Meet Jillian Maxcy & Sophia Paton-Tan
Best Buddies Texas’ Buddy Pair of the Year Jillian and Sophia personify the organization’s mission of genuine friendship. Jillian is the vice president of the Best Buddies chapter at Westside High School and she and Sophia became friends through Best Buddies during the 2013-2014 school year. The duo is inseparable and often spend a lot of time together at school and out in the community. Both girls keep busy schedules due to school and work, but remain committed to their friendship.
In all Best Buddies friendships, the hope is that the year-long matches will outlast Best Buddies requirements – transforming into more organic relationships between people with and without disabilities.
Peer buddy Jillian says, “Sophia loves being involved with our chapter and my Best Buddies experience would not be the same without her. Sophia is an amazing friend and I really cannot imagine my life without her. She is a good listener, fun to be around, and always supportive. I fully recognize the reason for Sophia’s place in my life. I have discovered in myself not only my capacity, but also my deep passion for and dedication to helping others.”
The feelings are clearly mutual.
“My favorite quality about Jillian is her huge heart and just being around her makes me a better person,” says Sophia. “Before joining Best Buddies, I was kind of lonely and afraid to make friends. Jillian helped me to gain confidence in myself…I really enjoy her friendship and I am so happy we are buddies!”
Sophia’s mother, Adrienne Quaresma, proudly affirms that because of Best Buddies, her daughter Sophia was able to participate in things she “never dreamt possible with great confidence, joy and pride in herself.”
“Sophia wants to be like all the other students in high school,” says Adrienne. “She wants to be cool, dress cool, attend parties, learn how to drive, and make new friends. Seeing her being included in different activities and experiencing things that she loves so much is an indescribable feeling.”