The Best Buddies club, which facilitates friendships between general education students and students with disabilities, held its annual kickoff car wash to help the students meet their new buddies and raise funds for the club’s activities during the upcoming school year.
“It’s basically a friendship club,” club sponsor Fawn Joyce said. “We have one event each month and meetings every other week. Everyone can get to know each other in a fun event.”
Buddy Katrina Jeffries was helping hose down each car as they entered the driveway, and was looking forward to a year of fun with her new buddies.
“It’s going good,” Jeffries said. “We’re having a lot of fun. There’s a lot of people here, so it’s easy to get the job done and do a good job.”
Following the event, students will be interviewed by club leaders to determine their interests. The students in charge will then use that information to pair the buddies up for the remainder of the school year.
“At the match party in two weeks, we’ll reveal who they’ve been paired up with,” Joyce said. “The matches last the whole school year, but the friendships really last a lifetime. It’s amazing to see how many students go off to college and come back to visit at our year-end picnic.”
Cars lined up along the northeast side of campus as the buddies rinsed and cleaned more than a dozen cars during the one-hour wash.
“It’s so much fun,” club president Mary Blankemeier said. “After you leave, you feel so energized. You see how much everyone cares, and it’s a blast.”
Proceeds from the event will help the club pay for its monthly events, which include a talent show, Halloween party, a picnic and a barbecue.
Founded in 1989, Best Buddies International has reached more than 900,000 individuals in all 50 states and more than 50 countries, and is the largest club at OPRF.
“The purpose of Best Buddies is to build a community for kids with disabilities, so they feel included and can socialize in school,” Blankemeier said. “It’s great to have that person with you all year. You’ll always be friends with them and always be supporting each other.”
The club will include 63 pairs of buddies and numerous “associate buddies,” who attend and help out during most events, Joyce said.