My sophomore year at Clark University I became part of the Best Buddies club thanks to my dear friend, Adrienne Cummings. Adrienne is a fellow senior classmate that has dedicated her time, effort, and love to kids with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). She has worked in Unified Sports (Special Olympics) as well as in Best Buddies and is a great pioneer of equality for those with IDD through these programs.
Best Buddies is an amazing organization gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with people that had IDD. I can honestly say that this experience changed my life and guided me towards a completely altered and truer perspective on what I want out of life.
People that have IDD are often secluded from everyday activities and groups that people without IDD take for granted. Best Buddies is a club that works against seclusion based on disability and promotes inclusion and friendships between people with and without IDD in and effort to empower us all and create lifetime long friendships. The whole point in the relationships between “Best Buddies” is to be equal with one another and teach each other about life from our own unique perspectives and experiences. I’ve learned about the struggles that come with living with their disabilities and have experienced second hand the stigma that society has towards this community. Most importantly, my friends in the IDD community have taught me the biggest life lesson of all: how a positive attitude and a big smile can get you through anything life throws at you.
I am truly blessed to have become part of this community of such great people. Between Unified Sports (Special Olympics) and Best Buddies, I feel that there is hope for an accepting world.
Edited by Annalise Kukor