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The Student News Site of Jupiter Community High School

War Cry

The Student News Site of Jupiter Community High School

War Cry

The Student News Site of Jupiter Community High School

War Cry

Best Buddies kicks off the school year

Addison Gload

Best Buddies is a global organization with the goal of developing friendships and creating bonds between people with and without intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). Best Buddies has chapters in many schools, with 1,535 high schools, including Jupiter High School, having one. Chapters offer students a chance to make long lasting and meaningful friendships with students with IDD at their school. 

“It raises awareness about being inclusive of people of all different types,” Nicole Nunez, Best Buddies Sponsor and ASD Resource Teacher, said. “Whether they are deaf, hard of hearing, cognitively impaired, in a wheelchair or have Down Syndrome, we are inclusive of everybody.”

Jupiter High’s Best Buddies club is dedicated to welcoming all students by pairing students with IDD with students without IDD. When joining, students have the choice to be a peer buddy or a representative. Peer buddies are paired with buddies with IDD. They have a chance to get to know each other by participating in organized club meetings and events together while hanging out and talking. Pairs can also schedule hangouts outside of school to further improve upon their understanding of each other and their overall bond. 

“It focuses on inclusion within our school, which is a general topic,” Phoenix Gulick, Best Buddies President, said. “Though it involves mostly kids with disabilities, it works on a forefront of preventing bullying and creating a space where everyone is equal.”

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The Matching Party, an event where buddy pairs and trios are revealed, happened on Sept. 15. This was the first major event of the school year, with over 100 people showing up to show their support. Students were given a piece of paper with an item or person on it. Students would then find the person who matches them. When everyone had found each other, they were encouraged to socialize and interact with their new friends. 

“Everyone seemed really happy and excited to meet their buddies,” Mia Langbert, senior and Best Buddies member, said. 

Matches are decided based on many factors by officers of the club. The goal is to make sure that buddies can communicate with each other and grow as friends through the club. All interests are looked at to make sure that buddies can talk to each other at the meetings. 

“Matches were made based off of shared interests,” David Diperi, vice president of Best Buddies, said. “If you’re on the dance team and this buddy is really into dancing, we’d look at that and say okay they would be able to talk about this.”

Some other events happening this year include a scavenger hunt taking place on Sept. 29. During the scavenger hunt buddies and representatives will be grouped together in teams. The first to make it back to the president of Best Buddies will win gift cards. A Halloween Safety Party on Oct. 6 and a Halloween Movie Night are also planned so buddies can celebrate the spooky season together. Monthly lunch meetings will also be held to really reinforce the relationships between club members. 

‘’I think it’s a great way to get everyone involved and make sure everyone has friends, because we all need friends and we all want friends,” Langbert said. 

Members who signed up are expected to turn in the informational packets and paperwork given to them at the informational meetings as well as their $40 dues paid by check or cash to Nicole Nunez in room 4-107. In the packets is an attendance policy. Members need to attend the meetings scheduled throughout the year or else they will be removed from the club.

“When being in Best Buddies, as a member, it is your responsibility to show up and show out,” Gulick said. 

Best Buddies gives students ample opportunities to interact with students from all walks of life. For students who hope to join, it’s not too late. 

“If you join now, you will not be matched, you will just be a representative which means you show up and hang out with whoever needs a friend,” Nunez said. 

Best Buddies is a wonderful organization with the core values of inclusion for all. This colorful club that allows students to give back to their community without getting anything in return.

“I think it’s great for the students who need to have someone that isn’t just an adult on campus to talk to people who are similar in age, and I think it’s important that they have someone that they can reach out to that isn’t an adult,” Nathan Darby, freshman and Best Buddies member, said.

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