Best Buddies Month: North Rockland High School
We are excited to introduce you to the North Rockland High School (NRHS) Best Buddies chapter in Thiells, New York. NRHS Best Buddies is a Promoters program, committed to sharing the mission of Best Buddies and providing opportunities for inclusion and leadership to people with intellectual disabilities. Although the school does not make one-to-one matches, they are committed to providing opportunities for friendships for their peers with disabilities and raising awareness for the disability rights movement.
NRHS Best Buddies has been making an impact in their community for two years and hopes to grow their involvement in the community. This year, they pooled their resources, time, and energy to develop their own “Stomp out the R-word” video, promoting an end to the use of the r-word for our annual Spread the Word to End the Word initiative. Please read more about the chapter’s commitment and passion and the difference they have made for Spread the Word Day this month!
This interview was completed by Chapter President, Anyssa Evelyn; Officer Tarique Wilson; and Faculty Advisor, Gina Tedesco.
North Rockland High School
Years in Best Buddies: 2
How did you learn about Best Buddies?
Our advisor, Mrs. Gina Tedesco, was looking to give students with disabilities more opportunities to form genuine friendships with their typically developing classmates.
What does Best Buddies mean to you?
Best Buddies means friendship; it isn’t just a club, it is a safe haven. When we are having a bad day, we know going to Best Buddies will give us a boost!
What is your favorite thing to do as a chapter?
Anyssa: My favorite thing is our “Yo2go Nights.” We all just hang out and create good vibes together at the local frozen yogurt store in our community. Also, it’s the little things, like giving our friends with disabilities a high five when I see them in the hall, or dancing with them when music is played at our meetings, that makes all the difference.
How do you feel your chapter has made an impact in your school/community?
Our club is one of the biggest clubs in our school with almost 90 members. We constantly have new members who inquire and want to join. To us, that’s a great indication of how our positive message is spreading. Our members are thriving and making so many new friends! Our video from last year was shared almost 6,000 times; this year, we set a goal of 10,000 views. We know that the people in North Rockland played a big part of spreading our message within our community and helps us make an impact globally.
How has Best Buddies changed your life?
Anyssa: Best Buddies has given me a new perspective on what real friendships are. You often see some crazy things in high school and make some compromising friendships, but ever since Best Buddies, I compare all of my friendships to the ones I’ve made in Best Buddies since they are so genuine.
Why do you think others should join Best Buddies?
In Best Buddies, you learn that people with developmental disabilities have so much to offer and teach others. You also just have a great time with great people. We learn so much from our members that we could never learn in pre-calculus or American history can never teach. We think other young adults should join Best Buddies because when you are a part of the organization, you are helping someone with developmental disabilities live a happier life. The psychological impact of being a true friend to someone is something money can’t buy.
Special thanks to North Rockland High School for their commitment to Best Buddies and passion for the mission. Help us celebrate Best Buddies Month by participating in activities this month on our celebration calendar! To learn more about Best Buddies and how you can get involved please visit us at www.bestbuddies.org.