Citizens Program Launches in the Greater Portland Area
Best Buddies Maine is thrilled to have opened our Citizens program in the Greater Portland area in April of 2021! Our adult friendship program is the first of its kind in Maine with the potential to create a lasting impact on the social fabric of our state.
So, what is Best Buddies Citizens? At the base of the program, Citizens pairs an adult with an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) in a one-to-one friendship with an adult without IDD from their local community. Through the program, these two adults, called a buddy pair, develop a mutually enriching friendship, experience life together, and support each other when it’s needed most.
Best Buddies Citizens helps individuals become more included in our community and builds the connection to a friendship that can often be tough for people with IDD. This program not only enhances the lives of adults with disabilities, but it also changes the lives of the participants without disabilities. Through learning to see life from a new perspective, people become a more understanding, patient, and accepting of others within our community. The Best Buddies Citizens program creates an inclusive and diverse community for all.
This program is for adults 18 years or older who are not involved in our school friendship programs. A Citizens friendship match is made based on similar age, interests, and geographic proximity. Best Buddies staff conduct a thorough screening process to ensure they are making the right match, based on several criteria. By participating in the program each buddy pair agrees to develop their friendship through weekly communication and spending time together at least once a month. Participants commit to their friendship for at least a year, but many matches often grow into life-long friendships!
Best Buddies Maine will be offering various, fun activities throughout the year that buddy pairs can attend together to meet others in the program. Currently, we offer monthly Zoom “Hang-Ins” for all program participants to connect. Buddy pairs are also encouraged to do activities like enjoying coffee or food, going to sporting events or concerts, spending time outdoors, playing games, or even just hanging out watching TV. Anything that friends would do together!
If you would like more information on the Maine Citizens program or have any questions about the program, please contact our Maine team at firstname.lastname@example.org.