Best Buddies is back in action

Best+Buddies+is+back+in+action

by Victoria Jones and Chelsea Winegard

Last April, Best Buddies held a Friendship

Walk in Des Moines and the Simpson chapter came home with the

“Chapter of the Year” award.

“mso-bidi-font-family: Arial; background: white;”>The goal of Best

Buddies is to use one-on-one friendships to improve the life of a

person with intellectual disabilities.

“mso-bidi-font-family: Arial; background: white;”>Simpson students

involved in Best Buddies get the chance to maintain weekly contact

with their buddy as well as hanging out with them

individually.

“Last year when we started people didn’t even

know there was Best Buddies,” junior and president of the Simpson

Best Buddies chapter Amanda Coughenour said.

For Coughenour, it’s more than just being

there for her buddy, it’s the bond they share. She’s known since

her freshman year that she wanted to get involved.

“It opens up a new level of interacting with

people who are different than me,” Coughenour said. “I’ve always

known that I’ve wanted to hang out people like that or work with

them.”

Best Buddies has become more than volunteering

for the people involved. Junior Antonio Reyes has noticed how

hanging out with his buddy has changed his outlook on life.

“In some way I get rid of ignorances that I

once had,” Reyes said. “I see things a lot different and I think

that through Best Buddies I’m a changed person in a way. I don’t

take things for granted and I see past people’s differences because

at the end of the day they’re just like anyone else.”

Best Buddies hosts monthly parties that

students and buddies alike enjoy.

“The parties and that atmosphere, hanging out

with them, playing games, decorating cards and giving them to each

other was a lot of fun,” sophomore Courtney Eischeid said.

Along with monthly parties, Best Buddies held

many other events throughout last semester. “Spread the Word to End

the Word” raised awareness on the hurtful effects of using the

“r-word” and The Polar Plunge was an event at Lake Ahquabi to raise

money for the Special Olympics.

This year the group is planning to hold these

events as well as the Maria Shriver Service Day. All the buddies

will come together for a day and volunteer in Indianola. They

decided to call it the Maria Shriver Service Day because she was

the person who came up with the Best Buddies Special Olympics.

Probably the most memorable event Best Buddies

held last year was the prom they put together. All the Best Buddies

got to experience prom by dressing up and dancing just like any

other high school student.

“We made a prom for them,” Reyes said. “All

the Best Buddies from the high school and colleges got together and

danced.”

The new buddies are not the only ones who are

excited to meet new people, however.

“The very first time we met him and all the

buddies it was exciting to see all their faces because they were

meeting new people,” Reyes said. “I guess they don’t get to meet

people and socialize that often so it meant a lot to them.”

Reyes’ buddy was shy at first but it didn’t

take him long to open up.

“I just took the time to listen to what he had

to say,” Reyes said. “He talked a lot and said whatever came to his

mind.”

There were always many things for Reyes to do

with his buddy.

“We would go out and watch a movie or a TV

show like The Office,” Reyes said. “During the winter it was hard

because we couldn’t go out as much, but once spring came we went

out to the park, Ahquabi, and we grilled.”

Students who are interested in participating

in the Best Buddies program should contact Amanda Coughenour for

more information.