Best Buddies friendship programme strives for social inclusion

  Best Buddies is a programme that aims to improve persons with intellectual disabilities’ quality of life. They do this by matching a volunteer with someone with intellectual disabilities to spend time together. Having a friend to go out with makes people more comfortable and confident. This is important because when people are able to...

Best Buddies friendship programme strives for social inclusion

 

etrBest Buddies is a programme that aims to improve
persons with intellectual disabilities’ quality of life.

They do this by matching a volunteer with
someone with intellectual disabilities to spend time together.

Having a friend to go out with makes people
more comfortable and confident.

This is important because when people are able to take part
in society they are generally happier.

You can sign up to find your new best buddy here.

They also have a programme called e-Buddies
to match you with a friend online.

E-buddies also improves your computer skills.

To find your new e-Buddy click here.

Best Buddies jobs programme helps people
with intellectual disabilities find good jobs.

Best Buddies Leadership Development programme helps people
with intellectual disabilities speak publically about their rights.

Best Buddies help to change public opinion
of persons with intellectual disabilities by showing others
what you are really able to do.

Finding friends, getting a job and speaking out improve confidence
and help people be socially included.

 

Best Buddies is a global volunteer movement initiating one-to-one friendships. The international organisation strives to end social isolation for persons with intellectual disabilities through relationships, integrated employment and leadership development programmes.

Founded in 1989 Best Buddies has grown at an exponential rate with almost 900,000 volunteers to date. It has cemented its reputation in schools and colleges across 52 countries and their latest bid to maintain momentum sees the establishment of founding committees in 8 European countries with plans to develop 11 new European Best Buddies organisations. Last month Inclusion Europe president Maureen Piggot attended the Best Buddies Europe and Middle East Staff Forum in Athens, Greece. There she highlighted the overlapping values of Best Buddies and Inclusion Europe by explaining how friendships and connections lead to inclusion and equality.

Advocating for full participation for persons with intellectual disabilities alongside their peers Best Buddies enhances and supports the development of social skills such as teamwork, trust, respect, understanding and self-confidence. The employment programme secures jobs for persons with intellectual disabilities, enabling them to support themselves for independent living and campaigning for the general public to recognise these individuals as employable and skilled candidates. The leadership work is focused around educating and empowering self-advocates to stand up and be heard, advocating for themselves and others. The work achieved within the programmes has an undulated effect across wider society, improving attitudes towards persons with intellectual disabilities.

In addition to social mentoring and supported participation, Best Buddies establishes meaningful one-to-one connections between persons with intellectual disabilities and their peers. Allowing them to share experiences, interests and activities and build their self-confidence. Friendship is essential to personal development, social integration, fulfillment and a person’s quality of life, a message Cindy Crawford, Best Buddies Global Ambassador, captures aptly: “Picture your best friend. Now imagine your life without that person. For people with developmental disabilities, the laughter and excitement of a best friend is only a dream.”

Best Buddies e-Buddies programme establishes a safe place online to develop friendships between persons with and without intellectual disabilities. In addition to new friends participants gain computer literacy skills through taking part, growing in easy with technological communication better equipping them for future online socialisation.

To join or explore the e-Buddies programme click here.

To find your local Best Buddies programme click here.

There are plenty of ways to get involved, from volunteering to fundraising or donation, attending events or spreading the word!

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