Best Buddies Friendship programs represent one of our organization’s four key mission pillars. These programs build one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), offering social mentoring while improving the quality of life and level of inclusion for a population that is often isolated and excluded. Through their participation, people with IDD form meaningful connections with their peers, gain self-confidence and self-esteem, and share interests, experiences and activities that many other individuals enjoy.
Fosters one-to-one friendships between middle school students with and without IDD, in which they share interests, experiences, and activities. Students with IDD are often isolated and left out of social activities. Best Buddies Middle Schools helps to create an inclusive middle school culture for all students early on in their educational development. As Best Buddies Turkey, we wish to develop this program in the future. For now, Middle Schools program is available for activation only in Edirne, Turkey.
Fosters one-to-one friendships between high school students with and without IDD. In this time of heightened social and emotional development that can be difficult even for teenagers without IDD, the Best Buddies High Schools program helps break through social barriers at an important time in a young person’s life.
Fosters one-to-one friendships between college students without IDD and their peers on campus or in the community with IDD. Young adults with IDD historically have been isolated at home or in work environments. The Best Buddies Colleges program is changing this by providing the opportunity for people with IDD to be involved in their local campus and community life.
Supports the development of friendships between adults with and without IDD in corporate and civic communities. Many people with IDD have limited opportunities for social interactions after they leave the school environment. This program helps people with IDD become part of mainstream society and creates an inclusive and diverse community for all. As Best Buddies Turkey, we wish to upscale this program in the future.
Provides a safe place online to develop one-to-one friendships between people with and without IDD. By joining e-Buddies, participants become more comfortable using technology to communicate with friends, gain computer literacy skills, and are better equipped to socialize online in the future.
For more information and application: https://www.bestbuddies.org/what-we-do/ebuddies/
A participant with IDD is paired with a person without IDD based on location, age, sex and shared interest for at least one year of friendship. For school programs, matches typically start at the beginning of the school year.
Participating in activities and spending quality in-person time together at least twice a month is suggested for buddy pairs of all ages.
Best Buddies Offices and Chapters plan events, host group activities, support friendship matches and are available for onsite support.
Buddy pairs connect at least once a week by email, phone call, texting, social media or written correspondence.
For e-Buddies, participants communicate via email at least once a week for a year.
Best Buddies staff members maintain regular contact with Friendship program participants to ensure the quality of matched pairs.