By Lisa Capobianco
The Best Buddies Club at Southington High School fosters one-to-one friendships between students with and without intellectual disabilities. From bowling and mini golf to holiday parties and dances to athletic events, members of the Best Buddies Club at the high School take part in a variety of different activities with each other.
“We try to plan a lot of events,” said Chapter President John White, a senior at the high school.
With the planning of different events and activities come fundraising efforts. A recent $1,500 donation from New York Life Insurance will benefit these activities.
“I was ecstatic,” said Teacher Advisor Nicole Proffitt of the club, adding that the money will benefit transportation, food, activities, chapter dues. “This is a great opportunity for us.”
New York Life agent and long-time resident of Southington Peter Ramsay decided to give back to Best Buddies last May during one of the club’s celebrations at YMCA Camp Sloper. Ramsay jumped at the opportunity to bring a group of volunteers from New York Life to the event when his niece, who served as the club’s president last year, asked him to help out.
Ramsay said employees of New York Life enjoyed volunteering at the celebration, and he hopes the donation will help the club in a variety of ways.
“I hope it allows them to do more things with the kids,” Ramsay said. “It has become such a good organization.”
Established in 1989, Best Buddies is a non-profit international organization that grew from one original chapter to nearly 1,700 middle school, high school and college chapters worldwide, according to its website. Currently, the Best Buddies Club at Southington High has 50 members, including students with and without intellectual disabilities.
White has been involved with the club since freshman year. He said getting involved with Best Buddies has served as a rewarding experience not only for himself but also for his peers.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” White said, adding that all members of the club have established lasting friendships with each other. “I think you appreciate the little things you see in friendships.”
By Lisa Capobianco