Oregon State University adopts Best Buddies program

“Best Buddies in the best way to promote inclusion of people with disabilities into society because everyone needs a friend and friendship is the key to happiness,” said CJ Phillips, chapter president of Best Buddies, a brother of the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi and a junior majoring in kinesiology. 

Founded by Anthony K. Shriver in 1989, Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization that works on establishing one-to-one friendship, employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The organization has grown and is now recognized in all of the United States, and over 50 countries around the world.

OSU’s chapter of Best Buddies is new this year, and is one out of 1,900 worldwide. The chapter held its first meeting on Oct. 6 and discussed opportunities on being involved and upcoming events.

“I started this club because I have this passion for representing the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities and I’ve had friends in my life that experience a disability and have expressed to me how they wished they had more friends in high school and college,” Phillips said. With partnership with The Arc of Benton County, Best Buddies will be a new opportunity to advocate services to enhance the lives of individuals who are developmentally disabled and their families. Participants provided by The Arc of Benton County are matched based on personality, age, and availability listed on each other’s profile created. After matched, the buddies will be revealed on Oct. 30 at the first social function at the First United Methodist Church in Corvallis.

“One-on-one friends can do anything that you would do in your normal friendships and are free to hangout in any way. Sporting events, studying, going to the movies, whatever the person enjoys they can do with their buddy,” Phillips said. “We also have group socials and those are planned by the leadership of Best Buddies and the events engages the club as a whole. We also have community service events and fundraising.” With a group of friends along his side, Phillips brought the Best Buddies program to OSU.

“Luckily, with the partnership with CJ, he kind of got me into it and had me going on the Best Buddies program and I wanted to give back to Oregon State and the community in that way, and so we decided to start that club and met some really cool people through it,” said Grant Guernsey, chapter vice president and a junior majoring in marketing.

“Through the influence of Pi Kappa Phi, my fraternity did have a lot of affect on it because I really wasn’t educated in people who experience disabilities for a while,” said Guernsey. “After getting passionate about it through a friend of mine, named Bryan Williamson, I decided to take a head start into doing my own legacy and making people who experiences disabilities lives better.”

Read Full Article