Best Buddies is ‘all about the kids’


Bailey Kennett

Special Ed. teacher, Jody Egan (right) works with student during class. Egan hopes to build a stronger Best Buddies program this year.

Leaders of the club discussed at length the positives of joining and yet no negatives. One leader would make the claim that students would become more humble. Others were open about the changes they have seen in themselves by leading the club, but in the end, everyone agreed that Best Buddies is for the kids.

“I definitely wanted to change more than just their lives,” President of Best Buddies Jessy Quakenbush said. “It made me realize we are all the same no matter what disability.”

Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization in which students participate in activities and have the opportunity to make connections with both disabled and non-disabled peers. Leaders of the club have several goals to implement this year along with improvements from last year.

SHS and RISE Learning Center used to partner up for the Best Buddies program. Both schools came together to do activities with the kids. SHS split from RISE Learning Center making this the club’s second year being independent.

Best Buddies held a call-out meeting on Aug. 9 for those interested in joining. Over 40 students showed up making it a larger turn out than last year. Quakenbush, a junior, says the commitment shows how important the club is to the school.

“We did not know how serious it was until this year,” she said. “I’m trying to make it better by having the whole school know what we are.”

To be able to make for a stronger program, Best Buddies is always willing to accept new people.  Special education teacher Jody Egan says she wants to get the general education population more involved with her students. Quakenbush and Egan both plan to be more involved in the community and do more activities compared to last year.

Members can look forward to doing many things with their buddies. Activities can include, but are not limited to, trips to the apple orchard, friendship dances, football games and prom night.

The vision for Best Buddies is international. According to the organization’s website, Best Buddies wants a world where people with disabilities are united into schools, workplaces and communities so that its current efforts will no longer be needed.

“I do it for the kids. It’s all about the kids,” Egan said. “I do it for my students because they need that interaction… I do it for the (general education) kids, as well. They get that interaction so they see the love and joy my students give.”