Saint Rose Best Buddies, a student group that offers social activities and friendship to those both with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities, received the outstanding chapter award for the state of New York at the annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference in Bloomington, Indiana, in July.
Best Buddies is an international organization that operates at colleges, middle schools, and high schools. The Saint Rose chapter is the oldest college chapter in New York and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The chapter has about 50 members, or 25 buddy pairs, who participate in at least one social activity a month, from pizza and holiday parties to talent shows and karaoke.
Saint Rose works with students in the College Experience program, which gives young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities the opportunity to practice living independently, making friends, interning at area businesses, and becoming part of a diverse campus community. This year, Saint Rose Best Buddies also will pair up with students ages 18 to 21 from the Bethlehem Central Schools. In addition to social events, the buddies are active in fundraising, including the Friendship Ball and Friendship Walk.