“Each of us agree that our favorite part of the experience was bonding with the kids. All of our new friends are filled with kindness and heartwarming smiles. During our recent visit, all of the kids asked if we could be best friends. As leaders, this gave us a rewarding feeling knowing that planning for endless hours was all worth it in the end.
For the first time since the founding of our partnership, we joined the kids at John Baker Elementary School for lunch. While enjoying lunch with them and sitting in a circle eating ice cream sandwiches, each of the kids took turns telling us a story using their wild imaginations. This is a memory we will all cherish and hold close to our hearts for a long time.
Moments like these are not only unforgettable, but also serve as reminders of how Best Buddies has changed our perspective on how we look at people with IDD (intellectual or developmental disabilities). Working with kids with IDD at John Baker, and others in the Albuquerque community, has made us strive to continue the work we do every day with integrity, commitment, and passion.
If not for the Best Buddies program, we wouldn’t have these children in our lives who have opened our eyes to ableism (discrimination in favor of able-bodied people) and understanding of this often overlooked aspect of diversity and social justice. We three co-leaders—Bella ’21, and Claire ’21, Mya ’21 —have dedicated our Service Learning focus to this program because it is something we believe in and want to educate other teens about.”