The Sentry

Who are the “Best Buddies?”

Photo+credit%3A+Tori+Flick
Photo credit: Tori Flick

Photo credit: Tori Flick

Photo credit: Tori Flick

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There are many social organizations on campus, but none form the same lasting friendships that Best Buddies and its members gain through their organization and its activities. Despite the deep impact it has on a large number of students, many at RMU still remain unsure about what Best Buddies is and the important role that they have on campus.

“Best Buddies is an organization that forms one-to-one friendships, that to me last a life time,” Danielle Brunner, Best Buddies Club president, said. “We match college student with individuals 18-plus with IDD.”

IDD stands for intellectual or developmental disabilities. The Best Buddies branch at RMU is part of the International Best Buddies nonprofit organization. All branches share the group’s three program pillars: One-to-One Friendships, Integrated Employment, and Leadership Development. RMU’s Best Buddies branch excels at developing genuine, long-lasting friendships between people who may not have realized how many things they have in common. As a result, it’s not surprising that Best Buddies is well loved by members and buddies alike.

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Danielle Brunner (right) finds a match with one of her best buddies. Photo credit: Danielle Brunner

“Anybody who would want to join in, I say do it,” Cierra Wise, a buddy, said. “It’s a fun experience, and I would recommend it if you are looking for something to do in your spare time.”

“My favorite part of Best Buddies is the organization as a whole,” Brunner said. “I look forward to seeing everyone’s smiling faces at every event we have. I cannot just pick one memory from Best Buddies, but the organization has made a huge impact on the way I see every individual.”

In addition to nurturing friendships, Best Buddies hosts a variety of events ranging from holiday parties to campaigns for awareness about issues facing those with disabilities. The group works to make the community aware of the issues faced. As part of their “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign, they handed out ribbons to remind people to stop using the “R-word” and to instead focus on respecting all people.

To those considering getting involved in Best Buddies, Brunner encourages participation in the group.

“I have said this and will continue to stay this to potential members of Best Buddies: it’s not a huge commitment, but it’s a life changing choice,” Brunner said. “Every member has grown with this organization and will continue to grow each and every year. Best Buddies here at RMU is an organization that I encourage everyone to get involved in.”

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