Best Buddies chapters are encouraged to plan activities and events for the chapter and buddy pairs to connect at least four times a year. To help chapters plan activities, Best Buddies has partnered with a number of organizations and adopted various initiatives to support and celebrate our commitment to friendships, leadership, and inclusive communities. Throughout the year, we take the opportunity to participate in new ways we can share our mission with our friends and neighbors. Explore the initiatives below and mark your calendars! We invite you to join us in new ways as we all work together to further inclusion for people of all abilities.
Best Buddies Month
Best Buddies Month is celebrated annually throughout the month of March. This month represents a time for our participants to honor their friendships, share their goals of inclusion with their community, and spread awareness about the Best Buddies mission. For ideas and recommendations on ways leaders can host events to achieve these goals, click on the links below:
- Best Buddies Month Celebration Calendar!
2018 BB Month Poster (8.5 x 11)
2018 BB Month Poster (11 x 17)
- Update your social media profiles promoting Best Buddies Month
- Share your favorite Best Buddies photos and stories with the Best Buddies Family on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by tagging #bestbuddiesmonth!
Spread the Word
For more than ten years, Best Buddies and Special Olympics have partnered together each March to promote inclusive thinking and to challenge thought on the power of language. The Spread the Word campaign was born out of a goal to invite discussion on how language can be hurtful and how our word choices should promote positivity for people of all abilities. Since then, the campaign has become so much more. This initiative invites leaders to share with their community ways that we can act and speak more inclusively every day and advance opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This initiative serves as a great opportunity for chapters to reach new audiences outside of their schools and engage in thoughtful dialogue and activities to cultivate interest in Best Buddies and our work towards inclusion. Here are some ways that you can share in this work:
- Collect pledges at school or in your community. Using a laptop or tablet, encourage people to sign the pledge on the spot and/or create a banner for people to sign.
- Host a youth rally or disability awareness assembly at your school and invite local Best Buddies Ambassadors to speak.
- Connect with local sports teams to participate in a halftime event to promote the campaign.
- Spread the word using social media graphics and resources from the r-word website.
- Follow, like, and retweet your support of the Spread the Word to End the Word movement on Facebook and Twitter.
- Share your own impact on social media spread awareness. Click here for examples!
- Create a video in support of #respect and share it on our Facebook page so we can add it to the growing list of videos on the r-word website. Share the link with your friends and family!
I’m in to Hire
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month; this is a time to promote awareness surrounding the need to support individuals with disabilities who are willing and able to work. Holding a job means so much more than collecting a paycheck. It is an opportunity to contribute to your society, to be needed, to give back, to share your skills, and to make friends. I’M IN TO HIRE unifies the voices of employers and employees alike in support of hiring the 81% of people with developmental disabilities who do not have a paid community job.
Please visit the I’m In To Hire Website for resources and to pledge your support for this initiative.
Sanford Harmony is a social-emotional learning program for youth that provides the foundation for safe and positive learning environments. Through tool-kits, trainings, and online platforms, teachers are provided resources to engage students in healthy relationship building. With lessons and age-appropriate activities, students develop the skills to communicate, share inclusivity, show empathy, and solve problems.
Best Buddies and Sanford Harmony have partnered together to provide all chapters comprehensive social and emotional learning kits to ensure students are participating in activities, games, lessons, and resources to engage students in healthy relationship building.
These kits are an incredible asset and a free gift from Sanford Harmony to all Best Buddies chapters. Additionally, teacher training, monthly webinars, teaching materials and strategies, and other resources are available to all of our volunteers.
For more information on Stanford Harmony, click HERE.
To order your kit, please email email@example.com.
Age Appropriate Activities
Part of your role as a Best Buddies leader is to serve as an active agent of change. Your experience making friends and working alongside individuals with and without disabilities, you understand the capabilities and talents of all of people. Unfortunately, not everyone has this experience and may have preconceived notions about the skills of people with varying abilities. It is important that you recognize that your chapter’s activities, the way you speak to members, and the expectations you have for your chapter has an impact on how people understand the Best Buddies mission.
When you are planning chapter activities, be sure to think about ways that we can influence the perception of people with differences. Be sure you are showing equity in your activities and use people-first language with all of your chapter members. This will have a huge impact on how people with disabilities are perceived in your school and community. When planning for your chapter, be sure to:
- Plan activities that are fun for all members and could entice new members to join
- Be mindful of the fact that people learn about our mission through your actions; we want them to see a space that highlights the abilities and skills of people of all abilities
- Hold everyone to the same standards; with or without disabilities, we are all volunteering to make a difference in our community
- Be sure that your planned activities are fun and truly inclusive of all members