Best Buddies fosters new friendships


Guest Contributor

This post was submitted to Manual RedEye by Maddie Hayden (10, J&C).

The Mix n’ Match party for the Best Buddies club on Sept. 19 in Manual’s freshman cafeteria celebrated people getting paired with their new friends who have Intellectual Developmental Disabilities (IDD).

Best Buddies is a national club which aims to foster a community of acceptance and normalize friendships with children who have IDD.


Best Buddies members play Jenga block questions. Photo by Maddie Hayden (10, J&C).  

People with IDD are often marginalized and can face social isolation, bullying and employment discrimination.

Faculty sponsor Merritt Robinson said to the club members that she “doesn’t see the ability or disability” with kids in this organization.

Several participants received their “matches” in balloons, allowing them to pop it to see the name of their new “Best Buddy.”

Members of Best Buddies run for fun. Photo by Maddie Hayden (10, J&C).

Other fun events at the Mix n’ Match party consisted of games ranging from relay tic-tac-toe to Jenga block questions, both adaptations of the original games.

Associate members of the club are responsible for organizing monthly outings.

The first official outing was Sept. 21 at the homecoming game at Manual Stadium, under the flag post by the field house.      

If you want to join this club next year contact Robinson in Room 201, or go to Manual’s Best Buddies website found here.

Another way to support this club is to buy a Best Buddies shirt, buy Papa John’s pizza on “pizza day” (contact Robinson for more information) or participate in “Spread the Word to End the Word,” by ending the use of the word “retarded” in mainstream culture.