YLC Member, Lindsey Eaton encourages you to learn more about eBuddies and tells you how to join!
Do you want expand your computer skills? Do you want a friend to email? If so, then you should consider joining e-Buddies today. e-Buddies is a Best Buddies program that promotes opportunities for one-to-one email friendships for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. e-Buddies participants are youths (at least 10 years old) and adults with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.
I have been part of e-Buddies since August 2011 after I learned about e-Buddies during Leadership Conference 2011’s Buddy Ambassador Trainings. I knew I wanted to join the program so I could have a new friend to email outside of Best Buddies staff members. My mom signed me up for the program and I was matched with my first e-Buddy, Marla for two years.
I was recently matched with my newest e-Buddy, Jossel and it turns out we’re both seniors in high school. As I learned in our first email, her school used to have a Best Buddies chapter until it was cut a few years ago. She and her friends were discouraged that Best Buddies was cut at their school so they started a club called Project Bridge, which is geared towards helping people with disabilities form friendships with their peers without disabilities. Jossel asked me to explain what Best Buddies and the Friendship Walk are in a recent email. I emailed her back saying what the Best Buddies mission statement which is to promote opportunities for one-to-one friendships, leadership development and integrated employment for people with disabilities. I told her that walks are fundraising opportunities for people with and without IDD.
The two of us are both looking forward to emailing each other often and learning more about one another. I can tell that this will turn into a lasting friendship and that we will learn lots more about each other.
4 things to know about e-Buddies
- All e-Buddies applicants agree to submit to background checks, and the Best Buddies staff contacts references for all applicants before they can be approved to participate in e-Buddies.
- Once approved to join e-Buddies, buddy pairs are matched based on gender, age and similar interests. e-Buddies buddy pairs are never from the same state or province since they can’t meet in person unless the meeting is arranged by Best Buddies staff members or if the participants are part of an already chartered Best Buddies chapter.
- e-Buddies buddy pairs can’t exchange telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, instant messenger screen names, or mailing addresses.
- e-Buddies is beneficial for anyone ages 10-20 even if there school doesn’t have a Best Buddies chapter.
I’d encourage you to join e-Buddies even if you are your school are or aren’t part of Best Buddies. I can guarantee you that being an e-Buddy will change your life, disability or not, since you will learn lots about each other and develop a genuine one-to-one email friendship. Remember you and your e-Buddy were matched because you share the same interests, you are the same age and gender. I don’t hesitate to tell my e-Buddy how fortunate I am lucky to have them in your life.
To learn more about e-Buddies, visit http://www.e-buddies.org/ and explore the website. I’d like to encourage you to read the e-Beat newsletters to learn about the different “e-Buddies of the Moment” and “e-Buddies in Action!” I personally read some of e-Buddies newsletters to learn more about e-Buddies!
I found out about e-Buddies during the 22nd Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference and immediately knew I wanted to join. I’ve had amazing experiences with the program and the friendships I’ve formed through e-Buddies are priceless. I was recently matched with my newest e-Buddy, Jossel. She used to participate in a Best Buddies chapter in the state of California. We’ve emailed about the Friendship Walk and Best Buddies. It turns out that she wants to participate in the the walk this year with BBCA this year as a result of me telling her about the walks.
– Lindsey Eaton, e-Buddy, since August 2011
- Go to: http://www.ebuddies.org/
- Click “JOIN e-Buddies”
- Click on the option that describes you or the person you are signing up
- Read through the requirements listed and click “continue” at the bottom of the page
- Read through the e-Buddies Code of Conduct and check the box indicating that you read and agree to the terms listed. Then click “I Agree” at the bottom of the page
- Fill out all of your personal information in the spaces provided
- Click submit
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
- You must be over 10 years of age to participate.
- If under 13 years of age, you must have a parent or guardian help you to fill out the application.
- You only need to fill out an application one time.
- You must provide three references that will be contacted by e-Buddies staff.
- Participants who are under the age of 18 may join e-Buddies for free.
- Volunteers over the age of 18 without intellectual or developmental disabilities must pay a $50 fee.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that e-Buddies matches can’t meet in person unless a Best Buddies staff member organizes it.
- Sometimes, the matching process can take awhile. Don’t get discouraged and be patient!
- If you have any questions, you can always contact an e-Buddies staff member through the e-Buddies website.
- e-Buddies must email each other once a week, otherwise a reminder email will be sent out by an e-Buddies staff member reminding the match to email each other.
- Your hobbies
- Your favorite restaurants
- Your pets
- Club involvement
- Favorite types of music