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Story Last Updated: September 2016
Current Position Updated: March 2019
When I was accepted into GMercyU, I was excited to meet so many new people and have the experience of a lifetime. I thought about potentially joining an athletics team, attending dances, and even the possibility of becoming a resident on campus.
As time went by, I found myself working part-time and commuting five days a week to campus from Northeast Philadelphia. It was tough at first to meet new people when you don’t physically live on campus and hang out with the same students on a daily basis. I knew the best way to meet more people and get involved was to join a club.
Fortunately, my close friend Dana introduced me to the Best Buddies program. Best Buddies is a non-profit organization, dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
As a newcomer to the group I didn’t know what to expect, but was anxiously waiting to be paired up with a buddy. The events we participated in ranged from arts and crafts, to talent shows or even a Halloween party. It culminates with the “Best Buddies Ball” at the end of the year.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I would make a special connection with a boy named Damon. He loved to sing, dance and wasn’t afraid of trying anything new. I remember a time when we had a talent show and he sang for it and ended up winning – I was so proud of him. At the end of my first year I fell in love with the program and the people associated with it. We all became great friends and just to see the faces of the buddies during events is simply priceless.