The Best Buddies Club presented a Disability Awareness Program for the 9th grade classes in recognition of Human Rights Week at Hauppauge High School. The presentation was designed to help the freshman class understand some of the challenges people with disabilities face in their everyday lives, such as reading, writing, buttoning a shirt and beyond.
The Club members discussed acceptance and friendships among all people and addressed such questions with the audience as: “What would the world be like if there was acceptance of all people? What would Hauppauge be like?” They also spoke about the global Best Buddies Campaign slogan: “SPREAD THE WORD TO END THE WORD.” The freshman students were asked to sign a banner and take a pledge to stop using the “R” word and replace it with “RESPECT.” Club members – with and without disabilities – also spoke about their personal experiences, the impact the Best Buddies Club has had on them and how it touches the lives of their fellow peers. “It was an amazing experience to have this open forum to discuss these important topics and to raise awareness of and empathy for the challenges that people with disabilities face in their lives,” described Best Buddies Club Adviser Angela McElroy-Braun.
Best Buddies is an international non-profit organization that fosters friendships between people with and without disabilities. The Club meets twice a month after school and buddy pairs also get together twice a month outside of the High School. “Buddies go out to eat, go to the movies, go shopping, bake, etc. The Best Buddies Club has made an amazing difference with our students in and out of Hauppauge schools,” said McElroy-Braun.