Best Buddies: We are not about service.

Noemi Reyes
BEST BUDDIES YLC

3

Joining Best Buddies

Picture this: it’s the first day of highschool and I’m watching the clock in English class tick on, hoping the minutes will slow down because my next block is lunch and I have no idea who I will be sitting with. “Sitting by yourself can’t be that bad…” I remember thinking to myself. As luck would have it, I was able to make friends quickly that first day. Although I appreciated their kindness and invitation to let me sit with them, I remember thinking “This doesn’t feel right.” Although these friends were always open to listening to events about my day, our conversations were surface deep. Don’t get me wrong, these new friends were nice, funny and definitely great people to be around. Their ability to get along with anyone just fine was just one of their admirable qualities. The thing is, as a fearful freshman, I never talked about the things that were truly troubling me. How could I ask these new friends, who seemed so confident and prepared to handle the year, for help and advice? There was no way I was going to let them know I was struggling to adjust. In the weeks to come, I found an organization that changed my life and taught me that I wasn’t the only who felt the struggle of fitting in.

The first time I heard about Best Buddies, I was sitting in class daydreaming about all things I rather be doing than trying to understand Plato’s Republic. “Best Buddies is a club where you can make friends…” was the point where I started listening. Finally! My english teacher had mentioned something I could actually take notes on. As embarrassing it was to admit, I felt that even after weeks of being in highschool I still hadn’t found friends I could be myself around. All this would soon change upon meeting my best buddy, Carrie. Although Carrie was quite shy at first (to the point where he wouldn’t look or talk to me) we became friends, slowly but surely. By mid year I was using my study halls to go bake cakes with him in class, walk the track, or laugh about some silly movie. With Carrie, I never felt the need to be anyone but myself. I’m forever grateful to have experienced a friendship as the one we have.

Because I have found a wealth of richness in friendships within Best Buddies, I have viewed Best Buddies as nothing less than a platform for friendship and support. The organization  is about forming bonds and learning from friends you might never have met without Best Buddies. It’s a place where everyone experiences the power of mutual friendships. For this reason, I am always taken by surprise when someone joins Best Buddies and asks if they can receive community service hours for being in the club. My answer to this will always remain the same, “Best Buddies is a club where friendships are fostered, members are empowered and meaningful activities take place. Although we make partake in acts of service, we are not here for service. We remain in the club because we see the importance of equality and friendships amongst everyone.”

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