Owen & Jurgen have been Best Buddies since 2008. Their favorite activities together are going to the movies together, shopping and visiting each other at one another’s homes. Jurgen often makes the decisions about where the two go for their outings. Sometimes the two meet in the city to travel by train and by meeting up so often Jurgen has found that he’s been adept at using public transport around different parts of Sydney.
The friendship has become so close that Jurgen describes Owen as like “an elder brother to me,” although he has both an older and younger brother.
Jurgen’s father, Patrick said he was delighted with the boys’ friendship; ‘Jurgen has mild autism and sometimes has trouble expressing himself verbally. It’s not always easy for him to make friends. I’m happy for people to know about the (Best Buddies) program because it is so good.”
Owen himself says “Jurgen is the kindest friend I have ever had, he’s a great person.”
About the program Owen says “A lot of the time people from mainstream (school) make fun of people in the support unit and it’s not very fair. So to help people get a few more friends and just sort of break that barrier I thought I should join Best Buddies.
“Don’t be afraid to join the program. It’s just a good thing to do. You’ll meet someone that you’ve got a true friendship with. It’s not like something that you’re forced to do…when you get into the program you’re really just paired up with a nice person. I don’t know anyone from the program that doesn’t just want to be a friend.“
Produced in conjunction with interview material courtesy of Monica Heary (Don’t DISmyABILITY.com.au) and Deborah Hutton (Best Buddies Ambassador)