BY KATY PULITANO
The Best Buddies club’s mission is to put a smile on kids’ faces at the Bay. Best Buddies is an organization centered around creating friendships for kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). It consists of volunteers that create opportunities for people with I/DD by providing them with a sense of community through various activities and events. Junior Ella Meek, vice president of the club, was the event coordinator last year and said being a part of this club is rewarding and that she is grateful to have formed many friendships.
“As Vice president, I help coordinate events and activities as well as the buddy matches,” Meek said. “I also help members with any concerns they may have and oversee the other officers to make sure they are doing their best to spread our message of inclusion.”
Best Buddies held an event called “The Best Buddies Friendship Walk Kickoff,” where students and their buddies walked two laps around the Bay’s track as well as indulged in the included food and participated in activities. This was held in order to get people to sign up for the real Best Buddies Friendship Walk, which will be held on April 22 at Nova Southeastern University from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
mmensely this year. Gonzalez oversees the club and the communication between the members and says that they are motivated to make the club the best it can be, making every event and meeting much more special.
“The Best Buddies Friendship Walk Kickoff was amazing,” Meek said. “We partnered with Falcon Cove Best Buddies to have over 100 students, as well as teachers and administrators come out to the track to support [our club].”
Alma Gonzalez, Special Education teacher at the Bay and sponsor for Best Buddies, says the club has improved i
“I love to see the smiles on the faces of the buddies when they interact with peers,” Gonzalez said. “To know the challenges some of our buddies face every day just to have time to enjoy the social interactions is priceless.”