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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the Best Buddies mission?

Best Buddies is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

What are the Best Buddies programs?

Best Buddies Citizens
Best Buddies Citizens matches people with IDD in one-to-one friendships with individuals in the corporate and civic communities. Friends and family are the foundation that help human beings become successful. Without love, support, and friends, our lives would be empty - a life people with IDD have been forced to live throughout history. Since 1993, volunteers are changing lives by simply sharing their time with a new friend.

 

Best Buddies Colleges

Best Buddies Colleges pairs people with IDD in one-to-one friendships with college students. In the past, individuals with IDD have not had the opportunity to have friends outside of their own environment. By becoming a College Buddy, volunteers offer a Buddy the chance to explore a new way of life. College chapters have grown from one single chapter at Georgetown to active chapters on more than 425 campuses worldwide.

 

Best Buddies High Schools
Since 1993, Best Buddies High Schools has paired students with IDD in one-to-one friendships with high school students. By introducing Best Buddies into public and private high schools, participants are crossing the invisible line that too often separates those with disabilities from those without. Today, Best Buddies boasts more than 900 high school chapters worldwide.

 

Best Buddies Jobs
Best Buddies Jobs continues the integration of people with IDD into the community through supported employment. The program helps individuals attain and maintain jobs of their own choosing by providing ongoing support and training, enabling people with IDD to earn an income, pay taxes, and work in an environment alongside others in the community. Since its inception, Best Buddies Jobs has placed more than 500 individuals in integrated employment positions.

 

Best Buddies Middle Schools
In today's middle schools, students with IDD often enter the same building and walk the same hallways as their peers, but they are left out of social activities. Started in 2001, Best Buddies Middle Schools is already active on 145 middle school campuses pairing students with IDD in one-to-one friendships.

 

e-Buddies®
e-Buddies® is an e-mail pen pal program for people with IDD of all ages (10 years old and up) and peer volunteers from across the United States and around the globe. e-Buddies is a fun and safe way to make a new friend in a secure online setting, and is available to anyone who has an e-mail address. e-Buddies can also be a great teaching tool for a special education classroom that can help teach social skills, as well as literacy and computer skills. Joining e-Buddies is quick and easy. Simply visit www.ebuddies.org to read more and to complete the online application.

 

Best Buddies Ambassadors
Best Buddies Ambassadors educates and empowers people with IDD to be leaders and public speakers in their schools, communities, and workplace. Best Buddies Ambassadors is the next step in the Disability Rights Movement- teaching people with IDD the skills needed to successfully self advocate. Best Buddies Ambassadors prepares people with IDD to become active agents of change.

 

Best Buddies Promoters
Best Buddies Promoters empowers youth to become advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Students who take part in Best Buddies Promoters will be successfully introduced to the disability rights movement and the importance of the inclusion revolution through local awareness events. To this end, Promoters is an essential part of Best Buddies' future and helps the organization's vision come to fruition.

 

Why is Best Buddies important?

People with IDD are often excluded from society because of their disability. Best Buddies seeks to change society's perception of people with IDD by establishing meaningful friendships which, in turn, help people with IDD navigate through life with more confidence and ease.

Who funds Best Buddies?

Best Buddies raises funds through a diverse development effort that includes individual donors, the sale of art and merchandise, special events, government grants, and foundation funding. In the United States, the organization's 2014 cash budget is just over $26 million; globally, it approximates $39 million. If Best Buddies had to pay its volunteers, operating costs would be closer to $200 million.

How did Best Buddies start?

Best Buddies was founded by Anthony K. Shriver in 1987 while he was a student at Georgetown University. In 1989, Best Buddies was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and expanded to 33 college chapters. Best Buddies of America formally changed to Best Buddies International with the opening of chapters in Greece in 1992.

Where is Best Buddies going in the United States?

Best Buddies has grown tremendously in its short existence. However, most of the country still lacks programs to help people with IDD become a part of mainstream society. We would like to bring Best Buddies to all the areas where there is a need; there are approximately 7 million people with intellectual disabilities in the United States. We have a long way to go, but with the help of volunteers dedicated to our mission, we will continue to grow. If you would like to help us raise the funds necessary to open a Best Buddies office in your state, please sign our guest book.

Is Best Buddies expanding internationally?

We always welcome interest from community leaders who are interested in helping us bring Best Buddies to their regions of the world. For more information on Best Buddies' international programs, please contact the International Programs department at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 

How can I volunteer?

If you are a middle school, high school, or college student, contact the nearest Best Buddies office to find out if there is a Best Buddies chapter at your school and how to join it. Your nearest Best Buddies office can also help if there is not a chapter at your school and you wish to start one. If you would like to volunteer as a Citizen Buddy, and you live in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts or Nevada, please contact the appropriate offices to request a Citizens application. Otherwise, please contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

How can I volunteer without being matched in a friendship?

High school and college chapters generally have a handful of volunteers who are not matched in friendships but assist the chapter. This is at the discretion of the student leader. Otherwise, contact the office nearest you and ask how you can help. We have plenty of opportunities for you to use your talents -- special events, mailings, group outings, etc., -- and we are always looking for volunteers. You can also click here to find out how You Can Help.

I have IDD. How can I be a Buddy?

If you are a person with IDD, and you would like to be matched in a one-to-one friendship, please contact the office nearest you. We also invite you to join e-Buddies, our e-mail friendship program, by completing and submitting the online application at http://www.ebuddies.org/.

How can I purchase a Best Buddies shirt?

You can place your merchandise orders in the following ways:
-Order by credit card online at Our Store.
-Call or e-mail Arielle Quattrol at 1-800-89-BUDDY or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
-Send your order form and payment by regular mail or fax to Best Buddies Headquarters:

Best Buddies International
Attn: Arielle Quattro
100 Southeast Second Street
Suite 2200
Miami, FL 33131-2151
Fax (305)374-5305

 

 

Can I return my Best Buddies shirt I bought for a refund?

 

If necessary, you are welcome to exchange your item for another item from our shop. Refunds are not available at this time, unless in the event of a defective item. This ensures that the charitable royalty your purchase generated will still go to the program and organization. For more information, see our Customer Service Policy for full details, or contact Arielle Quattro at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , toll free 1-800-89-BUDDY, or 1-305-374-2233.

 

 

 

Can I return my Best Buddies shirt I bought for a refund?

If necessary, you are welcome to exchange your item for another item from our shop. Refunds are not available at this time, unless in the event of a defective item. This ensures that the charitable royalty your purchase generated will still go to the program and organization. For more information, see our Customer Service Policy for full details, or contact Arielle Quattro at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , toll free 1-800-89-BUDDY, or 1-305-374-2233.

 
Copyright 2014 | Best Buddies International