Celebrate Best Buddies Scotland
Best Buddies Scotland was founded in 2005 under the umbrella of ENABLE Scotland and there are currently programs in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Morgan Anderson is the dedicated student leader at the University of Glasgow. Here he shares the story of his friendship with his Buddy, Matthew.
Matthew and I became friends in 2007 when we met through Best Buddies Glasgow and we have kept in touch ever since. Although I started out joining Best Buddies as a volunteer this is not the way I see my friendship with Matthew. What is most clear to me about our friendship is how similar it is to any other friendship.
It is similar because all of my friends have abilities, talents and skills to offer – some are musicians, some are good listeners. They also all have some things that they find difficult. What, then, is different about my friendship with Matthew? My friends may all be different people, but they are united by simple inalienable truths expressed in the nature of the concept of friendship by facts such as the fact that I enjoy the company of my friends and that I am there if they call me up. I see them all as individuals and any differences that there may be just disappear when we learn to see people this way. Our similarities far outstrip our differences. I see them, and, as all good friendships involve reciprocation of care, I think they see me too. Because of these similarities which are self evident in my friendship with Matthew and because I have had a great deal of exposure to intellectual learning difficulties throughout my life I forget that anyone might think that there is something unusual about my our friendship. Sadly, for many people, our friendship does seem unusual.
Hopefully everyone involved in Best Buddies can lead by example until nobody notices any more. Until nobody sees volunteer and buddy or carer and cared-for, until the only thing that anyone ever sees are individual people enjoying each other’s company. I feel proud to play some part in this process and I feel honoured that Matthew accepts me as a friend. I think I can say that we see each other, and this, above all else, is the true mark of friendship – of recognising that the only differences that there may be are differences of degree, not kind.