Best Buddies

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We understand the importance of making new friendships!

Best Buddies International is a non-profit organisation dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development, a person with an intellectual and disability or developmental disorder.

Best Buddies International was founded in the United States of America in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy-Shriver. Life Unlimited is the accredited provider in New Zealand for Best Buddies.

As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, a person with an intellectual disability or developmental disorder may secure a rewarding job, live on their own, become an inspirational leader, and make lifelong friendships.

Best Buddies has eight formal programmes – Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e -Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors and Promoters.  For further information see Best Buddies website.

Life Unlimited is proud to be the accredited provider in New Zealand for Best Buddies. We provide the Best Buddies High Schools Programme for one-to-one friendships. Under the programme, student volunteers become members of their High School Chapter, a registered student organisation led by a Chapter President and officers, for one year. Melville High School in Hamilton has been working with Life Unlimited and has an established High School Chapter.

In 2006, Life Unlimited started with the Best Buddies High School Programme. Best Buddies High Schools is a systematic, structured programme which provides:

  • appropriate resources and materials
  • leadership training
  • disability awareness training
  • on-going support and guidance for Chapter members to promote the smooth running of the chapter and successful friendship matches

Students become members of their High School Chapter, a registered student organisation led by a Chapter President and officers, for one year. To date, we have established one High School Chapter at Melville High School in Hamilton.

Noellette, current Best Buddies Melvill Chapter President wrote in February 2014

“Best Buddies is a programme that allows the mainstream students to develop friendships with the students from Patricia Avenue. Usually once a week the Peers (Mainstream) and Buddies (Patricia Avenue) meet up to hang out, chat or have lunch together. Once a term a big event is held where the Peers, Buddies and associates socialize and have fun. E.g. Ten-pin, walking, visiting the zoo, library or golf range.

What  would I like to see happen in Best Buddies this year?
Include younger students, strengthen friendships between the peers and buddies and  involve associates more with planning and attending activities. This programme is life changing and the experiences and memories gained are ones that will be with you forever. So for anyone with a kind heart, enjoys meeting new people and wants to be able to do something for someone else this year I recommend that you join Best Buddies. I promise you will not regret it.”

Enquire for information from Life Unlimited on Best Buddies programmes near you or to establish one in your school.

To read the Best Buddies World Report…

Alternatively, freephone Life Unlimited on 0800 008 011 for further information.