NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Best Buddies seeking members

According to the Best Buddies website, Best Buddies is a student-run friendship club that creates buddy pairs between students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.
It offers the chance for students to have one-on-one and group friendships with others in the school committee.
The NECC chapter of Best Buddies is looking for new members this semester. It would be a fit for any students looking to make connections in an accepting and kind group and have fun with other students from NECC.
Meetings are held oncea month on the first or second Wednesday at 2 p.m. over zoom.
According to NECC student Yomerly Rodriguez, the student secretary for Best Buddies, “In a normal meeting would have a theme of a certain holiday that is close. Last meeting, we had a Valentine’s day theme, so they asked Valentine’s day trivia questions, and we played a game of Valentine’s this or that.” Rodriguez has been a member of Best Buddies since last semester and loves the community of the club and all of the new connections she has been able to make.
Lilli Baumgardner, a student at NECC and the student vice president of Best Buddies, said she is grateful for the friendships she made in the club. “This has definitely been a group of people I would love to continue to meet with even when I’m not a student at NECC anymore,” Baumgardner said,.
Baumgardner has been a part of Best Buddies since last semester and said one of her favorite things about the group was how diverse the students were; this diversity made her connections even more special.
Grace Adam, the student president of Best Buddies, has been in the club since she was in high school. She also voiced how long-lasting the friendships made in this club are. Members can either join the buddy program or join to be a part of the club as a whole.
“You don’t have to have a buddy in the group; you can just be a part of the group and go to the meetings. During these meetings, you can still do activities and events you just don’t have to have that one-on-one connection if it is too overwhelming,” Adam said. However, the buddy program is a great way to create a meaningful friendship. To be paired, one fills out an interest questionnaire to match with someone compatible with their interests. This pair will include one person with and one person without disabilities. Rodriguez stated, “If you match with someone with a disability, you can learn about it more and have a better understanding of how they live their life.”
In a time when many of our connections have been cut off due to COVID, Best Buddies can help to rebuild these connections for people with and without disabilities. “Best Buddies is a great club to make you feel like you are a part of a group that cares about you,” Rodriguez said.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 9 at 2 p.m. on zoom. Learn more by joining the NECC Best Buddies Blackboard.