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Non-profit org Best Buddies is opening the conversation on intellectual and developmental disabilities

Saab Lariosa
Non-profit org Best Buddies is opening the conversation on intellectual and developmental disabilities
Want to join? Here’s how to make your 2023 a year of giving.

Editor’s note: This press release is sponsored by Best Buddies and was produced by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the publishing of this piece.

With the world slowly opening up amid the pandemic, people have been meeting up, reigniting their passions, and giving back to the community physically. The time spent ruminating in lockdown over the past two years indeed provided a fresh perspective on how we should spend our time.

Can you say the same for how your year went? Was it time well spent? For the non-profit organization Best Buddies Philippines (BBP), the answer is a resounding yes as they rolled out another “Year Full of Inclusive Activities.”

Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). 

Since training their first volunteer in 2014, the Philippine arm has established 15 chapters, created over 400 friendship matches, and touched the lives of more than 30,000 Filipinos.  

In 2022, they continued their mission to offer safe spaces for people with IDDs through five special face-to-face activities that brought together Buddies and their partner organizations.

Bags for Buddies, from Buddies

In July, BBP teamed up with the Primer Group of Companies for “Bags for Buddies,” a back-to-school campaign that collected over 500 gently used bags nationwide and earmarked them for students in Metro Manila, Baguio, Pampanga, and Cebu. 

Customers brought in their gently used bags in exchange for a discount on a new bag and wrote encouraging notes to their buddies. They also held a turnover event in their public school chapter at the San Lorenzo Ruiz Elementary School in Pasig.

#BBPPalarongPiknik

After two years of mounting over 90 online activities, BBP finally rolled out their first face-to-face activity last  August. What better way to celebrate the Philippine arm than a Buwan ng Wika event? 

BBP members and volunteers celebrated the special month by gathering Buddies in the covered court of Barangay Forbes Park and played exciting childhood games like tumbang preso and patintero, danced to Zumba, and feasted on delicious Filipino snacks. 

Friendsgiving with he(art)

In November, BBP teamed up with StrongMind Learning Partners to put a spin on Thanksgiving by celebrating with friends through “Friendsgiving.”

For this special friendship day, their ambassadors spent a day in Asurion, an electronics company located at Bonifacio Global City to practice their drawing skills. The ambassadors co-created illustrations with the help of Strongmind Learning Partners, that were from the heart and based on inclusion and friendship.

At the end of the event, the ambassadors showed off their wonderful illustrations representing friendship, inclusion, and thanksgiving. Their designs were transformed into sticker packs that the self-advocates could use in the future.

Inclusion Revolution variety show

To celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, members and ambassadors showcased their talents in BBP’s first-ever talent variety show, Inclusion Revolution! 

The afternoon of fun saw an abundance of talent as participants sang, danced, and did live performance art for the crowd in Ortigas Tektite Auditorium on December 3. The event was also a culmination of their Pledge with Best Buddies Philippine campaign, which reached P424,510 worth of pledges.

Hogwarts Holiday

Accio, fun! Best Buddies Philippines ended the momentous year by grabbing their broomsticks and wands for an exceptional Hogwarts Holiday celebration. AXA Philippines, Paredes Law, McDo, Barangay Forbes Park, and Metromart also made the exciting event possible.

Donned in their Hogwarts House colors and bright smiles, participants and the Best Buddies British School Manila chapter came together for their fifth and final event of the year to celebrate Christmas and the magical year they had.

The year to come

Amid the challenges of the pandemic, Best Buddies Philippines proves that the important things in life like love, friendship, and volunteerism will continue to thrive if we let it grow in open and safe spaces.

Through their face-to-face events and monthly campaigns, the global movement shows no signs of slowing down and plans to introduce more friendship chapters and employment programs to enrich the lives of those with IDD. Will you heed the call to help?

Live your own best new year yet and sign up to become a Best Buddies volunteer here. – Rappler.com

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Best Buddies Philippines

Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to nearly 3,000 elementary school, middle school, high school, and college Friendship and Promoter chapters worldwide. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States, and in 56 countries and territories around the world. Best Buddies’ nine formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors, Promoters, and Inclusive Living — positively impacts more than 1.3 million individuals with and without disabilities worldwide. Best Buddies’ volunteers annually contribute, at no cost to their communities, support services that equate to more than $330 million USD. In many cases, as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with IDD secure rewarding jobs, live independently, become inspirational leaders and build lifelong friendships.