Students work alongside people with disabilities in Best Buddies

By Lauren Trumbull

Features and Editorial Editor

“Best Buddies is an international organization that pairs up community members who have intellectual and developmental disabilities with, in our case, college members from our chapter at DeSales,” says Erin Grube, president of the Best Buddies club at DeSales.

Grube has been a part of the club for three years now. She works with vice president Clare Kisch, buddy director Deborah Scullin, treasurer Stephanie Delgado, secretary Sydney Hendrick, officer Sydney McNamee and fundraising coordinator Melissa Rickens to put together events once a month for club members to spend a fun day with their buddy.

“Members can be a matched pair where a college member is matched with a specific buddy who call each other once a week and do an activity together, or you can be an associate member where you come to the events and mingle with everyone,” says Grube.

This academic year, Best Buddies had seven events. The first was the meet and greet, where the members met up with their buddies for the first time for a cookout and game of volleyball.

Next they had Putt U Halloween golf, where the students and their buddies had the opportunity to dress up, play golf, eat pizza and do a trick-or-treat for their buddies.

“My favorite was the Halloween Putt U event because it gives a chance for the buddies to dress up and have quality time with their college buddies, and who doesn’t love to mini golf!” says Hendrick.

The last event of the fall semester was the Thanksgiving Carnival, which included holiday themed crafts and games.

As for the spring semester, Best Buddies had a “Zootopia” movie day, a talent show, a Buddy Ball and a trip to an Iron Pigs game.

“I love seeing the community buddies get excited at the different events we have. They especially enjoy the talent show… some sang, some danced and one buddy put together a slideshow from his Hawaii trip. Buddy Ball is the big dance that is their favorite event of the year and I enjoy seeing them have a great time,” says Grube.

In March, the club put together a Buddy Ball and all the chapters in Pennsylvania came together to dance. The final event of the year was a trip to the Iron Pigs game at Coca Cola Park on April 23.

“I love to participate in Best Buddies because my buddy Olivia and I get to craft, sing in talent shows, attend dances and so much more while building a friendship that can last a lifetime. Seeing all the buddies having a great time makes the club worth it,” says Rickens.

Each year the club continues to grow and the officers are hoping for the same in the upcoming year.

“Our officers have worked really hard to put on all our events and we got a lot of new freshman this year. It was exciting to see the interest the freshman took in the club this year. We’ve talked about doing more fundraisers in the coming years and also getting some more members from different classes,” says Grube.

Next year, Kisch will become the president of Best Buddies. The club gets together for meetings once a month and will continue planning monthly events for the students and their buddies.

Leave a Reply