Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) 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).
The IDD community that Best Buddies serves includes, but is not limited to, people with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities.Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with IDD.
For individuals within this community, Best Buddies helps them form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, improve public speaking, self-advocacy and communications skills, and feel valued by society.
A beautiful, visual representation of Best Buddies' one-to-one friendship programs.
South Florida Best Buddies school friendship participants enjoying the Best Buddies South Florida Friendship Walk on April 23, 2016 at Museum Park.
Volunteers from UBS International's Miami office and Best Buddies Ambassadors program participants after a Jobs focused ambassador training held at UBS International's office.
Over 100 Best Buddies South Florida students from Miami attended a five hour leadership training on August 27, 2016 at Miami Country Day School. Chapter leaders learned how to foster an inclusive environment in their chapter's and school community.
September 22, 2016, Best Buddies Citizens, and school friendship participants enjoy a day of service at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Nature Center on Key Biscayne.
Students from the Best Buddies school friendship chapter at Coral Reef Senior High School attended the Best Buddies South Florida Friendship Ball on March 12, 2016 at Marlins Park. Friendship Ball is offered for FREE to any member of a Best Buddies South Florida chapter.
School Friendship: Middle School, High School, and College
Best Buddies Middle Schools fosters one-to-one friendships between students with and without IDD. Students with IDD are often isolated and left out of social activities. Best Buddies Middle Schools helps to create an inclusive school climate for students early on in their educational development.
Best Buddies High Schools fosters one-to-one friendships between students with and without IDD. The high school years are a time of heightened social and emotional development and can be difficult even for those without IDD. Best Buddies High Schools helps break through social barriers at an important time in a young person's life.
Best Buddies Colleges fosters one-to-one friendships between college students and adults with IDD and college students without IDD. Historically, adults with IDD have been isolated in home or work environments. Best Buddies Colleges is changing this by providing the opportunity for people with IDD to be involved in campus and community life.
Best Buddies Promoters empowers youth who attend schools without a special education department to become advocates for people with IDD. This is accomplished through organizing and attending special events that promote advocacy and bring awareness about the disability rights movement.
Schools that take part in Best Buddies Promoters will have, by the end of the school year, successfully introduced the disability rights movement to a new population.
Best Buddies Citizens fosters one-to-one friendships between adults with and without IDD in corporate and civic communities. Many people with IDD have fewer chances for social interactions after they leave school.
This program helps people with IDD become part of mainstream society and creates an inclusive and diverse community for all.
Best Buddies Ambassadors educates and empowers people with IDD through group trainings and workshops to be leaders and public speakers in their schools, communities, and work places. Best Buddies Ambassadors is the next step for the disability rights movement-teaching people with IDD the skills they need to successfully self-advocate.
Best Buddies Jobs is a supported employment program that secures competitive paying jobs for people with IDD, therefore enabling them to work as respected individuals. The program develops partnerships with employers, assists with the hiring process, and provides ongoing support to the employee and employer.