Sunday, November 25, 2012

Best Buddies Program

Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that reduces prejudice by pairing volunteers with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This organization exists mainly in middle, high school and college settings. By placing an intellectually/developmentally disabled person with a volunteer, both sides are benefitted. The disabled will find a life-long friendship and a sense of importance that will help their lives move in a positive direction. This also gives the disabled a chance to familiarize themselves with aspects about living on their own and securing jobs as a contributing member of society. The organization benefits the volunteers by establishing intergroup contact that will help reduce  prejudice towards the mentally handicapped.
I am familiar with Best Buddies, as there was a program in my high school. Although I was not involved, I saw its positive effects. The handicapped students were able to interact with people that they do not usually be with, and it helps them gain new perspectives and confidence. Gaining the approval of those who are not handicapped makes a big difference. The intergroup contact reduces prejudice, while also doing a giving the mentally handicapped one-on-one contact that will benefit their perspectives and give them a sense of belonging.

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