Samantha Hauck | Staff Writer
Oct. 20, 2022
Best Buddies is an organization at colleges and universities across the country that sets out to provide friends and support those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or IDD.
The club allows buddies to create important memories with friends.
“Best Buddies is so special because these people can often be brushed aside and not given similar opportunities as people without IDDs,” said Best Buddies Friendship Coordinator Jake Laws. “Best Buddies can give a sense of purpose to everyone, and [it] makes everyone feel important and welcome.”
Laws joined the club because his mom worked in a school for those with IDDs. Her career inspired him to take a role in Best Buddies at Duquesne.
Being a part of the club and forming relationships with its members are extremely rewarding to him.
“An opportunity to make their lives a little bit better is one I will never pass up,” Laws said.
The club starts the school year with a get-together to see everyone from previous years, as well as to meet the new members.
That is followed by the matching party, where all of the buddies and community members find out who the peer-buddy pairs are.
Other events include the Homecoming football game, a Halloween party, a holiday party hosted by the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne men’s basketball games, the Spread the Word to End the Word fundraiser and more. The club meets two to three times each month.
“My favorite event is the matching party we have at the beginning of the year. This is the first time many of the community buddies can meet their new peer buddy, and the excitement in the room is unmatched,” Laws said. “We work hard to make the reveal of the buddies exciting, because we know some of the buddies have been waiting for this for a while.
“It is so good to see almost all our members in attendance at this meeting, and I love being able to see the new friendships form so quickly.”
Best Buddies is always looking for new members, general members or peer buddies. However, they are now in need of more peer buddies.
Currently, the number of community buddies is greater than the number of student buddies. So, not all community buddies are able to have a peer buddy.
“We want every community buddy to have the best time possible, and we try to give every buddy someone they can count on and always have at the events to be there for them,” Laws said.
Those who are interested in joining Best Buddies in any way can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Best Buddies is, without a doubt, the most-accepting and welcoming club on campus, and they made it so easy for me to feel like I fit in,” Laws said.