Reedy High School Media

Making an Impact

Students reflect on the impact that the Best Buddies organization has on the buddies

Senior+Victoria+Tamney+and+junior+Grace+Jensen+with+freshman+Dominic+Frezza+tell+the+crowd+what+Best+Buddies+is+thankful+for+at+the+Playoff+pep+rally%2C+Nov.+17.+
Senior Victoria Tamney and junior Grace Jensen with freshman Dominic Frezza tell the crowd what Best Buddies is thankful for at the Playoff pep rally, Nov. 17.

Senior Victoria Tamney and junior Grace Jensen with freshman Dominic Frezza tell the crowd what Best Buddies is thankful for at the Playoff pep rally, Nov. 17.

Photo by Ryan Eldard

Photo by Ryan Eldard

Senior Victoria Tamney and junior Grace Jensen with freshman Dominic Frezza tell the crowd what Best Buddies is thankful for at the Playoff pep rally, Nov. 17.

Andrew Iniguez, Sr. Reporter

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As the fall season comes to a close and winter begins, this club continues to inspire others. This organization makes an impact on the lives of everyone, both with and without disabilities.

The international Best Buddies organization was founded by Anthony Shriver in 1989 to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the years, many high schools have included Best Buddies as part of their clubs to help students with disabilities make friends. Senior Victoria Tamney is the president for the Chapter at Reedy.

“I created the Reedy version because I liked the idea of the club, and after seeing my sister be a part of the organization back at Frisco High, I felt it was important to bring the tradition here.” Tamney said. “As president, my job is to recruit people who want to join and keep them involved. If they’re not doing their job as members, I have to remind them to do their work.”

When joining the Best Buddies group, there are two main roles a member can play: The Associate Members, who attend all the meetings, and then there’s the Peer Buddies, who are assigned a “buddy”. It is their job to take that student to fun areas and make him or her feel right at home.

“My buddy is super sweet,” junior Grace Jensen said. “I love hanging out with him because I get to do what he wants to do and I end up finding these brand new places to go to.”

The club helps serves students with down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and more. Some of the students who have joined have been personally impacted by either having family or friends who have special needs.

“I joined because my sister has special needs, so I wanted to help kids like her,” Jensen said. “It’s interesting you get to meet new people and you also experience what’s it like being a special needs kid, which most people don’t have the chance of doing so.”

The organization is more than just Associate Members and Peer Buddies. There are also a variety of officer positions, with senior Lindsay Thomas being vice president of Best Buddies.

“The most important aspect of the club is to include everyone,” Tamney said. “People don’t feel left out being a part of the club; they can just have friends and know that we’re there for them.”

Like any other club, the Best Buddies plan tons of events for everyone to attend. Over the years they’ve done social gatherings at places like the Hope Park in Frisco Commons, the Jumpstreet, and even a movie night in the Lecture Hall.

“Doing these events is fun because it’s just about seeing the happiness you put on others’ faces,” Thomas said. “You’re doing everything out of the goodness of your heart, not because you have to. Our Peer Buddies are the kindest people you’ll ever meet; they do this because they want to, not out of obligation.”

Anyone interested in joining the Best Buddies organization can grab an application form in Brooke Collin’s room, B104. Meetings are every other Monday after school in the same classroom. Find out more about the Best Buddies at  https://www.bestbuddies.org/ .

“I want future members to know that you make more of an impact on these kids’ lives than you realize,” Thomas said. “You may not know in the moment, but they appreciate you more than you know. Even if you don’t feel that way, the memories will always be there.”

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