Stevenson’s Best Buddies club will hold its fifth annual “Friendsgiving” on Nov. 18 from 3-5 p.m., filled with fun activities and a Thanksgiving dinner.
According to their website, 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).”
While Best Buddies is international in scope, Stevenson’s Best Buddies club “is dedicated to establishing one-to-one friendships with people in our community who have intellectual & developmental disabilities,” according to the club’s Facebook page.
The club is working together with Mission: I’m Home to plan a Thanksgiving dinner, dancing, crafts and games. Mission: I’m Home is a group of students and faculty who work to repair homes destroyed in natural disasters.
“We are super excited to host an event in collaboration with a club with such an amazing mission,” said Brianna Blue, Best Buddies’ president.
The club will be part of Friendsgiving to help with the buddies, said Blue.
This year they plan to have even more food and will cook dinner with the buddies, said Blue. She said they expect to host 50-70 people among club members, buddies and their families. The buddies love this event because they get to celebrate the spirit of giving and thankfulness with their friends and family, said Blue.
Blue has been a member of Best Buddies for eight years and has served on a executive board for five. The club has turned from an interest of hers into a career plan for her future as an ABA therapist doing therapy with children with autism.
The club has also impacted Rachel Davies, a junior who has been involved with Best Buddies since 2017. After attending a prom for the club and meeting a few of the buddies, she found she could not walk away from it. “It actually is making a huge impact on someone’s life,” said Davies.
Davies also attended last year’s Friendsgiving event where the club members and buddies made dinner in the Rockland kitchen. Davies said she is looking forward to cooking with them again, and helping the buddies feel like they have contributed to the dinner.
Davies has also been involved in other events such as prom, a Match Party, Puppies and Painting and a Friendship Walk at the University of Maryland, where participants walk and collect donations to support Best Buddies.
The club’s purpose is important because most buddies are older and there are not as many programs for them to create one-on-one friendships, said Davies. This year’s Friendsgiving will support that purpose through dinner and activities.