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Friendship Through Hardship

by SOPHIE GORECKI and REGAN WINBUN October 5, 2020 - Best Buddies members describe how the club is maintaining social connections while socially distancing.

WESTFIELD, Ind. (Sep. 2020) - With masks, the hybrid schedule, and social distancing, life is more different than ever before. These challenges can make socializing seem impossible to some, but WHS Best Buddies is working hard to overcome the difficulties of social distancing to create friendships for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities during these difficult times.

Chapter President Madison Walker (12) recognizes that the challenges presented by COVID-19 may be especially difficult for Best Buddies.

“The big thing in Best Buddies is making new friends, staying connected, and hanging out, which is really hard to do when you are all virtual,” Walker said.

Despite the unclear answer for what COVID-19 will mean for clubs, Walker has a plan on how to keep club members safe while still being able to socialize.

“[Club events will be] probably all outside with masks and socially distanced, with everyone bringing their own dinners and food,” Walker said.

In addition to socially distanced parties, the club is making an effort to keep students engaged by creating committees for members who are not matched in a buddy pair.

“Since we have committees, I feel like this year our associate members will feel more involved,” chapter Vice President Quinn Sever (11) said.

Best Buddies has always advocated for embracing differences. Despite having a lot of them this year, members are still able to make connections and life-long friendships through the club.

“It’ll be a little different but I’m still excited,” Tamera Cotton (11) said. “I don’t see many of my friends from Best Buddies, so I’m excited to see them.”

Regardless of all the changes this year, club sponsor Mrs. Jennifer Yoder believes the club will still be able to help students make connections with each other.

“The most important thing is for our kids to make connections, and those connections can happen whether we’re face to face or virtual,” Mrs. Yoder said. “I’m really optimistic that those things can still happen, we just need to get the word out to get people to join and be excited to make those friendships.”

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