What Does Best Buddies Mean to the HHS Community?

Photo%3A+2018%E2%80%99s+Best+Buddies+Valentines+Day+dance+with+Ellis+Spar%2C+Sophie+Schneider%2C+Liam+Finnegan%2C+Tess+Papagni%2C+and+Alexandra+Lee

Photo provided by Luke Glidden

Enjoying 2018’s Best Buddies Valentines Day dance Ellis Spar, Sophie Schneider, Liam Finnegan, Tess Papagni, and Alexandra Lee.

At Hopkinton High School, Best Buddies has made an impact on many people for over 15 years. To Hopkinton High School club advisor Chip Collins, Best Buddies is about “bridging the gap between typical students and students with intellectual disabilities and developing friendships.”

In his 20th year involved with Best Buddies, Chip Collins is now the advisor for the Hopkinton chapter.
Photo by Ivy Missaggia

Collins has been involved in the Best Buddies organization for over 20 years because he always “felt that everybody deserved a friend.”

Club president Luke Glidden has been involved with the club for five years. Glidden believes that Best Buddies “allows for people to feel included and meet students that they may not have had the opportunity to meet previously.”

One impact the club has is their active involvement in “Spread the Word to End the Word,” a movement to stop the use of the “R” word.

“It is a commonly used word that is offensive to people like to our friends Liam, and Julian, Riley, and Kelly, and all those folks from last year, and this year, and throughout the world. You know it’s just very offensive to use that word,” Collins said. Through the Best Buddies video on YouTube about the topic, Riley Meyers a former HHS student said, “It is hurtful to say that to anybody.” Members of the club last year took a pledge to not use the “R” word.

While at meetings, the club strives to make everyone feel included.

“I do watch movies” Liam Finnegan, an active member of Best Buddies, said.

“We start off with maybe an icebreaker or something. Sometimes we do movies, sometimes we do arts and crafts type things or we’ll go out for a game,” Collins said.

Buddies at last years friendship walk, Ellis Spar, Max McNamara, Hannah Murphy. Photo provided by Luke Glidden

One of the biggest part of Best Buddies is “when they get outside, making a phone call, text message, or going out,” Collins said. “Going out as a group, just fun things, movies, bowlin

g, whatever it could be in a one-on-one fashion, because that’s the whole idea about the Best Buddies, developing one-on-one friendships.”

One-on-one friendships or buddy pairs is when two people are put together, one generally with an intellectual disability and one without.

“There are support roles within their pairs. In these pairs it’s great when they can text each other and go out for ice cream or to sports games 1 on 1 and form that friendship,” Glidden explained during this year’s first Best Buddies meeting.

Best Buddies of Hopkinton was “outstanding chapter of the year a few years ago, and we’d like to get that back,” Collins said, on the club’s success.

The club also has high attendance at nearly every Friendship Walk held in Massachusetts.

Meetings are held every other Monday in Mr. Graeber’s room after school from 2-3 PM. The club always welcomes new members and would love for people interested to stop by a meeting.

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