Friendship Friday: Adison and Gracie
Indianapolis, IN, Jan. 26, 2024 — Adison Coleman and Gracie Hamilton have been friends for their entire lives.
Their friendship was seemingly inherited, as their mothers had long been best friends. Such close family-friend connections are already rare, but Adison and Gracie’s is even more special for one reason: Gracie has Downs syndrome.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), like Gracie, often face social exclusion. Yet, Gracie’s disability did not stop the duo from fostering their connection at family functions, tea parties and daring adventures like rock climbing.
Adison and Gracie’s effortlessly inclusive friendship was only strengthened when the two joined the Best Buddies Friendship chapter at Zionsville High School. Best Buddies Friendship chapters pair individuals with and without IDD in one-to-one friendships to eliminate the social exclusion often faced by members of the IDD community – a concept that was hand-in-glove fit for them.
“I have met so many wonderful people and have created so many new friendships with similar people who value the same things I do, like compassion, kindness and empathy,” Adison said. “I am so proud to say that I am involved with Best Buddies and promote these values every day and explain to others why they should too.”
Adison and Gracie were both thrilled to find a like-minded organization that cultivates the same values they have lived by since they met, and Adison credits her significant personal growth to her involvement in the organization. Gracie echoed similar thoughts:
“I really like [Best Buddies] a lot,” Gracie said. “It helps me to socialize with others and teaches me to be more flexible and independent.”
While Adison and Gracie will soon graduate from high school, neither plan on ending their involvement in Best Buddies, both aiming to join, or start, a Friendship chapter during their upcoming college years.
“Gracie has taught me strength, resilience and perseverance,” Adison said. “Everyone has something to learn from joining Best Buddies.”
Through the Friendship program, Best Buddies in Indiana has helped 835 individuals with and without IDD create meaningful connections through being matched in one-to-one friendships. To get involved in your local Friendship chapter, click here.
About Best Buddies
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, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to nearly 3,000 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ 11 formal programs — Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors, Promoters, Transitions and Inclusive Living— engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 49 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly one million people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org or connect with us via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
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