Best Buddies fosters friendships between students


Photo courtesy Josie Starr

Club leader Josie Starr and Danny Fitzgerald at a Best Buddies meeting Thursday.

Co-presidents and seniors Josie Starr and Dani London are planning Best Buddies Club’s first meeting on Oct. 27 in rooms 174 and 175 to match buddies up with their peers and promote friendships between them.

Currently, Best Buddies has had its first interest meeting, and the room was packed with people who wanted to join the club. Sponsor of Best Buddies Lisa Young said, “Best Buddies is gearing up to hold their match party on Oct. 27. Students in the SCB and Autism Program will be paired with a buddy. Then they have monthly meetings, about two outside of school a year and our buddies are encouraged to stop by and see their buddies weekly during lunch or advisory.”

Best Buddies is popular among the students here. Starr said that her favorite part of Best Buddies is, “Being able to meet so many new people, and it’s just a club where everyone is so welcoming and nice and I feel like it’s been a great opportunity for me to meet so many friends.”
Starr isn’t the only one who loves Best Buddies. London said, “My favorite part of Best Buddies is being able to form so many friendships and meet new people who I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”

Young said how it can get isolating in the hallway where the special needs classrooms are so it’s nice to get some engagement from people in there. She also said that the reason she loves Best Buddies is that she loves to, “watch the friendships that develop in the club,” as well as “seeing students who have buddies in our programs saying hi to our kids in the hallway and stopping by our classroom in between classes. ̈

Best Buddies also helps the community. It is a club that is dedicated to ending the physical and social isolation of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities by helping them form meaningful friendships, communication skills and feel valued by society. Starr said that Best Buddies helps the community because, “We raise money for Best Buddies Maryland and Best Buddies international, so we’re able to give back and help fundraise for that nonprofit.”

Young said that Best Buddies gives back to the community “because it gives students who are in our general education programs an opportunity to learn more about people with different kinds of disabilities and who think differently and look differently than they do. So while it’s a great opportunity for our students to get these friendships and interact with people outside of the classroom, I think it’s a really good opportunity for students in our gen. ed. classes to be able to interact with people who are different from them and learn a little more about people.”

Best Buddies is not just a club here but an international organization as well. This chapter is just one of 2,938 chapters around the world. There are a total of 95,887 participants in all 50 states and 47 countries around the world. According to, Best Buddies International has impacted 958,870 lives.