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Bella Maria D.

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Best Buddies International, Inc.
October 28, 2010

I joined Best Buddies "email buddies" at first. That is how I wanted to get started and provide social inclusion with someone with an intellectual disability to let them know someone cared and was willing to be their friend. I wanted my 16 year old daughter (at the time) to join as an email buddy. She was skeptical at first. She told me she did not know how to interact and was scared. I told her all she needed to was be a friend. She agreed and I told her I would help her get started. I had know idea she was finally paired with an email buddy and my daughter wrote her buddy on her own. They have so many things in common. I think that makes email buddies special because it does take a while to get paired. I think they send emails everyday day now. My daughter has actually became a great friend to her email buddy. Sometimes her e-buddy will vent with frustration and my daughter always tries to cheer her e-buddy up. She also stresses that her e-buddy may have an intellectual disability that main streamed kids also get picked on too. They talk a lot about music, shopping, and movies. My daughter has never met her her e-buddy but they are like best friends. My college age daughter joined to become an email buddy. She was recently paired up and she really enjoys talking to this girl. My daughter is Bipolar and Dyslexic and has really helped her e-buddy overcome obstacles. Since they are older they are planning on meeting each other one day. I can not say enough for this program. I am actually in the process now of getting paired with an actual buddy from my area to be a friend too and take to the movies and shopping. In the meantime, we have two intellectually disabled 19 and 20 year old boys at my church and I wanted to approach the mother but not offend her. After mass one morning I approached her. I had to explain how in detail the program works. She listened to me. I gave her the email address to Best Buddies International and she signed her boys up for e-buddies. She then looked into the other programs to see what else best buddies has to offer her sons. She called me the next day and talked more. Her one son is in a group home apartments nearby. She gave the administrator information and the website. The administrator called me back and was interested to have me to meet the residents and sign them up with e-buddies and see if I can get them paired with a one on one buddy or jobs. My first step was signing them all up to be paired with an e-buddy. My husband works near this group home and is in management and is willing to give a couple of the residents jobs. He has also contacted Indiana and Chicago Chapters to get more information for jobs. He has talked to neighboring businesses about hiring some of the intellectually disabled individuals. This has turned into a family affair project that we all love socially included these individuals. Now my mother has signed up for an e-buddy and is waiting to get match! Best Buddies all around is a great program that promotes social inclusion for those with intellectual disabilities.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing results of happiness, friendships, and Social Inclusion with the intellectually disabled.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None at all. This program is great and offers a variety of services for volunteers and the intellectually disabled.

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I help making people aware of best Buddies.