By Michael Moroney ’13
After school every other Friday, a group of Brophy students drives west to Gompers Private Day School to work with intellectually and developmentally disabled students.
These students are part of Brophy’s own chapter of Best Buddies, a non-profit organization that tries to engage friendships between high school students and students with disabilities.
“The purpose of Best Buddies is to create lasting friendships with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said club president Matt Harris ’13. “The activities that we do are sports, arts and crafts, bowling and festive parties.”
The Best Buddies of Brophy aims to serve as role models for both those with IDD and for other Brophy students.
“Students in Best Buddies really set a great example for their classmates,” said club moderator Mrs. Karen Parise. “It’s a joy watching the Brophy boys make an impact on their buddies.”
Best Buddies members get the opportunity to form unique relationships by working with students with IDD.
“Brophy students display what being true Men for Others are through their involvement in Best Buddies,” Harris said. “They become well educated and experienced on working with people with IDD and make lasting impacts on the students they work with.”
Brophy does not have an IDD program of its own, while many public high schools around the valley do have an IDD program.
Harris said the Best Buddies gives students the opportunity to experience working with other teenagers who are disabled and different from students at Brophy.
“Through the club, they are able to find common ground and create new friends with people they might not have known much about before the club,” Harris said.
Every spring, Brophy freshmen work with kids with IDD at a Special Olympics event held on Brophy’s campus. This event is a requirement for freshman and is a part of the Freshman Experience.
Although Best Buddies is not directly involved with the Special Olympics, they get involved with more students with disabilities.