A Chance to Meet Your next Best Buddy

A Chance to Meet Your next Best Buddy

Iyana Jones, Contributing Writer

A chapter of Best Buddies will be coming to the University of New Haven next semester thanks to some incredibly dedicated students, including Kori Hames, sophomore and president of the new Best Buddies club. Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization that establishes friendships between people with and without disabilities. This organization, started in 1987 by Anthony Shriver, has strived to create relationships that dispel the stigmas about disabilities and establish programs to assist people with disabilities in achieving their goals.

“I believe that this club brings the chance to bring equality in a different way. We have PRIDE, and other awareness communities, but we have very few for people with disabilities. Our campus does not currently have a Special Education department and this would be a great opportunity to bring a new atmosphere to our campus,” said Hames, expressing her excitement for Best Buddies to come to the University.

The club will be dedicated to fostering one on one relationships between students with disabilities and those without. The peer buddy (a student without a disability) would mentor their buddy in any way they feel necessary. They would be expected to communicate with them regularly, meet with them once a week, and be involved in on campus activities. Hames has been friends with her buddy Matt for five years and she believes that these types of relationships can change a person’s outlook on life.

“He’s not just someone in a club for me. He’s truly one of my close friends. He has shaped so many decisions in my life, such as my career. Because of my work with him I want to work with young children who have developmental and intellectual delays,” said Hames.

A club like this could have an incredible impact on our campus community. In a world where the “R word” is still a normal occurrence, this club could create a safe space for a variety of students. Secretary of Best Buddies, Olivia Passin, understands these difficulties as a student with a disability.

“I have had people tell me that I have a disease. I had a teacher in high school that told me that my disability is not real, therefore she denied me accommodations for testing. Things like this should not still be acceptable, and having clubs like Best Buddies gives students an understanding place to voice their problems and concerns without fear of judgement,” said Passin.

The club offers students many ways to get involved. Anyone not ready to be involved in a direct one to one friendship can join as an associate member of the club. Their responsibilities would include going to meetings, campus events, and having open friendships with any buddies involved in the club.

The next informational sessions for Best Buddies are on March 29th and April 12th at 6PM in Buckman 210.