isolated. Just think back to high school.
Are you cringing yet?
Well now imagine what it must be like to attend school with an intellectual disability at a time when everyone is forming cliques.
The organizers of a group known as Best Buddies did, and that’s why they work to pair students with disabilities with a peer that promises to build a friendship with them.
Organizers say, “Participants see each other twice a month and make contact once per week in order to build quality friendships. These friendship programs, and the socialization opportunities that they provide, help erase the invisible line that often separates students or adults with and without intellectual disabilities.”
And organizers say the most important part of Best Buddies is the one-to-one friendship that forms as the kids do everyday things like meet for lunch, talk on the phone, go to games, go to the movies or just hang out.
And now adults can help support the program.
Carmel Clay Middle School’s Best Buddies chapter and its Student Athletic Board are teaming up for a toy drive. On Nov. 21 Clay plays Carmel in seventh- and eighth-grade boys basketball. Any fan that donates a new toy at the game will be admitted free into the game.
Carmel’s Best Buddies program is a growing chapter and has almost 200 members. It meets monthly and has various after-school activities throughout the year.
For more information about Best Buddies email Risa May at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Jana Cosler at email@example.com.