Tips, documents, and videos on making one-to-one friendships in school chapters of Best Buddies.
If your chapter makes matches, as a chapter leader, connecting members with and without IDD into mutually enriching one-to-one friendships is one of your most important responsibilities.
Typically there is not an even number of members with and without IDD, so you probably won’t be able to match everyone in a one-to-one friendship.
The first step to making matches is reviewing the previous year’s matches and determining who should be matched together again. For the rest, you can get to know your members via matching surveys or member interviews.
The matching survey can be used during the matching process to learn about your members’ interests to see who could be compatible together. First, determine if the member wants to be matched in a one-to-one friendship. There is a question on the membership application asking if you want to be matched. To see a member’s response, review their membership record in BB360.
Each member has a personalized matching survey form available for you to send to them. There is a link in BB360 on their membership record called Matching Survey URL. Send that link to the member and they can submit their interests and availability for getting together.
Introducing Buddy Pairs
Once all the one-to-one matches have been made, it’s time to have a meet your match party. At this party, members find out who their buddy is for the first time. This party can be a pizza party, an ice cream party, a banquet—whatever you want it to be!
The match party should give each buddy pair a chance to get to know one another in a relaxed, social setting. Think of a creative way to introduce the buddy pairs for the first time. Here are some ideas that real college chapters have done:
Find pictures from magazines that relate to the buddy pairs’ common interests. Cut them in half, like two puzzle pieces. Give each buddy and peer buddy one half of the picture, and let them find each other.
Give each pair index cards with words that go together or form expressions—for example, peanut butter and jelly, green eggs and ham, fish and chips, etc. You can do the same activity with names of famous duos—such as Batman and Robin, Bonnie and Clyde, Calvin and Hobbes, etc. Give each peer buddy and buddy one half of the expression and have them find their match.
Instead of cards, give actual objects that go together—salt and pepper shakers, shampoo and conditioner, etc.—and let the pairs find each other.
Bake cookies and use icing to write the names of the buddy pairs. Then cut the cookies in half and have each person find their match.
Reserve a table for each buddy pair, and prominently display their names so they know where to sit. Let them talk and get to know one another. Put a list of discussion questions and topics on each table in case there are lulls in conversation.
Buy inexpensive picture frames, take Polaroid pictures of each buddy pair at the party, and have pairs decorate the frames together and take home the pictures as mementos.