DESIREE SANCHEZ | EDITOR
Best Buddies is an organization designed to let people with intellectual and developmental disabilities create real and long lasting friendships with others. Best Buddies allows them to form relationships, get a job, live on their own, speak publicly, develop communication skills, and feel more a part of their community. La Cueva has a Best Buddies program, along with other high schools in the state. Our buddies and their peers all benefit and learn from being in the program.
Ms. Hantzopoulus, one of the teachers associated with the Best Buddies program, said, “Having the buddies in the class helps because they can foster friendships which is what we teach, but it’s a learning experience for everyone.” The kids benefit and feel more a part of the school and community thanks to the best buddies program.
Taylor Novak is a best buddy as of her junior year. “The kids are very excited to have friends and people to hangout with. They like to live fairly normal lives, like movie night and other social events,” said Novak. The kids are very grateful to have this program. Hantzopoulus said, “It makes them feel like they are part of something and included in an activity just like everyone else.”
The program doesn’t only benefit the kids in her class, but the buddies as well. Novak said, “Being in best buddies makes me more grateful for what I have and how fortunate I am. I love helping the kids and that I get to have this experience.”
Best Buddies is an amazing and eye opening experience for everyone who participates in it.