Meet Jackie and Taylor
Jackie and Taylor are both high school students at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois. As anyone who has attended high school knows, finding a niche in the school community can, at first, seem difficult.
“Freshman year I was very shy, I wasn’t really talkative, and I wasn’t a people person. So, I decided to join Best Buddies to make new friends. In Best Buddies, I met people who were just like me. One of my favorite things about my buddy Taylor is she is always there for me and easy to talk to. Another reason why I’m so glad I got into this amazing club, is it really helped me to become more of a people person and more talkative and now I have so many new friends. “I love Best Buddies”, said Jackie, an individual with an intellectual and developmental disability, while thinking back to her freshman year and how much her life has changed since joining Best Buddies.
Jackie and Taylor first met in the fall of 2017 in their adapted gym class, Peer Partners, and their friendship has continued to grow since then. They decided to continue their involvement in Peer Partners, as well as join Best Buddies and Special Olympics together.
For Taylor, their friendship extends outside of school. “We both consider the other our best friend, and we are extremely proud of our friendship. Jackie and I hang out multiple times a month, and we enjoy lots of girly activities like manicures and massages, as well as trips to get ice cream or lunch,” said Taylor. “Last month, Jackie and I attended her Special Olympics swim meet where she won two gold medals. I was extremely proud of her and how she displayed her talent! She said I was the one who helped her get those medals. This month, Jackie came to watch me perform in a show and cheered me on the whole time.”
Best Buddies has allowed me to connect with different types of people and has made me love the fact that being different is not only okay, but it’s the best thing you can be.
The friendships I’ve made with my buddy, as well as other buddies in the club, are lifelong, and I will carry all the memories of these friendships with me forever. Best Buddies has also taught me the importance of simply being someone’s friend. Sometimes we can take for granted how easy it is to make friends, and we forget that, for someone, it’s the one thing they’ve always wanted, but were never able to have. Best Buddies allows for this opportunity. I think I’ve learned more about myself from my buddy than I would’ve learned from anyone else. Jackie and I are forever grateful for the memories and opportunities this club has provided us with, and she will always be my best buddy, as well as my best friend.”