School Friendship Chapter Basics

Best Buddies school friendship programs bring together groups of people that typically may not have the opportunity to meet and create an environment of acceptance and friendship.

Middle and high school chapters foster one-to-one friendships between students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  College chapters create opportunities for friendships between college students and adults in the community with IDD and college students without IDD.

Chapter Members

Middle and high school chapter members generally include students in both general education and special education, while college chapter members are college students and individuals involved with an agency supporting people with IDD (group homes, transition programs, community organizations, etc.).

Chapter Leaders

Each chapter is led by a core group of members, with and without IDD, and school faculty.  This leadership team ensures that their chapter is fulfilling the mission of Best Buddies and following Best Buddies’ guidelines.  The leaders of the chapter are trained by Best Buddies staff members at the Best Buddies Leadership Conference, held in July, and at a Local Leadership Training Day, held locally each fall.

Best Buddies Staff

All chapters have a Best Buddies staff member assigned to them.  These staff members oversee the implementation of the mission on campuses, ensure all administrative duties are being completed by chapters and help chapter leaders with logistics and troubleshoot any obstacles that may arise during the year.

Where possible, Best Buddies staff will go to schools and meet with chapter leaders and attend chapter activities.

One-to-One Friendships

Every school friendship chapter matches some of its members in one-to-one friendships.  These friendships have one buddy (a person with IDD) matched with one peer buddy (a person without IDD).  One-to-one matches meet at least twice a month and have weekly contact with each other.

Meetings & Activities

Chapters come together as a group regularly for meetings and activities.  Meetings are held for disability awareness trainings and to discuss upcoming fundraisers, group activities, and any other initiatives the chapter is joining.  Chapters have group activities each semester that can take place on or off school campus.  These activities are for chapter members to have fun and celebrate friendship!

Best Buddies Online

Best Buddies Online (BBO) is the official website that school participants use to join, participate and manage Best Buddies chapters and one-to-one matches.  Here, members fill out membership applications and access information about events and meetings for their chapter.

Chapter Dues

High school and college chapters pay chapter dues of $350 annually, due June 1st.  These dues cover the cost of using BBO, the Best Buddies Library, using the Best Buddies name and logo, Best Buddies liability insurance, local trainings, and the leadership conference registration fee for the chapter president.  Middle school chapters do not pay dues.  Click here to pay chapter dues online.

Events & Initiatives

Throughout the year, Best Buddies hosts several events to fundraise and spread awareness about our mission.  Chapters are always invited to attend, show their support, and join in the fun.  Best Buddies also encourages all members to participate in different initiatives on their campuses to further the social inclusion of people with IDD, like Spread the Word to End the Word and I’m In To Hire.


Read about the guidelines for school friendship chapters

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