Best Buddies program begins


Jamie Vaughan

Sophomore Roxy Rinaldi, president of Best Buddies at Liberty, feels this program is a necessity for the school.

Jamie Vaughan, Staff Writer

Although Best Buddies is a new program at Liberty, this organization has been available all around the world since 1989.

Founded by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a worldwide, non-profit organization that pairs general education students with special education students. Its goal is to establish a global volunteer movement that will allow people to create one-on-one friendships, as well as help people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) develop leadership skills.

“[Best Buddies] gives some kids who may not have the skills to acquire friendships make friends,” Best Buddies sponsor Mrs. Chalker said. “The program is great for both sides.”

According to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), for a person to have an intellectual disability, he or she would have to meet these three criteria: intellectual functioning level (IQ) of below 70-75, limitations of the adaptive skills (such as communicating and social skills), and the disability must be present in childhood.

Also, there are many different types of developmental disabilities that effect a person. Some include cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism.

“I paired up with the special ed teachers who thought this club is just what the school needed,” Best Buddies president sophomore Roxy Rinaldi said. “[Best Buddies] will boost the awareness of the special ed program at Liberty.”

Shriver started the Best Buddies organization when he was in college. Today, Best Buddies has grown into a leading non-profit organization that expands through six continents. With more than 800,000 members with and without disabilities worldwide, the goal is to put Best Buddies out of business by making one-on-one friendships with unique people the social norm.

If you would like to learn more about the Best Buddies program, the volunteers and the impact it has made not only in the community but around the world, you can visit the website: