Sycamore High School is well equipped with outstanding clubs and organizations, dedicated to aiding the community one student at a time. However, one such club calls to a very special cause, spreading love and acceptance throughout the whole school.
“The purpose of Best Buddies is to allow special needs students to feel a part of the school,” stated Mr. Shelby Tinch, a teacher at Sycamore as well as the main sponsor of the club. “We do group activities and have one-on-one friendships to help these students not feel so isolated,” Tinch explained.
Best Buddies consists of three types of members: the “buddies,” or those with learning disabilities, associative members, those who go to group events and talk with the buddies, and peer members, those who have a special, close relationship and go on separate outings with a specific buddy. Each member is able to participate in group activities, from Halloween parties and “Friendsgiving” dinner, to the much anticipated Best Buddies Prom.
As more and more reports of violence and hate appear on the news, it’s important for youth to find ways to cultivate kindness and celebrate each individual’s differences. With Best Buddies entering its fifth year at 50 members strong, it’s clear that the youth within the community agree.
Upon answering as to why people should participate, Ashland Sanders, current president of the club, commented, “Best Buddies has made me so happy to see all the kids in it happy and hanging out with everyone and talking with people.”
Perhaps the community should draw inspiration from these members who continue with their goal of changing the face of school and the norms of social standards, one buddy at a time.