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Best Buddies program flourishes at RC

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Kaitlyn Bell

Staff writer

As the beginning of a new season is beginning to bloom, Roanoke College has started its spring semester off to a great start. There have been several events involving students on campus. The Best Buddies Program at Roanoke College is a volunteer experience that RC students have been taking part in more and more within the past few years. The Best Buddies Program is an internationally recognized program which involves the mentorship and friendship between Roanoke College students and their buddies, who are people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The volunteer program exists in more than 50 countries around the world and in all 50 states of the United States. RC is proud to represent such a prestigious program that helps others.

The personal relationships formed between the college students and their buddies take on a new level of meaning on what it truly means to have compassion for another human being. Students take a few hours out of their month to attend Best Buddy events where they can socialize with all of the buddies, who excitedly wait to see their new friends once again. RC students also get to contact their buddies throughout the week to simply send a hello or catch up on daily events. The buddies become thrilled when they are able to embrace their new friends once again and it is an experience truly worth becoming involved in.

The president of the Best Buddies chapter at Roanoke College, Meagan Thompson ’12, plans and coordinates all of the events throughout the year between each buddy and their mentor from Roanoke College. Thompson is able to make sure that everyone has a fun experience by creating events for the students and the buddies. An essential element to the success and growth of the Best Buddies program at Roanoke College is the compassion and motivation to help others. Without the helpful and willing students involved, this program would not be able to succeed. If helping new people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities is of interest for anyone not involved in the program, the website http://www.bestbuddies.org/best-buddies offers further information.