Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization that functions solely on volunteers. This program creates friendships between students and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This program has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,400 college, high school and middle school campuses across the country and internationally.
Elizabeth Smith, a sophomore at Auburn University, is an active member in Best Buddies. “This program has opened my eyes to how unfortunate people with disabilities actually are, and how an Auburn student can make a change in their lives.”
Best Buddies has events monthly. Some events include movie night, a Christmas present exchange, and an Easter egg hunt. College buddies are responsible for transportation of their buddy and spending time with their buddy at the event. College buddies should also contact their buddies weekly, and spend extra time with them monthly.
“It really doesn’t feel like any other organization,” Smith says. “You feel like you are impacting someone’s life for the better, and it is truly rewarding.”
This organization has a goal to help people with intellectual disabilities become part of mainstream society. They plan to expand nationwide and at the local community level, while more broadly engaging the global community through the Best Buddy program.
Auburn University’s chapter of Best Buddies has over one hundred and twenty active college students. There are seventy-one active persons with intellectual disabilities.
“This has been an awesome experience for me, and I hope people see how positive of an organization Best Buddies is. There is no greater feeling than to see the smile you put on your buddies face when you pick them up for an event.” Smith says.