Parkdale High School has one of the largest Special Ed departments in the county. Staff and students did not want the students with disabilities to be or feel excluded.
Therefore, Parkdale introduced a new program called Best Buddies last school year.
The program helps students with disabilities and students without disabilities by giving them both a new perspective of how kind people can be to one another.
Best Buddies International is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
According to DisabilityScoop there were 6.7 million kids with disabilities in classrooms across the country during the 2015-2016 school year, accounting for 13.2 percent of all students.
Many friendships have been made because of this program, because of the fact that the buddies sit together at lunch. This also helps prevent bullying and make the kids more social.
“[This program gives] the opportunity to be friends with people who have such a great attitude and who are fun to be around, also with this program I’ve learned to be patient and have a more caring side,” said senior member Jordan Harris-Taylor.
The program is international;They have this program in China, Puerto Rico and in Indiana as well as here in Maryland.
“With this program we look for students with no disabilities to pair them up with a student with disabilities so they can become friends and learn they have so much incomen.” said sponsor Rolanda Powers.
The Best Buddies program is open to all Parkdale students.
“I want to tell everyone that students with disabilities are not different… They have different abilities that we all fall short in something that we do but we all have gifts and talents.” Said Ms.Powers
Ms.Powers is looking for more buddies and is hoping to expand this program. She is looking for someone who’s nice and understanding and is willing to be a buddy to someone with disabilities.
“I would like to see more people get involved and to see more sponsors open up their doors and open their minds to kids with disabilities.” Said Ms.Powers
Best Buddies has changed the lives of many people all over the world. Making people see that just because you have disabilities doesn’t make you any different.
“When you actually get to know them they are just like everyone else, they are sweet, kind, funny and very loving… I’m very involved with them because I love them.”said Harris-Taylor.
If you are interested in joining this program feel free to contact Ms. Powers.