By Priyanka Parikh
Elf Staff Writer
My experience in Best Buddies has been eye opening ever since I joined. I joined the group in 2008 because I love to help people. I volunteered at places all around my town, from a local hospital to my own school. I wanted a new experience after starting at Washington College, so I joined Best Buddies. Since joining, I have been able to expand my experiences regarding the type of people I work with, like adults with disabilities. By continuing to be a part of best buddies, I have gained patience. I have come to know all of the buddies as well as understand them better.
From being in Best Buddies, I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, like my buddy Karen Bennet, and the former president of our chapter Sarah Macht. As apart of our chapter, our main goal is to befriend adults at the Kent Center who have all types of disabilities. We invite them to join our various activities including our annual movie nights, car washes, picnics, and holiday dinners. We also join in their events like the annual Special Olympics Bowling, which is one of their biggest events. They are all terrific bowlers, and usually beat all of the students who challenge them. By doing these activities together our bonds with them grow. We learn that there are no differences between people with developmental disabilities and people without.
Three of our buddies work at the campus-dining hall Kiri, AJ, and Tammy. The students who are paired with them always have lunch together, and it truly makes their day. From these strong bonds we see how much the students are dedicated, and how they strive to continuously improve and help, our chapter flourish.
As a result of being in Best Buddies, I realized what I want to do later on in life. This past summer 2010, I interned at Camp Ramapo in Rhinebeck, NY. Camp Ramapo is a camp for children from the ages of five to nineteen years with all types of different developmental disabilities. While there, we do all types of activities that help them grow in all areas including social, intellectual, emotional, and physical. By the end of summer camp, many of the friendships and bonds made there last forever.
I have enjoyed every minute of being a part of our Best Buddies chapter, and I look forward to being the President of the club in this upcoming year. I invite anyone who is interested to join and come to our meetings and activities, because I am sure you will fit right in and have a good time. We are always looking for new members! We guarantee it will be life-changing experience for you.