To kick off March, Best Buddies month, the APH Best Buddies Chapter held an assembly on the meaning of inclusion. The club President, Angela Mayes ‘20, opened up by explaining that “Best Buddies is an international, non-profit organization and global volunteer movement that promotes inclusion for everyone, especially people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Best Buddies, Vice

President, Isabella Carroll ‘20, continued, “Best Buddies envisions a world where people with IDD are successfully integrated into schools, workplaces, and communities that its current efforts and services will be unnecessary.  Until that vision becomes a reality, the organization will continue to educate middle school, high school and college students, community members, corporations and employers about the emotional, functional, and natural needs and abilities of people with IDD.” Following this, the APH community watched two videos to learn how the impact that programs like Best Buddies have had on the development and progress of society’s understanding of people with disabilities.

After the videos were shown, Riley Griffin ‘20 spoke about her special connection to her aunt who happens to have a cognitive disability. She discussed how her aunt has been such an outgoing, loving, and inspiring figure in her life. The final student speaker, Emily Osborn ‘19, brought everyone to tears. She spoke of her little sister who has epilepsy and explained how painful the use of the R-word is because of the bullying and exclusion her sister had faced. At the conclusion of the assembly, students broke out into their advisories where they reflected on what they learned that afternoon. Overall all the assembly held was extremely eye-opening and powerful.

The first week of March held a lot of fun and important things for the Best Buddies club. Wednesday, March 6th was National Spread the Word to End the Word Day. Best Buddies left a banner out during morning meeting for the whole school to sign, to support the use of kind language. Language is powerful and Best Buddies’ belief is that the world would be better if all people were valued, respected, embraced, and included. Included in the games we play and the friends we make. Included in our schools, our workplaces, and our communities. Language plays a huge part in all of that. Although Spread the Word to End the Word Day started to stop the use of the r-word, today it is about all hurtful language.

Thursday, March 7th, 5:30-7pm, Best Buddies hosted a game night for members of the Northeast Arc and the Saint John’s Prep Best Buddies chapter. It was a fun night filled with plenty of food, games, music, and laughter.

Written by Fiona Kelley ’19