South Shore Best Buddies break down barriers
Written by Mary Whitfill for The Patriot Ledger
A collection of clubs at local high schools are bridging the gap between special and general education students.
Derek Lambiase, a senior at Pembroke High, and his friend Jacqueline Gregorio, a sophomore, spend a lot of time together. They get ice cream, go bowling or out to eat, see plays and workout in the school’s gym. It’s typical high school stuff, but one thing makes it a little different.
Gregorio is a student in Pembroke High’s special needs class, and Lambiase is a defensive tackle on the football team. The two met in the fall of 2017 through the school’s Best Buddies club, and have since formed a special bond.
“I love it, I think I learn more from the buddies than they learn from me,” Lambiase, president of the school’s Best Buddies chapter, said.
The Best Buddies organization, which operates in 53 countries around the world, was founded in 1987 in hopes of creating friendship and opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through the One-to-One Friendship program, students in middle schools, high schools and colleges across the country are partnered with their developmentally-challenged peers to act as mentors, build confidence and give everyone the chance to feel included, Patrick Shaughnessy, the director of Best Buddies for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, said.Read More