Making friendships can be difficult for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Life without friends can be lonely and isolating, and all students are deserving of meaningful friendships. This year at LMS, we are so excited to be positively impacting the lives of our students with and without disabilities with our first ever Best Buddies program! Our self-contained students with intellectual and developmental disabilities are each paired in a one-to-one friendship with an LMS peer, in which they share interests, experiences, and activities. These relationships are offering peer-to-peer social mentoring, while greatly enhancing the school social experience and level of inclusion for our students with disabilities.
Admission into the Best Buddies program requires an application process, including teacher recommendations and reviews of discipline and attendance. Best Buddies meet daily during one class period, working with their “buddies” on communication and social skills, as well as fostering special friendships and memories to last a lifetime.
Currently, there are only two schools in the state of Mississippi with Best Buddies chapters, Lewisburg Middle School and Lewisburg High School. Fundraising efforts are in place to create more chapters in more schools throughout the state of Mississippi, so that other schools may experience the benefits of this amazing program. Join our Lewisburg Middle School team at the 1st Annual Best Buddies Friendship Walk in Mississippi on Sunday, November 12 at the Landers Center. Register, start a team, or donate at http://www.bestbuddiesfriendshipwalk.org/mississippi!
By Allie Thomas, Special Education Teacher