Best Buddies Club comes back to LHS

Emilie Maio, Staff Writer

Best Buddies International consists of volunteers who try to create opportunities for people with disabilities. Ludlow High School senior Mandi Dorval introduced the program to the school last year when several students paired up with special education students to become “buddies” and help form positive relationships.

 “It actually got started because I told my guidance counselor I was interested in going into special education. Mr. [Michael] Halpin then asked me to go to a Best Buddy breakfast in Northampton, Massachusetts. I never heard of the program before. The breakfast really made me want to start a program at our school,” Dorval said

 After Dorval brought this to Mr. Halpin’s attention, the school approved it, and it got started. Everyone started to like the idea and enjoyed the program.

Especially Vicky Gates, a member of the best buddies club. Gates said that she liked this club because they did fun activities and it gave her someone to talk to when she needed to talk to someone.

Some of the activities the best buddy program does is play board games, cook things like lasagna, sit around and talk to each other, raise money for organizations, and they also helped planned last year’s dance.

Before the program started Dorval and her friend, senior Katie Jordan attended a Best Buddy convention. They learned a lot more about how the program was ran and what kind of activities worked best. Also, they learned how to interact with their best buddies to make sure they were being treated just like any of their friends. There were a lot of speakers at this convention which really showed them how important this program is to the people involved and how much of a difference it can make in someone’s life.

“The best part is definitely seeing how happy it makes all the kids involved. Last year we did a lot with the buddies during advisories and you could always tell how much fun they were having by the huge smiles on their faces.” said Dorval.

This program is starting up again this school year.  If there are any questions you can talk to Mandi Dorval.